December 16, 2021
When I checked out the trout stocking of our local city lakes, I found that one of the three had been stocked last weekend. I previously wrote about how most stocked fish are gone within a week even on wild rivers. When it comes to fishing, I am an eternal optimist and thought there may still be a chance to catch one. When I arrived, it was windy, and I knew it would be difficult to cast. I tied on a trout magnet and walked to the other side of the small dam so I could cast with the wind, rather than against it. I fished near the bridge for a while, somehow managing to get caught twice on the only tree (3 foot/1 meter tall) in sight, and then the windy conditions fouled my line. I moved down to the shore and as I approached, I saw a trout swish off to deeper water. I fished for nearly an hour without getting a bite in either location. I have fished this lake several times in the past and have never gotten a bite. Maybe this time it was just too windy to catch fish.
When I looked online, I found that while it is trickier to flyfish for trout in windy conditions, there are also advantages. Depending on its strength, duration, and location, wind can either be a blessing or a curse. When a steady wind blows in one direction in a certain area it creates a surface current in the water. Most baitfish species and insects will be pushed around by these wind-generated currents and concentrate them in one area where trout will be more likely to bite. Wind also increases the oxygen levels in the water which makes both the trout and the bait fish more active. However, fishing for trout when it is windy has a downside as there will be more disturbance on the water surface, making casting and controlling your line trickier. We had a steady 20 mph (32 kph) wind yesterday.
I decided to move to another small city lake where I have had consistent luck. The web page said this lake had not been stoked in over a month, and I had tried fishing there last week with no action. Still, I was not ready to admit defeat. When I approached the hole where trout tend to hand out, a young man was already fishing. He said he had been fishing for a while, and although they were jumping, he had not gotten any bites. He was casting with a spoon, so I thought my magnet might be what was needed. Over the next 1 ½ hours I tried everything that had worked in the past. I started with the magnet, switched to a black wooly with an elk hair drop, changed colors to a white wooly with a caddis drop, then replaced the caddis with a grey sowbug. Nothing worked. On the bright side, I got a complement on my ability to cast on such a windy day. In lieu of fish, I will take what I can get.
Thoughts: While I fished in vain, I watched dozens of fish surfacing and jumping a foot out of the water. While the warmer days probably did not produce an insect hatch, I have noticed a lot of insects that have reemerged. Trout are known to jump to catch insects flying close to the water surface. Even as windy as it was, the fish were feasting on something. As I thought about it later, I should have tried a dry fly on the surface. Learning to fly fish is a life-long task. You need to be willing to fish in a variety of conditions; windy, calm, rainy, sunny, cold, and hot. Each condition changes how you need to connect with the fish. The same can be said of connecting with people. You need to be willing to try and communicate with others in a variety of settings. If you do not try, you will not succeed. Do the work. Change is coming and it starts with you.