I think it's impossible to describe the feeling that comes with ice cold river water channeling down the crack of your butt then migrating to other highly sensitive areas of the lower anatomy. There are a lot of descriptive phrases I could use such as spine-tingling, the chilling effect, chilled to the bone, and breathtaking, but I don't think any of these adequately illustrate the experience.
It was Sunday morning and I had been in the water less than an hour fishing at the Island below the crossing. Young Kody was coming downstream as we struck a conversation. Kody had done some late afternoon scouting the day before and had two big trout pinpointed about thirty feet downstream from my position. I told Kody to walk behind and get down there and fish them. As he walked past me I turned to say something else to the young lad and the back of my foot hit a submerged boulder. I start going backwards and knew there would be no recovering from the backward motion I was now headed. I told myself to lessen the pain that was about to become mine by simply sitting down in the river which I did. Problem was however, the river was about shoulder blade high where I sit and the river came rushing in the back of my waders.
It's amazing what a motivator cold water can be. Suddenly we are transformed from the sluggish and clumsy clown that just went in the drink to a guy with Superman-like powers - able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. It didn't take me long to launch myself from the stew.
I pretty much knew then that my day was done with no dry clothes in the schooner. Making a quick exit I headed to the parking lot and the schooner. On the way, brother of the angle Chris Adams was rolling off the bank in some slack water and I took time to tell Chris about the big bows downstream and my chilling experience.
Once in the Prairie Schooner I got the heater going and went downstream to sit and warm up. After about thirty minutes I kept thinking about just calling it a day and going to the bunkhouse. As I was thinking, a particular thought came to mind about the cold water experience I had just had. I was wondering that in the days of yesteryear, when baptisms took place in creeks and rivers, if fewer people found their salvation during winter compared to spring and summer. I think it's safe to say that yes... salvation often waited and fewer Hallelujahs were heard in January rather than May.
I pull out of the parking space on my way home but at Glory Hole I noticed there wasn't a single angler and the wind looked to be calm here. I decide to try and fish again and managed several bows before the wind picked up and sent me packing again.
Before leaving Blue I wanted to check on Pat Latham. Pat likes to get started fishing early, early, early and I knew she had been on the bank for a good number of hours by now. I found Pat at Area 2 and sure enough she had been fishing a good long time. She was clad in neoprene waders, a heavy coat, and had a tent heater going that was doing nothing but heating the outside air. Pat reported the fishing had really been lousy but she was going to stay with it. Headed back to the schooner, Jon Bolig had pulled up and was fishing the channel so we struck a conversation and he suggested I fly-fish the channel. Although I was already shivering in my waders I decided to give it five minutes or so and landed a couple more small bows. Jon told me there was a big one lurking in the channel but my teeth were chattering to the point I simply wasn't interested.
Driving past the weigh-in station there wasn't anyone manning it so I didn't even bother weighing-in and went to the bunkhouse. The snow was really coming down at ten o'clock.
I did talk with Scotty this Monday morning and he reported that not a single derby trout was weighed in on Sunday so the fishing was really off. He estimates there are thirty trophy sized bows still in the river. If you're interested in big bows then come get you some... just don't do what I did and take the squat plunge.
Good fishing everyone.