Featured | Voices from the river

New year’s pledge: Plenty of time on the water

There’s nearly no better way to kick off a new year than on a river. It’s a great way to set things right, forget what happened in the previous year and daydream about fishing adventures to come.  

A few years back, I attempted to catch a trout on a dry fly every month of the year. For some random reason, I started in February, so the following January, I needed to make it happen to complete my year. I went out on New Year’s Day, but it was too cold for any trout to be looking up. A week later, I put it off because the ski conditions were top-notch. And then it kept snowing, so the third weekend of the month, I had plans to backcountry ski with friends. The fish challenge could wait.  

With powder waiting, we headed up the skin track. One after another, we climbed through trees and over the snow. And then in a flash, I was on the ground, my skis twisted awkwardly. My friend helped me up only to determine that my knee was immobile — no bending and no straightening. After some tears and yelling, I made my way down the mountain and to the surgery table. The bucket handle meniscus tear had to be repaired pronto.  

A girl fly fishes in the winter.

While recovering on the couch, my thoughts went back to my dry-fly challenge. I could get around the house OK, but navigating a river was another matter.  

Sitting on the tailgate of our truck, I slid on some oversized waders. I crutched to the edge of the road and from there, my husband mostly carried me down the bank, across the stream and to the run where fish were rising. I tied on a size 20 secret weapon for this tailwater and whammo. I was hooked up to a beautiful rainbow on a dry fly for the 12th month in a row. I was ecstatic and had a story to tell for years to come.  

While I don’t typically have New Year’s resolutions, I do like to plan adventures and have outings on the horizon. With COVID still kicking around and me still being immuno-compromised, I’m winging 2021 at this point. But I can guarantee that it will include lots of time on the water. Update to come on my first trip to the river of the year. 

Stay tuned.