It never fails during this time of the year when we get a warm spell the urge to get in the outdoors grows. The grass starts turning a different shade of green and the yellow daffodils signal spring is right around the corner. It’s also unpredictable with fluctuations in the temperatures and water levels.It never fails during this time of the year when we get a warm spell the urge to get in the outdoors grows. The grass starts turning a different shade of green and the yellow daffodils signal spring is right around the corner. It’s also unpredictable with fluctuations in the temperatures and water levels.
February provided an extra amount of rainfall that kept the rivers running on the high side. If that rain would’ve been snow we would have had an abundance of the white stuff. I saw where Charleston recorded its 2nd wettest February on record this year.
With all of the precipitation falling from the sky, fishing opportunities have been very limited. The weather was nice for the end of February but it seemed to rain on the weekends. Everywhere I went outside I would see stoneflies reminding me it was time to fish.
I kept an eye on the USGS stream gauges and finally found a 3 hour window to hit the river for the first time this year. It felt great to break the fishing gear out and knock the dust off. Upon arriving we found that we had the whole place to ourselves which made it even better.
The temperatures were a comfortable 60 some degrees with overcast skies. As soon as we made it to the hole we wanted to fish I saw stoneflies fluttering in the air and crawling on the rocks. The river was still up a bit but it was fishable.
Since it was the first trip of the year I decided to put a new leader on and took my time rigging up. Tara in the meantime saw a fish come up fast and assumed it ate a stonefly. A few casts later a decent rainbow took her stonefly offering and the first fish of the year was in the net.
Another rainbow trout hit the top after that and I took my turn. Tara eased down to check the bottom part of the hole and found a few fish rising. I wasn’t having much luck and decided to take a break and just watch for a few minutes. The fish were coming up fast and you really had to watch the water to see them.
As I was staring at the water’s surface almost in a trance, a huge rainbow came up and porpoise like a dolphin. It appeared as fast as it disappeared in a split second. Of course I started casting like a mad man before switching to a nymph rig. I continued to beat the water but never even got a bite.
Tara on the other hand missed a nice rainbow and then a nice brown trout at the back of the hole. The skies darkened and then the rain began to pour so we called it a day. I’m glad I take Tara along so I know what a trout looks like.
With the temperatures staying above normal for the end of February, and the water too high to fish, I had some business to take care of. A gang of squirrels migrated in around my house and started causing problems, 3 big fox squirrels in particular. You can look out my front window and see 5 to 6 squirrels running around at any time of the day.
Back in January I started the tractor during the cold freeze up and blinking lights and beeping sounds came from the dash. I popped the hood and found that these hoodlums had been chewing on the wiring harness along with some of the hydraulic lines. I knew it was those fox squirrels because I could see their tracks in the snow and that’s the way they always run when you come out the door.
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy watching the squirrels along with the other wildlife but they crossed the line when it starts costing hundreds of dollars to fix stuff. Then I noticed they were also chewing on the trim of the house so enough was enough. Ralph had purchased a squirrel dog and his neighbor has a good female Norwegian that has treed plenty of squirrels over the years so he brought them out to hopefully get rid of the bandits.
I had never squirrel hunted with dogs and squirrel season ended on February 28 so I knew it was my last chance at letting the little you know what’s I wasn’t happy with their destructive ways. I knew we wouldn’t have to walk very far and no longer did we make it into the woods the first chase was on.
The gray squirrel treed in a hickory but once we found it, it scurried into another tree before sailing out right in front of me. It hit the ground about 10 yards away with the dogs’ right on its tail. I was hunting with a .17 caliber rifle and never could get the crosshairs on it. Unfortunately it ran straight for a den tree and climbed in a hole. We continued on and the dogs found another gray squirrel they put up a tree. I was able to get the crosshairs on that one. We hit another patch of woods with a lot of oak but the squirrels were hanging around the hickory trees. As we walked back towards the house I saw one of the big fox squirrels in the field. It saw us as well and took off to a big hickory tree. He stretched out and thought he was hid, but I was able to find him in my scope.
I always enjoy watching any dog hunt what they’re trained for and these squirrel dogs did their job. There are still squirrels running through my yard including the other 2 fox squirrels. I actually watched a red tail hawk swoop down and miss one the other day. I was rooting for the hawk but a last minute around the tree trick saved it.
March is here and spring officially begins on the 20th. There will still no doubt be 2 to 3 weeks of unpredictable weather but we’ll have hungry fish and strutting gobblers to look forward to. Take care until next time.