On the water, sort of
Just for the record, you can use an ice scraper to clear off the snow buildup on the bottom of your felt-soled waders. You just have to be careful not to rip off the felt.
Necessity, as they say, is the mother of invention.
As we walked the streambank, the snow was piling up dangerously on my feet and it felt like I was walking on the tops of coffee cans. I can remember as a kid building the "poor man's stilts" with the cans and the strings and chasing the other kids around the neighborhood. There was no danger at that age of breaking a hip, but scrambling down the streambank, well, that provided some real cause for concern.
As the strange winter weather roller coaster took an upswing recently and, having read several stories about "catching a trout during every month of the year," Steve and I donned the waders and hit the stream.
"Let's put them on inside, get all rigged up and then drive over," said Steve, further proof that while 40 in January is balmy, it's not the new 80 when it comes to temperature.
We were met with open water, but not in the same places as before. Not having fished the stream since the wrath of Hurricane Irene blew through last summer, we didn't know what awaited us - how those nooks and crannies would be moved and shaken. Luckily, this particular portion of the Boquet was saved from a second scouring by local crews trying to clear out flood debris, but Irene had done enough already.
The usual path to the stream wasn't there any longer and, to be honest, I didn't know how the waders would handle the snow- and ice-covered rocks (they don't go over that in the brochure when you buy them). I chose an alternate route and found myself on the wrong side of a pretty decent undercut that would be fished from the opposite bank on a steamy July night and would probably have given up a fish or two.
But glad to even be out of the house, I dutifully danced a a green ice-dubbed nymph through what I thought would be a feeding lane for the lethargic fish. Little did I know that I was standing on an iceberg that continued to the stream's bottom and jutted out under the water for a good two feet. It was only after a couple of snags on the ice that I realized this wasn't going to work. Just what I needed, I thought, something else to get snagged on. Already, in a testament to "the more things change, the more they stay the same," I did hook an underwater branch and managed to wrestle that to the surface. It sure felt like a fish.
But the rest of the afternoon, shortened by those aforementioned 40-degree temps, was uneventful; no fish for either Steve or I, but we did get out of the house.
And I discovered that ice scraper trick. You never know when that will come in handy.