Winter continues to lock our area in a death grip of cold. Winter Storm Nika left us with a good foot or more of snow. And to add insult to injury, Punxsutawney Phil - the Groundhog - predicted another six weeks of winter and so far it appears he is right! Meanwhile, weeks of sub-32 days, with temps often in the single and even negative numbers has all but locked up fly fishing. Many small creeks are completely frozen over and rivers are full of shelf ice, anchor ice, and even slush. For all of its negative impact, the cold will assure a good healthy spring for trout.
It may be hard to do with all of the cold weather we've had, but this is the time to think spring. And any seasoned fly angler 'thinks' spring by planning, fly tying, and cleaning up / organizing gear. Now is the time to go over all gear for wear and maintenance - clean and stretch out fly lines - change backing. It's also a good idea to go through fly boxes and organize them. In the process of doing so, you're likely to do an informal inventory and know what flies you'll need to buy or tie up.
There are plenty of fly fishing events coming in February and March to chase away the winter blues. Here's a summary for the winter-bound:
- Al Hazzard TU will be holding its next monthly chapter meeting on Tuesday, February 18th at 7 pm. Local nature writer and columnist, lecturer, and avid fly fisher, Rick Marsi, will recount his recent “bucket list” fishing adventure. With his great knowledge of the natural world, years of global wandering, and life-long experience fishing and story-telling, this is an event not to be missed.
- Al Hazzard TU Banquet tickets are currently available. This is another "not to be missed" event and is a great way to spend a Saturday evening and get psyched up for Opening Day.
- The Twin Tiers Five Rivers Chapter of the FFF in Elmira will be hosting several events. On Saturday, February 22nd, there will be a Bass Fly-tying demonstration class from 1 - 4 pm at the Big Flats Community Center. Kirk Klingensmith will be teaching how to tie his favorite bass flies. Contact Kirk Klingensmith at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. And on March 29th, the chapter will be holding its 7th Annual Fly Fishing Academy. This full day event will be held at Elmira Free Academy. More details on this event will be featured in a future post.
Punxsutawney Phil does not lie, as another wintry week lies ahead. Daily highs will be in the upper twenties with low lows, once again, in the single digits and on Tuesday, in the negative single digits. Snow is forecast for Sunday, Monday, Thursday, and Friday. Stay warm and spend some time at the vise!