This is the worst few weeks of the year. Everything is deader than dead. The ground is beginning the thaw and it is spongy with mud. It's still cold and damp, but we know winter is just about to head on out to make away for spring. It might hit 45 degrees, but the wind cuts right through you. Clouds seem to permanently stick around as if to let you know that we're still in the 7th inning stretch of winter.
The only signs of life are the return of a few songbirds, and a few overly-eager tulips beginning to push up through the muddy popsicle we call Earth.
I'm ready for the trees to bud, the green grass, the hatches. It's so close I can just feel it. Just a few weeks away now.
My spring fever today brought me to an iced-out local pond/small lake on my way home for 5 minutes. I tied on a huge articulated streamer, roughly 8 inches, hoping I might find a toothy critter trolling the shallows for food. I stood sinking into the mud on top of dead brown grass, with the wind pelting my back with a touch of snow flurries, making it difficult to cast such a big fly with a 5 weight.
I knew I wouldn't have to cast far. They love to patrol the banks and structure this time of year. I know this water well and there should be a pickerel right around here.....YEP. There's a follower. I strip my fly in, faster now that I know he's in pursuit, and watch as he erupts on it about a foot from the bank, right in front of me.
It was not much of a fight since these fish are still pretty lethargic from winter, but it gave me hope that it won't be long now until I can fish in a t-tshirt and jeans again.