The oak woodlands are bright green with the beginnings of wildflower carpets across the sunlit hillsides. Along the river, the purple lupine and golden poppies celebrate the new sun. This could be the quintessential spring scene except for one thing: the wind. I saw the warnings – gusts up to 40 mph – on the heels of the storm passing to the east. Wind that’s in a hurry to race in a big counter-clockwise arc to fuel a storm over the Rockies. All the little places where I might find a little respite are even more trouble as the wind eddies and swirls unpredictably in the lee of the bankside trees.
On the water, the mayflies and caddis come off in good numbers. But the winged adults skitter along the water too quickly to offer easy pickin’s for the trout below. Swallows maneuver across the water, handling the wind with ease, grabbing up the bugs. Not a single trout can be seen on the surface. There’s no need, they can simply grab the bugs ascending in the water column and forgo the unpredictable surface fare. Normally, this would be an afternoon of steady surface-feeding fish. But not today. A few productive reaches are visited – all with the same wind-whipped setting. Instead, I take the time to explore two potential new sites. Good water to be had. But it will have to wait until another time. I’ll be here all week – and hopefully have a chance at a classic spring day drifting dry flies for large, surface feeding trout.