All Winters Must End By Mark Usyk

I shoveled a path to the grill through a foot and a half of heavy, wet snow. As I stood there grilling burgers and sipping on a porter in a long sleeved t-shirt I couldn’t help but smile. I could finally hear the current of the creek, the ice melting away in several small patches enough for the water to call out to me, to let me know it would be ready soon.

As we finished our dinner, Holly says to me “You can go fishing for a little bit if you want, the boys will be leaving for religion class soon anyhow. I shrug my shoulders. “I don’t know, maybe.” I clean my plate at the sink and look out at the sun shining, the bright orange ball of fire hangs just above the trees and the frozen creek. The thermometer says it’s 52. I slap myself in the face. “You idiot, this is what you’ve been waiting for all winter. You can’t catch fish if you’re not fishing.”

Where the creek out back ends and flows into the Mohawk I find myself standing in knee deep snow, breathing heavy from the walk in. Winter waders are cumbersome enough even before you have to push a hundred yards though knee deep snow. The creek is still frozen over, but the ice is thinning. The Mohawk however is clear. Ice free. I can fish the creek for Trout, it’s one of the few waters in the state that’s open year round for catch and release Trout fishing. But of course it’s iced over. The Mohawk on the other hand is wide open, the water a light tea stained color and running high from the melting snow. It holds Trout, but merely feet away from the creek which feeds it, Trout is closed on this river.

I tie on a 4” white and red streamer with holographic eyes. There are 4 more days of Walleye and Northern Pike season before it closes for a month. What have I got to lose? Daylight. That’s about it. And a streamer. It’s been 2 months since I last casted the 6wt. It seems like 2 years… Until the first cast. Then it feels like it was only yesterday.

The fly glides and twitches perfectly. I’ve never fished with the sinking line yet, but after a couple casts I decide I like it. I’ll have to invest in a quality line soon for my new rod being built. My thoughts are shattered by the “Whack” and violent splash in the river in front of me. Not the Pike I had hoped would cause the commotion, a beaver has decided I should leave. I reel in the line as the last of the sun filters through the trees and I sit in the snow. Neoprene wader boots and a fly rod. A river and a sun setting to my back. Just like a day at the beach…Minus the sand in my shorts. Life is good on the water.