For the man sound in body and serene of mind there is no such thing as bad weather; every sky has its beauty, and storms which whip the blood do but make it pulse more vigorously. ~George Gissing
Consider steelhead fishing. The biggest runs in the Pacific Northwest usually come in winter and the neoprene-suited warriors with long Spey rods wade chest deep in the frigid rivers after their prey. Often the fly line freezes in the rod guides and the angler has to submerge the fly rod to free the line. And the howling wind roars down the river valleys numbing fingers and wreaking havoc on accurate casting. But the adrenalin that comes with hooking one of these athletic monsters acts as a natural anti-freeze, protecting the steelhead fisherman and warming the very soul.
When fishing for Atlantic salmon during the summer months in the Scottish West Highlands, rivers can get very low, especially in unseasonably dry years. The fish usually hunker down into the big pools and are not much interested in moving after a fly. While a sudden and ferocious thunderous rain storm may drive the fishermen off their beat and back to the warm lodge for a large gin and tonic, it also fills the river with runoff from the surrounding heather and mountain tops, swelling the river with fresh water. This condition, known locally as a “spate”, raises the level of the river dramatically, bringing fresh fish into the river and providing them with a liquid freeway that they use to race up the river towards their spawning beds. The fish become active and the fishing dramatically improves.
And the summer late afternoon rain shower that ruins picnics and postpones world-class tennis matches produces ideal conditions for dry-fly fishing. After the rain it seems like the river explodes with hatching insects and the trout are treated to a glutinous feast of rising larvae and just hatched emergers. A perfect time for a delicate cast with a parachute winged dry-fly on a 10x tippet.
Fly anglers love bad weather, not only does it improve the fishing, but it keeps the crowds away as well. Let it come. I’m going fishing.
Tight Lines . . .
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