Rene’ Harrop is a respected American fly fishing guide, author and fishing tackle consultant for Airflo. Read his monthly contribution to the Fishtec blog here!
At high elevation, a change of seasons can be abrupt, and is never predictable. This applies especially to winter when frigid temperatures and heavy snow can bring an end to fall overnight.
For this reason, I fish with urgency through all of November knowing that each day on the water could be the last of the year. An extension that runs into December is a rarity where single digit temperatures can be the average low and open water can be tough to find.
It is during these cold months, however, that opportunity for big browns is at its peak, and I become a single minded angler for much of that period.
In 2015, weather and water conditions on the Henry’s Fork were far from ideal for bringing enthusiasm to the big streamers I fish almost exclusively in late fall. Low water and bright days made daytime fishing a near futile proposition for wary browns that will never tolerate obvious angler presence. With only a handful of respectable fish to show for nearly a dozen days on the water, it might have been tempting to turn my attention to a different game, but I didn’t.
On a day when weather conditions finally served my intent, sunset fell on the best brown trout of the year, and also the end of another season. A 10 day stretch of unusually cold weather followed by ongoing snow storms that include wind as a complication has put an end to most outdoor activity. And perhaps it is fitting that the best fish came on the last day.
Happy 2016 from the Henry’s Fork! Rene’ Harrop.