the winter trout
I finally downed tools, the cabin completed, my hands marked with cuts and abrasions, my legs dotted with dark bruises, and my back and shoulders in a state requiring a full service. I'm currently feeling a lot older that I once was, I can tell....because my body take's longer to repair! I set aside the aches and pains, grabbed the fly rod and bag and headed to Jacks, to fish his trout stocked mega dam. He's been stocking it with Rainbows and Browns for around five years now and in winter it's one of the few places you can take a rod and legally fish for trout, as the spawning rivers are off limits this time of year. It was cold and a fair breeze lashed on top of the water like a band of graceful dancers, small bands of ripples tricked the eyes and teased with possibility of fish presence. They where there, hundreds of them, and Jack ought to know, he put them there. After half an hour he tends to move onto something else, and puts down his spinning reel. I stayed, persevered. I was determined to be the first to land a trout with the fly rod.
Like a repetitive machine I'd cast, let the fly sink, then retrieve in a fashion that replicated a small swimming meal to tempt a hungry trout. I was using a black pattern with a red head, I can't remember the name of the fly but it proved useful, a strike! My heart pumped a little faster with excitement, and I successfully landed the beast just as Jacks car drove off to another job. He's never believe me, so I pulled out the mini cam and got proof. Within another 40 minutes I'd caught two more, one possibly the biggest rainbow trout I've ever caught. Although I look forward to the river season being open again I must say they're is something about the calmness of fishing a dam/lake in winter. It's challenging with the freezing weather but the reward far outweighs the effort required.
Jack doing his annual re-stock.
I butterfly filleted and de-boned the fish and they graced my slow smokehouse as the first of hopefully many fish to be smoked the old way, then into a pasta with fresh season jamon, asparagus, mascarpone, peccorino, lemon, pine nuts and white wine sauce, a favorite way for smoked trout in pasta, which just happens to be a recipe in this soon to be released recipe book.....which a copy arrived at the school house last week. Wow. I wrote a book. It's still unfathomable. But I hold it in my hands, the same hands that wrote the book, made the recipes and took all the pictures. The same hands that caught that beautiful monster rainbow trout, and are currently covered in cuts and abrasions from building a smokehouse. I like these hands. They've been good to me.