Winter is dead. Oh, sure, there will be a few snow squalls and maybe even a storm in the next three or four weeks but a few sickly patches of rotten snow are all that remain of the 10+ feet that fell over the course of the past seven months (some of those patches are still three feet thick). The edges are pulling back and the coltsfoot have begun to bloom in the bare spots along the roads.
Coltsfoot sends up leafless flower stalks as soon as the snow retreats. Early bees and other insects find coltsfoot a welcome source of nectar and within a few days the coltsfoot will be thoroughly pollenated and their bright yellow blooms will go to seed, looking like tiny dandelion heads. By June the leaves will be up, some a foot across, gathering energy for next April’s blooms. They may not be much to look at but the blooming of the coltsfoot is one of the surest signs of spring in these parts.
The members of the Neverwas Nonesuch Angling Society are a curious bunch and I get at least one phone call a day from this member or that, asking me when the ice will go out. I’ve watched a lot of ice in my time and I do my best to give them the benefit of my vast experience, telling them that if I could predict that sort of thing I sure as heck wouldn’t be doing what I do, which lately has involved a lot of counting Band-Aids™ and rolls of paper towels.
The edges of Fish in a Barrel Pond have begun to melt and holes are opening up. Only three or four inches of lake ice remain, beneath what is left of this winter’s snow, and it is going fast. It better go fast; I’ve got 20 people showing up in two weeks and they are going to be eager to fish.