Walking along a high bank above my favorite stream revealed long stretches of clear, cold water seemingly devoid of life. Aided by polarized sunglasses, every rock and crevice was exposed. Gone were the schools of cruising minnows or any evidence of the bass, sunfish, and others so abundant just weeks ago. The absence of nearby warming springs leaves us to wonder about the winter location of the stream’s finny residents.
A river bend abuts a bluff creating deep, unwadable water that extends into a 40-yard long pool of unknowable depth. My 5 wt. was loaded with full-sinking line, a 4-foot leader, and a size-12 Mini Minnie. A roll cast into current allowed the fly to swing into slack water, but by guiding the fly line back into the current more line could be fed through the guides. Twenty minutes of probing was ignored before a tentative “tap-tap” resulted in a hookset. Another 30 minutes brought the total catch to 3 small but satisfying sunfish.