Matt Dickerson: Cabin fever and the green caddis pupa
I can go seven or eight weeks in a row without fishing if I want to. I just don’t want to.
Although if do go eight weeks without fishing, I want it to be in the winter when I am cross-country skiing. Which I’ve been trying to do regularly, but the weather isn’t cooperating. Twice in the past couple weeks we’ve been promised a half-foot of new snow, and twice the promises have been broken like the word of an unfaithful lover.
Which hasn’t grounded me. Thanks to their snowmaking, the Rikert Nordic Center has done a wonderful job of keeping some trails open. My wife and I have taken advantage of our season passes there and kept our skis from growing lonely in the garage. In fact, we try to leave our skis in the car, just in case. Though the machine-made snow isn’t perfect, it’s been decent if you’re content to stay on the same 3 km to 5 km. And the woods are still beautiful, even if you do keep repeatedly passing the same tree.
Still, the lack of snow has me thinking about fishing. On Sunday evening I spent some time teaching some beginning fly tying to a few college students in the fly fishing club. Of course sitting around tying flies inevitably leads one to sit around talking about using the flies, which leads to talking about fish and fishing. So I also made a point of writing on my calendar the Tuesday evening meeting and fly tying gathering of the New Haven River Anglers Association. But the storm that failed to deliver a half-foot of new snow before turning to mixed precipitation went instead directly to the mixed precipitation, which not only resulted in school cancelations; it also resulted in the cancelation of the fly-tying gathering.
Since the next NHRAA fly-tying Tuesday won’t be until the third week of February, I decided to look for other options to cure my cabin fever. And, thanks to Vermont Fish and Wildlife, Trout Unlimited, and the L.L. Bean store in Burlington, I found some.
The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department website lists several sponsored activities all in the category of Winter Fishing Clinics. They offer ice fishing clinics on Lake Bomoseen on 1/31 (Tuesday) and on Shelburne Pond on Feb. 8 (Wednesday). Both run from 9-11:30 a.m. And though pre-registration is required, both events are free.
Collaborating with a local chapter of Trout Unlimited, they also are offering a three-week Intermediate Fly Tying clinic running Thursday evenings of Feb. 9, Feb. 16 and March 2 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the Agency of Natural Resources building in Berlin. This clinic does have a small cost of $30 to cover fly tying materials, and also requires preregistration.
More information on any of these can be found at their website: www.vtfishandwildlife.com. Register by calling 802-265-2279.
L.L. Bean is also offering some winter clinics in the same topics: ice fishing and fly tying. By the time you read this, it will likely be too late to attend their free clinic offering general “tips and techniques” on ice fishing to be held in their Burlington store on Thursday, Jan. 26, at 6:30 p.m. But not too late to register for their $129, four-week class on fly tying offered with the option of either four consecutive Saturdays or four consecutive Sundays beginning this weekend (Jan. 28 and 29), or four consecutive Wednesdays starting on Feb. 8.
If a free, 45-minute fly-tying clinic is more in line with your interests — either because it is only a 45-minute session, or because “free” is appealing — L.L. Bean in Burlington will be offering some short, free Thursday evening sessions beginning in February, each one focusing on learning to tie a single fly. You can learn to tie the “Green Caddis Pupa” on Thursday, Feb. 2, or the “Wooly Bugger” on Thursday, Feb. 9, or the “Prince Nymph” on Feb. 16. All of these free clinics run from 6:30-7:15 p.m.
And I’m thinking, even if you don’t have cabin fever, how can you not want to learn how to tie a fly called a “Green Caddis Pupa”?