SURE CURE FOR CABIN FEVER

January 15th, 2014 berrybrothersguides

SURE CURE FOR CABIN FEVER

BY JOHN BERRY

This winter has been tough for me to get in my quota of personal days of fly fishing. It seems like the holidays took more days than usual. This included a couple of road trips that kept me out of town far longer than I wanted to be. Then there has been the weather. I don’t know about you but this has been the coldest winter weather that I have ever encountered. What happened to global warming? Included in this bad weather has been a variety of precipitation, snow, rain, sleet and freezing rain. This has caused the area lakes to inch up above power pool and has severely limited the amount of wadable water.

 

I was itching for an opportunity to get out on stream. Last Friday I saw my chance. The weather was still a bit dicey but was survivable. The temperature promised to reach the high forties but it was to rain all day. Rain doesn’t bother me much. I have great rain gear and my theory is that the fish are already wet. In addition, the prediction was for wadable water on the Norfork. I thought it might be a good day to fish, because nothing thins the herd like an inch or two of rain. I quickly made my plans. My wife, Lori, decided to wait for a better day.

 

I headed out after lunch. The thermometer in my Suburban said that it was forty five degrees. There was an unrelenting steady, slow rain coming down on my drive to the Ackerman Access. I had put on my waders and rain gear in my garage, before I left the house, because there is no cover at Ackerman. When I got there I noticed two things. The water was on the bottom and there was no one else in the parking lot. In fact, the only other angler that I saw all day was a very wet Great Blue Heron. When I got closer to the water, I thought that it looked lower than it had previously under the minimum flow regimen. I found out later that the siphon was not operating because it had frozen up and broken during our recent brutal weather.

 

I waded far up into the Catch and Release section. Since there was no one else there, I had my choice of any spot. I chose to fish it all and leisurely made my way around the area fishing every choice spot that I came upon. I began the day fishing a double fly rig. I chose a ruby midge suspended below a cerise San Juan worm. Whenever it rains worms are washed into the river. As a result, I always try a worm pattern first during and after a rain. My first fish was a fat, brightly colored, eighteen inch rainbow.

 

I fished for a while but the going was a bit slow. I caught a few fish everywhere that I went but it was not a spectacular day. As I was fishing, I noted a trout taking something just below the surface. I figured that it was keying in on an emerging insect. It was time to try a soft hackle. I opted for a green butt, my signature fly.

 

I stripped off the two flies, lead and strike indicator. I then tied on a fresh three foot tippet and a green butt. I waded out into the river and faced downstream. I cast downstream at a forty five degree angle. As soon as the fly hit the water, I stripped the line hard to sink the fly into the film. I let the fly swing in the film and made no effort to mend the arc out of the line. I kept my rod tip low and waited for a strike. It did not take long before I felt the heavy thump of a good fish. It was a chunky fourteen inch brown. I noted that it was missing its adipose fin and surmised that it was a stocked trout.

 

I fished on and did better with the soft hackle than I had with the double fly rig. I slowly worked my way through that run and then went looking for another. The rain finally let up around three and I was glad to pull down the hood on my rain jacket. I took a minute to strip off my wool fingerless gloves and put on a fresh dry pair. I continued fishing and landed several rainbows and a couple more browns. I headed home around four thirty.

 

It was nice to be on stream again and thought that the trip was well worth it. The solace and seclusion on stream were a definite plus and a great way to get over a serious case of cabin fever.

 

John Berry is a fly fishing guide in Cotter, Arkansas and has fished our local streams for over thirty years. John can be reached at (870) 435-2169 or http://www.berrybrothersguides.com.




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