The late winter snows keep blowing in to Colorado and the Front Range. While I am just as guilty as others in my practice of the obligatory cursing about spring taking its own sweet time to get here, I try to also remember that snow is water and water is life for the rivers and streams that I will want to fish in the late spring.
It has been a relatively mild winter. I worry every January or February for the health of our streams. Colorado water management sometimes doesn't feel very well regulated from the fisherman's point of view. Our recent last few years have given us floods that wipe out the habitat and seem to raise water PH to higher acidic levels that may start to kill off entomological life and food sources for fish. Like many, I think I feel a little bit frustrated and disenfranchised.
Some of the streams I fish go to supply local city water supplies and some feed rivers that feed other cities thousands of miles down stream. The idea that we keep building larger cities bothers me. I am also struck by the huge culture of ignorance over the limited resource that water is. Think about this a little when you brush your teeth and let the water run, get too lost in thought while taking a shower, or perhaps let your yard hose run a little too long watering a lawn. I'm not here to shame you, but I am here to remind you that it takes a lot of small actions to create the kind of changes we need.
We all are familiar with the peacefulness to a fresh layer of snow across the yard. At night the snow also seems to acts as sound buffer to noise and there is a settling reflective quality of moonlight on the snow that makes the world seem ghost-like. The snow is a good excuse for guy like me to hunker down and find a cozy corner to read or to dive into tying some flies. I try to be thoughtful when I can be about the waiting through the winter. Eventually though I can't help but get impatient for the early fishing just before the blow out.
I think that it is a good thing that we are forced to just abide by the weather as it comes. We have to look at that part of ourselves that wants to speed life and nature along. Nature is never rushed and just happens. Watching the seasons can be a test of our patience and a reminder of our relationship to the seasons for sure. I fool myself sometimes into thinking that spring is just around the corner. I pull out my fishing license and look forward to going in to get it renewed. I lie and tell myself "this is the last snow of the season." It never is until it is of course. Thankfully my wife who is a native Coloradan reminds me every year that March is historically the most snowy month in Colorado. Thanks honey... (She's such a buzz kill).
I will be posting later in March about my latest favorite fly designs and talk about simplifying your fly tying bench too.
Thanks for your support as a reader of my ramblings and thoughts.
Dennis Vander Houwen lives in Colorado with his patient and supportive wife, talented artist son, a smart dog, a new river puppy, and a very lucky cat.