Well after a nice christmas, we headed up to the mountains of virginia to spend a few days. We got a cabin right on the a fairly nice sized wild stream which made things even better. Wednesday morning, i woke up to it snowing and figured i had to get out there and try it. I made my way to the water and took the temp, the water was an icy cold 37 degrees, not exactly conducive to quality fishing but oh well. I rigged up with some flies that i had gotten from mr. hartsell: a large bead head rubber legged prince nymph (about a size and dropped a black stonefly behind it. I figured i would dredge with two big flies. To my surprise, i quickly hooked into a nice wild rainbow with the brightest pink stripe i have ever seen. I fished on well into the day and, to my surprise, the fishing was very good considering the conditions. The water managed to warm up to 39 degrees, but i still managed to bring to hand about 15 fish, although i managed to catch quite a few rock fish in the process, too.
I was pretty pleased with the results so after a day off, i hit the water again on friday. The temperature had warmed up a bit, but somehow the water managed to get colder and was 35 when i got in the water about 8 a.m. Once again, a fish was brought to hand almost immediately. Of course, when it's freezing cold like that it seems that i always catch a fish first thing that way i get to stick my hands in the icy cold water so they'll get numb, oh well. Fishing, however, was once again very solid. A front was moving in and i quickly noticed a warm wind picking up. About 11, the rain started and the water started to warm fairly quickly. It was at this time that i recorded the highest temperature that the stream was all week long, a balmy 41.8 degrees.
As the rain started to fall a little harder, i noticed a few fish rising to the top to presumably take some very small bwo's, but i kept dredging away with my new favorite winter rig and kept catching fish, including a couple of nice sized browns. Made one very large fish move towards my fly but only got saw him that one time, appeared to be about 20". About 11:30 the rain picked up dramatically and the wind was blowing so hard that it was nearly impossible to cast so i headed back out. The rain didn't bother me but trying to cast into a 30 mph wind is frustrating as heck. By the time i headed out, i had once again managed a good number of fish, 11 in about 3 1/2 hours. It was a good trip and i was reminded that winter fishing can be productive and the cold temps are not a reason to stay off the mountain streams. I found a new favorite rig for winter fishing, it's amazing how those fish would attack those large flies.
On a side note, the new helios rod coupled with the sharkskin line casted like an absolute dream. I had to back off from my normal effort of casting because it was casting too far. Before i finally got used to it, i was casting on the bank and into trees because it casted too good. The line does have a different sound to it when it goes through the guides, but i quickly got used to it and i didn't even notice it after an hour or so. Was it worth the money? That's hard to say, it was alot, but it sure is (by far) the best toy, i mean fly rod that i have. Hope everyone had a merry christmas!