I like to think that my life is lived in seasons.
Not traditional seasons like winter, spring, summer and fall mind you, but outdoorsman seasons.
And there is seemingly always a new season looming on the horizon.
For me, it might go something like this: archery season, duck season, rifle season, trout fly-fishing season, ice fishing season, carp season, bass season, pike season and so on.
Noted fly-fishing author, John Gierach, has said that fisherman and farmers might be the only two types that recognize the micro-seasons; the seasons within the seasons.
Fly-fishers in our Valley especially have come to recognize that the fishing in February and March is a season in itself: Fifth Season — as I’ve come to dub it over the years.
This season within a season is my official kick-off to spring.
Fly fishing in the winter, albeit good at times, is still fly fishing in the winter.
You have to be somewhat crazy to be wading in a cold river, bundled up like Ralphie’s little brother in A Christmas Story, hoping that you might be able to pry the waters and maybe catch a trout that doesn’t really want to be caught.
Then again, fly-fishers in general like the thought of being perceived as crazy to the outside world.
With the abundance of bitter, cold weather over the past few weeks, I felt like I needed a change of pace.
I’ve been fishing the Fryingpan, Roaring Fork and Colorado rivers weekly, and was quite honestly tired of feeding my ego.
Sometimes I feel that I go fly fishing in the winter just so I have street-cred among my customers and peers.
I needed to get back to my Michigan and Front Range roots, and head out on the hard water for some ice fishing.
I am by no means an expert ice angler, but I do own two augers, six rods, a few buckets, and a shanty.
I’ve been ice fishing for twenty years but have probably only logged a hundred days on the ice over that period.
That equates to five times a year, but there were years when I’d put in 25 days and years where I didn’t go at all.
In other words, I’m a novice ice angler at best.
I’ve caught some stocker rainbows, some lake trout, some yellow perch and even a small northern pike.
Despite this, while being cooped-up like a vampire in my dark-as-night shanty, I couldn’t help but think of how much I miss Fifth Season.
The anticipation is killing me like a wooden dagger through my heart — the thick midge hatches, the rising fish, the longer days, and the feeling of warmer water wrapped around my wader clad legs.
It’s almost here … get ready!
— This column is provided every week by Taylor Creek Fly Shops in Aspen and Basalt. Taylor Creek can be reached at (970) 927-4374 or taylorcreek.com.