Winter bleakness was in the air today in spite of Spring temperatures.
Stump's horses are covered to protect them from rolling in the mud of
late winter. The sycamores haven't thought of budding yet and the willow
tree's hanging branches have not turned to the green of spring yet, but a
thaw was in the air and beaconed me to soft banks of Mossy Creek again.

Little wonder our fish suffer from the ravages of herons over the winter.
In spite of their camouflage, the herons find them easy pray when they rest
in the shallows like this foolish rainbow from last summer's stocking.

Oscar is the big, very colorful brown that lives below the culvert at Stump's place.
He has eluded me for a couple years now. Today the sun came out for a spell and
lit him up like a Christmas candle. I gave him several tries with a drowned Madam X.
That is about as close as I get to straying from dry fly fishing. He took great pleasure
in ignoring me again today.

I managed to connect with his rainbow friend, though. Our rainbows are nicely
colored.We buy them from Anthony who says they are a strain of rainbow from
northern Idaho.

I don't think the rainbows compare to the browns, though. This holdover fish,
though not brightly colored like Oscar who has been below the culvert for
three years now, is wonderfully shaped and has a perpetual smile on his face.
It was wonderful to have a warm day in the middle of the winter to bring
back the freshness of one of my favorite places. Spring can't be too far away.

I felt I needed one more late winter day on Mossy this year. Joel Dunn from Chapel
Hill, NC contacted me about fishing Mossy again so we scheduled some fishing to
coincide with his business trip to Washington. When we got to the wide valley of
North River and Mossy and Beaver Creeks, we found yesterday's snow still fresh
on the mountain tops to the west. Jeff has yet to plow his rich bottom land for this
year's corn. Spring is only a couple weeks away and the grasses along the stream
banks are just now starting to green up a little.

Joel gave a nymph a try under the willow tree. He hooked one nice fish and missed
a couple more. I gave it a try with my Tweeter caddis and manage one nice new
brown and missed a couple more smaller fish.

Stump's cows keep right at our backs while we fish. You can almost touch them they
are so close. Number 97 is a particularly curious one. He apparently hasn't been caught
yet. I hook them from time to time. They don't fight very well, but they don't come to
hand either. The final break off is fairly uneventful. Some times they are so close I
can feel their hot breath on the back of my neck.

Joel caught this nice brown below the upper dam. He was pleased to get his new net
wet. I teased him about it being so big. That is a really nice fish in a really really
big net. He fished with my rod today, and I fished with his. It is nice to try
different rods from time to time.

You can tell he was really enjoying himself. That is not the only fish he caught in
that run. He caught a couple more right below there. The nice bright colors make
me think that nice brown is a holdover fish.

I'll give that fellow a try in a couple weeks after things warm up a bit. I really
enjoyed the day with Joel on Mossy. It is good to share my special places with friends.

I am forever thankful for the generosity of my Mennonite friends on Mossy.
Stump and Kathy have a wonderful property with a wonderful stream. Spring
will soon begin and I will be spending many evenings working my flies to the
eager browns of Mossy Creek.


The warmth of good friends makes the cold
of a late winter day seem insignificant.

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