My mind is still anchored in summer. The eighth inch of ice on the windshield should have tipped me off that the seasons have changed. I scrape ice and cradle a mug of coffee as I wait for the truck to warm up.
Toes tingle from the cold as I step into waders. Carefully we approach the small spring creek. Quickly it becomes apparent that we are early. A tactic that was wise a few short weeks ago is now out dated.
Bugs are nearly absent and so are the fish. Afternoon will likely provide perfect conditions but we don’t have all day. Working a riffle my friend’s near perfect presentations go unrewarded. I glance toward a shallow glide upstream, water that rarely holds many fish, and see a single rise.
Done with the riffle, I point out the spot to my buddy. His cast is good, but his confidence is tempered by the unlikely nature of the lie. A nose pierces the still water. Simultaneously, line goes skyward coming taught between angler and fish.
Without picking up a rod, my day is made. We admire a gorgeous Snake River Cutthroat, the only trout haunting this stream, before letting him slip back into the depths.