Ice Floes and Trout Woes

Per Kirk Deeter's FlyTalk blog post this morning, apparently I am not a wuss, because I live in the Northeast and did not feel the least bit "crippled" by Sunday's snow storm. I also fished yesterday, which makes me even less of a wuss according to Kirk. But I did make an observation on the trout stream that is driving me bananas.

Because the water in the stream I fished was low this fall and we got a foot of snow Sunday, it was iced up worse than I'd ever seen. While normally just the edges freeze, there were massive, thick ice sheets on the banks I had to chop through to reach the open water. There was, in my opinion, enough open water in normally productive spots that I figured I'd still catch a few fish. In fact, I was thinking at mid-day they might even gravitate to the open water because it would be a tad warmer in the sun. Keep in mind it was not just the fast water that was open. There were some slower pools that hadn't completely iced over.

Much to my surprise I only hooked one trout, but I did see a bunch holding under the edges of the ice. It seemed they actually prefered to hang out beneath the sheets, which I would not have expected. Perhaps it's a protection thing. Perhaps that's just what trout do. I won't pretend to know everything about winter trout habits, but I have fished enough icy streams in my day and don't recall having any trouble catching fish in open water, even if there was a fair amount of ice on the banks. In any case, it was maddening.