Monday January 21, 2019 ……We had a great week last week both float fishing and wade fishing. Lots of fish were caught, and the unsettled weather that seemingly is ours now almost everyday we’ve fished right through. Our last float was one of the best I have ever had in any month, and we put a lot of large fish in the boat. It was great. But now the cold of winter continues, and its going to be that way for a while til spring arrives. So what do you do about it? Fish on…..that’s what we’ll be doing…..
We had some really cold weather to start the week, and snow on a few days. Mid week I guided a float trip with my longtime client and fellow streamer junkie Ted Linczak, Summerville, SC, TN and met Ted on the upper South Holston. We decided to take advantage of the continued high but stable flows….as they normally produce great fishing if you know where, when, and how.
Our full intent from start to finish was to throw big stuff on big rods, and we were met with the TVA schedule showing variable flows due to unit testing. So , we were unsure as to whether or not we’d have floatable water all day, as they were changing the schedule from one hour to the next. Turns out though we had good water all day and we had another bannner day of chucking meat.
Some epic streamer eats, probably all total between three and four dozen including about a dozen or so large fish, picture worthy denizens ……. it was great, cold, breezy at times, and the damp chilly cold it feels like when its getting ready to snow. We had cloudy , low, gray skies all day…… which also worked perfectly too with our plan. We ended up at our takeout, as we usually do, right at dusk. It was a great day……plus had the river all to ourselves.
At week’s end I did some wade fishing guiding Rick Allen, Archdale, NC. It was a very chilly day on the river, met Rick bright and early and we were on the river before 8am. It was frosty, the air was cold (20sF) and there was a characteristic nip in the air…..that felt like snow. While there was a slight chance of drizzle later and rain later in the evening, we didn’t expect snow.
That’s exactly what we got. I keep telling folks you can’t trust a weather app on your phone, and that is why I don’t rely on them for forecasting. They are terrible. There was no mention of snow at all. But that is what we got. It snowed like crazy…..man do I love fishing in a snowstorm. And Im not kidding. It turns the fish on….
We fished double nymph rigs and caught a ton of fish, rainbows and browns, from the first stretch we waded. Probably three dozen fish and the last long deep green run we nymphed before breaking for lunch produced several quality fish, including the best fish of the day, an 18 to 19″ rainbow. We took a break for lunch and that is when the snow squall blew in.
For over an hour it snowed about as hard as it can snow dumping several inches (3-4″ ?) in that length of time. We fished another long stretch and caught maybe a half dozen fish more before calling it a day at 4pm, ending in a shower of sleet. A 40 fish day, and got to fish in a surprise snow squall…..my favorite fishing for sure. I love fishing in the snow. Great day though, our last group of fish were all rainbows. We quit and then headed back to a car wash I use a lot and used the bay there to take our gear off.
A cold weekend in the mtns also, we had bitter cold temps behind the front that brought the rain. Things changed quickly , a “flash freeze” where rain ends and everything quickly freezes up and high winds arrive and create an event of prolonged snow showers. “NW Flow” snow showers are what occur, and that is what went on and is going on this morning before it tapers off.
What NW flow is is when we get a large potent low moving through dumping a large amount of rain. That is followed by a cold front behind it ushering in high winds, usually 25 to 35mph with gusts up to near hurricane strength (65mph>). When the NW winds start, and blow over the just saturated ground, it forces the moist air upslope .
In our area, its a saturated East TN and Southwest VA that feeds this sort of thing. Moist air is forced upslope where the moisture content is magnified and the air is cooled further and it produces a prolonged light snow shower event that can pile up some impressive snows. This one won’t amount to more than 2 to3″ but the winds are fierce. One more day (Tuesday) of this and we are back to fishing. Winter weather isn’t an unusual or ‘Less productive’ time to fish….quite the contrary. Our last day out was really cold (Friday/Sat) and we put almost 50 fish in the net. Cold does NOT stop fishing.
For Monday 1/21, I had scheduled a trip with Matt Baldwin, N Platte, WY, but we ended up postponing due to single digit temps in the mtns…will be rescheduling. In low temps such as that you can catch fish, and I have done it, many , many times, but you are cracking ice off the rod every three to five casts, and everything freezes up. Boots, boot strings (making it hard to get the waders off), waders, you name it. A warm up is coming though.
After Monday 1/21 and Tuesday 1/22 we will get about a three day reprieve of decent fishing weather before the next cold shot arrives on Saturday 1/26. It will be a lot like the past cold blast. It looks like mid week or Wed, Thurs, and Friday will offer a good shot at getting out fishing. To anyone interested, I have availabililty on those days.
Stay warm…..spring is coming!
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