Today was the day. It was now or never. Get out and fish, or continue to wait for the weather to turn. It had to be done. I could have stayed at home sulking again, maybe tried to write about cabin fever or something, but I've already read some pretty sweet write ups on the subject and I don't really think I could capture the feelings any better than has already been done. I could have tried to tweak some fly patterns for the thousandth time or finished my hex patterns for the year, but my last calf tail was eaten by the dog and I haven't made it to the fly shop yet. I could have re-organized my boxes, or cleaned my tying bench...again... or read another book about the pursuits of a trout bum, but instead I said yes to the invite.
Fly fishing in itself has made me a different person, a better person, but there are a few bad qualities that is has drawn out of the closet and shed some light on. As it turns out, I kind of enjoy snubbing my nose at "lesser" or more base forms of fishing, such as, but not limited to: anything involving fish but not a fly rod.
Ice fishing is sort of like when the best looking girl at the bar FINALLY comes to talk to you, but only to ask if you'd like to dance with her frigid, ugly sister. It's ok if you're several drinks in, but you certainly don't want your friends to see you doing it, much less sober, and aren't going to tell anyone about it. That said, when you have an itch you have to scratch it, and when it boils down to it I'd rather have a jigging rod in my hand than no rod at all.
I have a few rules about ice fishing. I'd buy the minnows this time as long as he doesn't EVER bring it up in conversation, especially not within 20 miles of a trout stream. Secondly, any brown trout caught through the ice immediately loses 50% of it's length for the purpose of bragging rights and should never be brought up during talks of browns caught honestly on a fly rod. Any legal walleye (I think 14 inches) are all the same. A 12 pounder holds as much "weight" as a one pounder. I haven't developed a rule for perch just yet, but I'll get there.
At this point, I should probably back track and admit that I had a hell of a lot of fun. We didn't catch a single fish, it got as cold as -4, I thought I would cry when my fingers thawed out, but it was exactly what I needed. 5 hours talking about this spring's streamer trips, the hendricksons that would follow, drakes, hex, way too much mousing, a few U.P. trips, a few beaver dams, and a brook trout lake or two, while having a few beers can do wonders for your mental stability. Being cooped up for so long can take it's toll but the beauty of living in Northern Michigan is that the winters bring a sense of urgency to the short spring, summer, and fall.
Chase Contentment, chase trout (if you can find moving water), and fish on!
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