Calendar Says January, Weather Says March

I offered to pick up breakfast sandwiches for Mike and I before going to the river because I’m a nice guy. This fact can’t be overstated. A nice sausage patty with scrambled eggs and cheddar cheese between a biscuit bun. But I’ll get back to that later.

It was close to 40 degrees at the height of the day. The handwarmers I tucked into the ends of my convertible mitts were toasty but unused. At least I think they were toasty. I honestly wouldn’t know. We swatted flies while coaxing fish into our nets. That last part took some doing. The turnout by the bridge was like a parking lot filled with cars. Most fishermen we spoke with said they were skunked. It was all dudes around the age of 30. No women and no older men. About as unusual as the January warmth.

Brown trout were swiping freshly hatched midges from the bottoms of overhanging shelf ice. I even threw a dry fly for a bit to get under the ice and trick a fish into biting. A rising fish this time of the year will get anyone excited enough to ditch the nymph rigs and pitch a dry, but it seldom leads to a fish in the net. I broke off the fly on a tree and resumed fishing with my bead-head hares ear.


The day was also my first time fishing with Spencer, a new friend who moved to Minnesota from Nashville last summer. He and his dog Cotton joined Mike and I on the river. She was an excellent fishing dog–never roamed too far and stayed out of the water unless you had a fish on, in which case she would “help” you bring it to the net. Mike hooked into a big dancing brown, Cotton promptly jumped in to lend a helping paw. 14/10 would invited to the river again.

In exchange for a breakfast sandwich, Mike brought along some venison sandwiches harvested from his dad’s hunting season. It was the fairest trade in the history of trades. And I never knew it, but few things are better than fresh venison on a snowy river bank washed down with whiskey in the January sun. It’s a good thing I made a stop for breakfast biscuits.