"I like fishing in the rain..."
I knew it was going to rain. I had watched the conditions on my phone's weather app for a week. No matter how many times I checked, it still said it was going to rain all day on Saturday. 100% chance of precipitation, sunrise to sunset. No window of clear skies, and not just a drizzle, a persistently steady rain all day long.
"I like fishing in the rain," I lied to myself. It's not blatant dishonesty, I don't mind fishing in the rain. You're pretty much guaranteed to not encounter another angler, which in April on a trout stream is a rarity. But that enjoyment pretty much ceases once that drizzle turns into a downpour. I don't live in the Pacific Northwest. I'm not a steelheader. Wet is fine, soaked is another story.
All that being said, the misguided internal voice in my head was convincing enough to drive my body up to North Georgia last weekend for my first trip to the mountains in 2023. Seven hours later, I was in a hotel room, turning the light out and looking forward to Saturday morning.
Let's check out the stream...
Upon awakening and looking out the window, the weather app was accurate. Damn android weatherman. It was in fact raining. Smart people would have taken that as a cue to go back to bed. Delusional trout anglers disregard such common sense and head off to the stream anyway. At least I was correct in the fact that there were no other anglers to be found.
What I did find was high, fast, and almost blown out waters. Not the worst I've ever encountered, but the kind that aren't exactly the safest to wade when you can't see anywhere near the bottom. Whatever, I'm here, might as well fish.
3 inches of fish...
Well, what happened the rest of the day was a sloppy, off balance traverse upstream, a half dozen lost flies, and three foolish little rainbows to hand. One of which earned the distinguised title of "Mike's First Trout of 2023." I mean what trout wouldn't want that honor?
There's a point in time when even the best rain clothes start to soak through. That time was about 1:30 PM. After fishing for about 5 hours, I decided to call it quits early. Being wet, cold, and hungry isn't a great combination. And the catch rate of 3 inches of fish per hour wasn't proving incentive enough to stay out in those conditions.
After retreating to the car and drying out while driving for a bit, I asked Google to find "food near me." The phone directed me to the warmth of a really good burger and onion rings. It kind of took the hard edges off the day and turned around a soggy mood after a few greasy bites.
A full 180...
After a non-eventful evening I found that the next day, Sunday, lived up to its name. Instead of being dark, chilly, and wet, it was bright, warm, and beautiful. It was a full 180 when compared to the day before. On my typical weekend trips to North Georgia, Sunday has always been the day to drive back home, which I usually choose to do relatively early foregoing fishing. But this time, hoping for a bit of on-stream redemption, I chose to head back to the water instead of south toward Florida.
Boy, was I rewarded. It's amazing what a few hours of clear skies can do to a high gradient mountain stream. The flows had slowed, the murkiness had cleared, the bugs were out, and the fish were rising. The coincidence of seeing rainbow (trout) after the rain was not lost on me.
What played out was another handful of hours of fishing, many more wild visitors, and just an enjoyable day on the water. The kind that erased any of the previous day's mishaps. It was an ideal way to close out the weekend and made the long drive home go by just a bit quicker.
In retrospect, it was still probably, no... definitely stupid to convince myself that it was a good idea to go fishing on Saturday. Much less spend half a day on Friday driving to do so. There were no signs indicating that the conditions (nor the actual act of fishing) would be good. And if I was being honest, I'd tell you it wasn't. I caught fish, but it was extremely forgettable. And did I mention wet?
But Sunday... Oh, Sunday's success wouldn't have happened without Saturday's mess. And I guess that made it all worth it plus some. Fish after fish, each release creating a new memory and getting 2023's trouting off to a wonderful start.
While the sun certainly played its part changing the waterlogged tones, no matter how much you try to tell me otherwise, I think my trip's fortunes turned with the warmth of that greasy burger.