I told myself the other day that, with not more than 5/8 of the lake surface frozen, there was still plenty of time left to fish. I told myself the next morning I should have fished the day before.
It is inevitable, this freeze up, and it marks a milestone in the procession of the seasons. With no snow yet to cover it up, the ice stands alone to proclaim winter’s return.
The ground is saturated and runoff flows all day but at night the flow lessens and water levels drop in the beaver ponds, leaving behind concentric patterns in the ice that forms.
Eventually, these sheets of suspended ice collapse with the sound of breaking glass, shattering the silence of our first truly chilly days. The water back here freezes evenly, smooth and hard, but on the lake it takes longer as acres of slush stiffen and congeal, warmer water welling up from below into frozen blooms on the surface.
But the dedicated angler must try, especially one kicking himself for taking the last good day of the season for granted. The rod left hanging on the porch comes down, line stripped from the reel keeps its coils in the cold air, barely straightening with the force of the cast, as again and again my fly comes down hard, but not hard enough. Even with all the cold weather dedication I can muster, I’m having trouble getting my fly down to the fish.
(The photo above is my entry to The Limp Cobra’s Friggin’ Awesome Holiday Photo Contest. The only rule for the contest is that the photo must have a fly in it. This photo has a fly in it. A fly that has crashed hard on the ice as I lament the end of the season.
If you are a fly angler, I recommend checking out Marc Fauvet and The Limp Cobra. He lives in Sweden, and from stunning flies to casts that will knock your socks off, Marc serves up a good dose of knowledge with wit and good humor. Saying more would only make me appear to be sucking up to win a contest, but you really ought to go check out Marc’s blog.)