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Winter in WNC

Winter is probably my favorite season to fly fish. While there is the cold and sometimes slow fishing in the early morning and late evenings to contend with, winter can still offer some of the best fishing of the year.  You will need more equipment to keep warm but in my book that’s as much a benefit as a challenge.  I’m a gear junkie and the excuse to pick up something new from the shop for its performance is a welcomed one. The crowds are far fewer and mid-day is when most of the activity happens on the water, so sleeping in and hitting the water at 10 or even noon is preferable to leaving the house at 5 to get first dibs on the fish.  The woods and waters have a quiet and deserted feeling to them this time of year.  Most times the winter silence is broken only by a falling limb, a scavenging squirrel, or maybe ice and snow falling from the trees at the warmest part of the day.  If you are lucky you may get to experience actually hearing falling snow, and fishing Blue Wing Olive dry flies amongst the flakes. At the end of the coldest days there is a tired satisfaction in knowing that you got out despite the conditions, and perhaps a nod to another hardy soul you see at the parking lot or trail head.  A nod that communicates all there really is to say between two fellow sadists who revel in suffering for their love. In the end I suppose the challenge is the benefit.  

I’ll leave you with this link.  It’s Garrison Keillor’s reading of a poem by Ken Hada on NPR’s the writer’s almanac.  Mr. Hada’s words and Mr Keilor’s delivery sum this whole thing up better than I could say anyway. (The poem “A Blessing” begins at 3:00)…0101027_64.mp3

~ Heath Cartee