Ice out 2.0
The return of a winter cold spell we experienced the last couple of weeks was sufficient to put a solid sheet of ice on the local reservoir. With strong winds last week, and daytime temperatures in the modestly comfortable range, I thought that Chickahominy would be ice free, yet again, and invited my good friend and fishing/hunting partner to join me for a day of tight lines, good photo ops, and a chance to try some new fly patterns we have been working on.
Sometimes I should keep my thoughts to myself.
We arrived at the ice block at about 10:15, and found a bit of open water on the north side. As we donned waders and I beat my head against the window of the rig due to a rod which got wet in the case which caused the wood insert in the reel seat to swell such that I couldn't slide the "keeper" ring down to accept my reel, all due getting side tracked after the last trip out and not drying out my wading shoes stored in the bottom of my wader/gear bag, we saw that things were slowly opening as iced moved. About 80% of the surface was ice covered, and over the next couple of hours, we guessed another 10% or so opened up. That said, I'm guessing that it will be ice free again by mid-week, or at least by weekend. But then again, that's a thought I'm having....
Water clarity is amazing for that water body. I'm guessing at least 6 feet of visibility!
Unfortunately, and very surprising to us, the fishing was not good. We didn't touch a fish on any pattern tried. We did find that the arm on the highway side was open, and did see one fish come up near the mouth of it, however, numerous casts of a variety of flies had no bumps. We were, in a word, defeated. Not too many of those have occurred at Chick in the last 30-some years. We are racking this one up to fish being stuffed. But we are also wondering if the re-icing had some effect, coupled with a falling barometer and east/south wind. We all know that "fish bite the least when it blows from the east", and "fish close their mouth when the wind is from the south", right?
I did hear that the Blitzen fished fair one day this weekend, but then water color went bad with the slight warming. The flow is still rather low, but watch the USGS stream flow site (the link is on the home page here) to see what it's doing, and look for somewhat constant or falling flows.
Looking at the forecast, I'm seeing a drop in temps, thunderstorms and possible snow over the next few days. So after it settles, I'll just wait for "wind from the west, fish with a loaded vest".