Regardless which side of the political spectrum you were on, no one can say that 2017 wasn’t a year for the record books. So for 2018, I am going to ignore politics and concentrate on fly fishing.
Having received my new analog calendar – the old-time paper kind – in my old-time mail box, I begin to fill in fishing dates using my old-time fountain pen. As you can see, I am getting old. But thanks to the modern miracle of orthopedic surgery, I will be using my fly rod, not just looking at it and remembering days gone bye.
As I mentioned before, I plan on spending an inordinate amount of time this year fly fishing in-and-around Durango. However, there are some months around here when fly fishing is not much fun. Even though we have had unseasonably warm and dry conditions for the fall and early winter, it will change. We will get snow, ice, sleet and cold weather. That’s followed by mud season in the spring. So, what’s one to do to feed the fly fishing addiction?
If you have one or two jobs and can’t get out of town, there are some local options. Fly fish the Animas until the weather gets too cold. Then move south to the San Juan River. I have had some epic dry fly days down there during the winter. Also, the Pine River, on the Southern Ute Reservation, is just south of Bayfield. It can be warmer there than here in Durango. If you have a boat or float tube, there are lakes in New Mexico that don’t freeze over. So, all is not lost in the immediate area.
For those that are retired, or happily unemployed, I have some other suggestions. If you have a passport, a winter trip to warm salt water in the Caribbean is always good. If you don’t have a passport but want a warm salt water fly experience, there is the Gulf of Mexico, a remarkable place to fly fish.
That takes care of winter, but what about the aforementioned mud season?
For those of you new to the Durango, mud season is when there is little or no skiing and the rivers are overflowing with mud from spring runoff. It starts in mid-March and goes through May. It is a real boring time of the year for fly fishermen. For those of you stuck here, for whatever reason, I suggest you tie flies and know this season will pass. For those of us who have recently received a slight raise in Social Security, own a dog, a truck, a bass boat and are married to the most wonderful woman in the world – also known as “she who must be obeyed” – there is an alternative.
This mud season will find me and SWMBO in the southeast. There, the dog and I will search out and cast to my favorite four letter warm water fish, “bass.” We’ll do that while SWMBO mingles in and amongst the “Wild Bunch.” I don’t want to make those dealing with mud season jealous; I will also be doing some work. I will plan and write two columns about where I am and what fly or popper is working best. I will also refine my summer destinations of lakes and tail waters close to home. I also promise to tell you where they are and how to get there.
Further for 2018, I want the non-profits that use fly fishing in their mission to take me up on my offer to help them. I also am not letting any of the political news bother me. As old as I am, I know there is nothing I can do about any of those numb-nuts, from any party.
Speaking of age, as the big 7-0 approaches, I plan on fly fishing every chance I get. That means I will be over-exposed to sun, wind, rain, sleet, hail, bad coffee, greasy breakfasts, good cigars and single malt scotch. I will have that rugged “rode hard and put up wet,” look.
This is going to be a great year.
Reach Don Oliver at email@example.com.