What’s a Fly-Fisher To Do About the Weather?

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George Liset photo

 By Georget Liset

What would we do without the weather? The weather is such a factor in our everyday lives. The weather brings us together. It is the topic of most general conversations.

“Looks like another beautiful day,” or “Looks like with have some stormy weather coming our way.” My favorite one is, “I know I said I would never complain about the heat after last winter, but I lied, it is hot!”

The weather affects our daily activities. I have two weather apps on my IPad that I check constantly. I’m checking to see if practice will be indoors or out if recess and classes will be indoors or out. Will I be able to mow the lawn and do yard work or is it a garage cleaning day.

George Liset

The weather even has an effect on fishing.

The fishing, depending on the time of year and the weather, can be challenging. Sometimes, it can be like solving a Rubik’s Cube which I have never done. First you have to figure out how to dress. Waders, no waders, layers, no layers. The wrong answer can make your day miserable.

How is the weather affecting the river? Is the water cold? Is it warm? Is it running high and fast or is it running low and slow? The weather and time of year are factors in determining which fly you use. Each of these factors is a piece of the puzzle.

So as I headed down to the river, I was trying to put some of the pieces together. I had decided to  dress lightly and wet wade since the water had been warm and low a few days earlier. I was going to use a terrestrial (ant imitation) since I had had luck with them earlier in the week. Puzzle solved, so I thought.

Walking down to the river I could hear the falls roaring. That should have been my first clue. When I got to the river it was not what I expected. The water was high, almost at Spring levels, and it was cold. The river was basically blown out as fly fishers are wont to say. The water was also browner than my morning coffee. When this happens the fish hang the bottom of the river or hide next to the banks for protection. So no ant imitation today.

We had received some rain the previous few days, but nothing I thought to be concerned about. Apparently the source of the river north of us had got hammered with rain which resulted in the river being blown out.

I dug out a Wooly Bugger and tried fishing the banks with no luck. Since I didn’t wear my waders, I was limited to how and where I fished. I knew I needed to get out deeper in the river and use a bead head Wooly Bugger to get my fly down to the fish but it just wasn’t going to happen. I walked up and down the river looking for some wadeable spots with no luck.

I resigned myself to the fact that I wasn’t going to solve the puzzle today. So I headed back to the truck. Walking back the last time I remembered a couple picking some wild blackberries in a place I promised to keep secret, and stopped and grabbed a handful for the walk back.

At least I was not heading home empty handed. Yeah, what would we do without the weather.

A writer from Dover, George Liset writes about all things Fly Fishing. George has worked as a lobsterman, lifeguard, wrangler, boat captain, fishing instructor, and has traveled in most of the lower 48 states. Upon graduation from Wheaton College, Illinois, George began his teaching career and currently teaches in Dover and has coached Track and Field most recently at UNH. Liset has been published nationally and internationally in the area of track and field and coaching.


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