Cold Day In Paradise

It was nine below when I pulled out of the driveway on  Saturday, the second day of January. Moments earlier, my wife had remarked that it was thirty-six above in Fairbanks.  Who'd of thunk it?  Forty-five degrees warmer in the interior of Alaska than in Montana.  This bit of trivia means little other than in passing conversation.  It assumes some greater significance for us in that one of our Brittany pups would soon be boarding a plane, destined for a life of chasing ruffed grouse and ptarmigan in the far north.

So, frigid temperatures notwithstanding, I decided to take a drive.  In the least, I'd make a token appearance creekside.  It was to be a brilliantly clear day and  I didn't want to miss it.  I planned on a day of thinking about fishing rather than wetting a line. When I arrived at the creek it had warmed nicely, to two below. Thank God for barrel stoves!  I wasted no time in crumpling paper and stuffing kindling and bigger wood into the stove.  My fingers were thoroughly frozen by the time I struck a match.

As the temperature in the hut climbed, and the feeling returned to my fingers, I stepped out and snapped a few pictures.  In moments, my fingers were again club like.  I returned to my refuge, the temperature inside now a toasty twelve.  Eventually, it rose to a tropical seventy-five.

The outside world was absolutely stunning.  There was "smoke on the water."  Myriad ice crystals hung from the trees and bushes.  The day was a diamond.

But, there would be no fishing today.  A few hardy souls would later show up, try their luck, and devote considerable time to keeping line from freezing to the rod guides.  Me?  I'd wait for a forty degree day.  I was content to read, drink tea an toast my sandwich.  I'd occasionally step out to check the status of the ice crystals. 

Absaroka Mountains, Montana, PhD pool, DePuy spring creek

It warmed to twenty-one by the time I left in early afternoon.


rivertoprambles said…
Man, I thought it was getting cold here on Saturday! At least you had the bright lights turned on in MT, to see the beauty of it all... in the cold. And thanks for sending the chill to NY! To zero tonight.
Lester Kish said…
I was more than happy to send that subzero stuff your way Walt. Wasn't it just a week or two ago that you were congratulating yourself for being able to get out under pleasant conditions?
Bill Trussell said…
Hats off to you for braving those conditions; what is the deal with the cabin can anyone use it? Outstanding scenery, thanks for sharing
Lester Kish said…
Bill, the "cabin" is actually a hut, little bigger than some garden sheds. It's available for use by folks who pay the daily rod fee to access the creek. Believe me, I wouldn't have gone if I couldn't have sought refuge from the cold!
Good pictures!!
My first day fishing at DePuy's was on Jan 5th. It raeched over mid 40s!
See you around!
Lester Kish said…
Good to hear from you Satoshi. Might give it a go this afternoon. Maybe we'll get lucky and see some midges soon.
Anonymous said…
Hi Les: Nice post. It's nice to visit the rivers/creeks we fish all summer, during mid winter (a different angle). Great the creek with steam and ice crystals pic. hope you get a warm day with some midges on top.
Lester Kish said…
Hi Bob. Went yesterday, completely different from Saturday. No wind. Balmy, almost forty. Birds singing, felt like a spring day. Even saw some robins. Found a few sporadic risers, got some to grab the midge on top. You would have appreciated it.

And today? Snowing again. I go to sleep with visions of PMD's dancing in my head.
penbayman said…
Definitely winter out your way Les..not so much here in Maine..Happy New Year!
Lester Kish said…
Yup, sure is Mike. Just stepped in from shoveling, again. Our snowpack is looking pretty good so far.

All the best for the New Year.