What We Have Here is … Failure to Precipitate

| January 10, 2009

Precipitation not happening North Texas Weather

Going down. That is the trend for lakes here in north Texas, and the trend doesn’t look to be changing anytime soon. While fly fishing on the west coast is beginning to simmer on the idea that another year of lower than average snowpack will lead to lower than average flows again this year, Texas is looking at what could be a perfect storm – in reverse.

It’s not really a front page item yet, but the heart of Texas looks like a bull’s eye on a rainfall shortage chart destined to be enlarged significantly. Texas relies on wet winters [ppw id=”133611579″ description=”Drought Hybrids Desperation” price=”.25″]

and spring storms to refill the aquifers and lakes that are constantly draining into yards, and personal usage, and fueling the engine of general widespread growth. Texas has pretty much weathered the economic storms that have swept across the left and right coasts of the US, and because of our perceived health, growth may be slowing, but not nearly enough to stem the tide of demand for precious water resources.

From the time I started fishing the flats of Ray Roberts, here in North Texas, to what it looks like now … it’s day and night. Remember, we had extraordinary rain events in 2007 that put so much water into the lakes that flats, park piers and boat ramps disappeared. Newspapers ran regular reports about Bass fishers up in the parks catching lunkers under the concrete park benches and other structure that had always been high-and-dry. I clearly remember kayaking over a fishing pier at Isle du Bois park with room to spare – talk about Bass Central! That was then, and this is now. That same pier is many feet above the water, and the flats are shorelines. It is a great time to observe and remember the visible structure just in case the water rises again because we all know structure rocks.

I voiced my worries to Joel Hays (JH) the other day, and he said are in something of a grey area right now – the flats are gone, but if the level at Ray Roberts continues to drop, some very fertile flats will start to surface in areas so abstract, it becomes as much of a rarity as the strange happenings brought by extreme high water in 2007.

Doldrums come to fish, fishers and bodies of water. Right now is a three for three, where the only things fishers have control of is their own doldrums. About the only remedy I can find for it is tying flies – bunches and bunches of flies. JH came across a new Carp fly – that is a fly he thinks will be new to the Carp he’s been sticking on Ray Roberts all these past years, and he showed me that one yesterday. He’s rarely wrong, but finding the ingredients is proving to be a bit difficult.

I guess other fixes for fisher’s doldrums could be reading and DVD’s. Right now I have “The River Why” going, and it is certainly a challenging read. In spite of that book, most of my magazine and DVD reading and watching is about the Salt. When I ran into Sean Polk, fly fishing manager of Orvis Dallas yesterday, we kind of shook our heads in sad landlubber agreement; “Salt is where it’s at”.

There are local elites I know that will not fish anywhere but the pristine rivers of great repute, and there are saltwater elites, and there are the species elites, but all these elitisms lead to is less fishing. So, we practice the flats and envision the Salt, we catch Rainbow stockers and envision pristine technical rivers with big wild Trout, and we imagine Largemouth Bass as baby Tarpon. Through all these illusions, we fish.

We practice casting, learn new fly patterns, read, write and think about what lies on the bright side of these doldrums. The same desperation strikes virtually the same people at the same time every year – rumors of local runs make the boards, false senses of hope in an otherwise fishless season. Anticipation grows with the home tied fly inventory, questions abound on the minutia of fly lines, leaders, leader materials, new rods, reels and vises – hashed and rehashed. The fortunate ones (spelled $$) bask in the sunlight of fishing exotic locales, and catching exotic fish, showing not sharing, while we discuss the best way to keep from losing fingers to frostbite. We quickly forgot that the winter solstice passed last month with no fly fanfare. If there was ever one universal day for fly fishers to celebrate, it should be the winter solstice for all the obvious reasons. Through all of these distractions, we still fish.

JH took a look at the nearly full moon last night and asked if I knew what that meant. I was clueless. “Two more full moons and the Hybrids start to run“. I guess it was a lucky break that we (thanks to LK) could get JH to that spot last year and a guy with that much experience looks two moons forward to it this year. Today, we bide our time by finding new weapons for this year’s hunts – coyote fur, hooks that stick etc. … and bide our time, because this week we fish again.

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Category: Fly Tying, Life Observed

About the Author ()

I write. I photograph. I fish, and I live.

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  1. Joel Hays says:

    Amen, brother. Wednesday cannot come soon enough!