der Biss: First Trout of the Year.

A few weeks ago, on a Friday at 3:00PM, I felt the familiar buzz of my iPhone in my pocket. We were blessed to be experiencing a unusably warm day for January in the Amish Country, and I didn't even need to look at my phone to see who it was. Three O'Clock on a Friday... It's gotta be Beach with a fishing report directly from the bank of the Lil' E.

"Fishing is on!!" he exclaimed.

I ran through a timeline and determined that I could be on the river by 4:45PM if everything went perfectly in my plan. I check my watch to see what time the sun was going down... 5:27PM. I hate January. I would have to adapt my timeline to the next day. I needed to tie some bugs anyway. 

Saturday was a warm but rainy day. I had a box full of bugs and high confidence in my rig as I climbed into the icy waters of the Little Elkhart.  The rain picked up to the point that I was forced to pull my raincoat out of my pack and made methodical rig changes. I'm always amazed by how much the river changes throughout the year! New runs are constantly being created and old holes filled in. The river is truly a living being. 

After thirty or so minutes of fishing, what I thought was just another snag turned out to be a spunky little brown. First fish of the year is always sweet! I went on to catch five more over the next few hours and miss a few in the process. 

The weather began to change and the winds began to swirl, and with that, the bite was off. I check the barometric pressure  on my watch. The pressure had been falling though out the day, but now the chart looked like my last EKG, bouncing up and down. Usually not great for fishing.

I made the long hike back to the troutmobile, and striped off my rain armor. Luckily, the Gore-Tex had done it's job and I remained dry and warm underneath. I went home and sat by the fire, enjoying a PBR has I reflected on how lucky I was to be catching trout in January. 


Conditions: River is cold and slightly elevated. Very fishable. There is some ice ledge coming off the bank, so be careful on entry and exit. Spikes recommended.

Flies: Smaller dark streamers. The bugger is never a bad choice! Try hanging a green nymph off the back. If you have runoff conditions through rain of melting stone, try a pink or blood red San Juan Worm. I know fishing worms is like riding a moped or kissing your cousin... but desperate times call for desperate measures!