It had been a long hiatus from fly fishing since late last summer. Looking out into the cold barren landscape over the past few months had me exited to step into moving water again. So Saturday morning I went over to Bob Mitchell's Fly Shop in Lake Elmo and after picking up some nymphs, was off to the river. I pulled up to the access around 1 pm and a couple other vehicles were there. As i walked down to the river, I was exited to hear the soft ripple of the moving water again. I walked upstream a hundred yards or so and started fishing. I was nymphing with a 9 foot leader and a tandem nymph rig. Soon my line shot back upstream, and I set the hook on the first trout of the season. I brought it to hand, unhooked the winter midge nymph it had taken, and slipped it back into the icy water. After catching a few more fish, I was starting to put together a pattern of where they were holding. It seemed like the trout were positioning themselves right at the point where the riffle drops off into a deeper pool. Trout commonly sit on the deep side of the drop off where the current can flow above them so they conserve energy. From that spot, they can see all the food that drifts above them, go up and grab it, and then go back down out of the current.
I later moved upstream and fished a few other spots but the action was starting to slow. Early in the year when the water is so cold, often your window of opportunity is when the day is warmest, and therefore the fish's activity level is highest. When the sun starts to set that window can close pretty quickly. So just prior to 4 pm I started to walk back to the car and call it a day. It had been a good afternoon of winter fly fishing, catching some nice trout, enjoying winter, and getting back on the water.