Everything goes blue and grey in the early winter except the fish. The browns get circus colors, primary and intense, but the rainbows are what fascinate me the most. Their silvery bodies turn to gunmetal; red stripes and gill plates take on a brilliant violet hue. The window into the water is muted by the lower light, and as the fish come into view their colors pop. You are, of course, hoping for midge hatches or winter stoneflies. This means you’re primarily nymph fishing the deep, late-season lies, going into zones you’ve not bothered with in months. It’s the mystery of nymph fishing that gives it appeal. You never know what you might bump into while dredging. There’s always hope that some beast is foraging in some deep slot. I was nymph fishing with an old friend, Bob Jacobson, one November and he was not happy about it. We dug up some nice trout here and there, but spent most of the time honking massive, snot-dripping whitefish out of deep pits. We saw enough trout to keep Bob with a bobber until we latched into a gigantic red horse sucker. We both thought it was a world-class brown until it hit the net. The beast was fair hooked, which is an achievement, but most of the time you hook them in the ass, which makes for an epic battle. After Bob and the sucker spent some time with each other, he stated, “Screw it! I don’t care if I don’t catch another fish, I’m not bobber fishing anymore…” and proceeded to fish a small Griffith’s Gnat. After a few fishless hours he grudgingly went back to the nymph rig. Near the end of the float he hooked something big and lolling down the river. He put the screws to the object, but when it was pulled from the depths it was just some family’s discarded turkey carcass. I don’t believe Bob has thrown a deep nymphing rig again. The holidays are just around the corner and who knows what we might dredge out of the mighty river this November.
Live from the World Headquarters
Kea C. Hause esq.