Flyrods, Fins and COVID-19

It would be fair to say that the spring of 2020 was a little weird. The world was on fire with the coronavirus spreading and limiting our movements. I followed the medical community’s recommendations, limiting my public appearances to the grocery store. It was months before I shared a vehicle with someone and my wife and I still haven’t invited anyone into our house.


There had been many plans planned to keep me busy during the spring, but COVID-19 slowed them down; a fresh steelhead licence in my pocket licence went un-fished because I would have had to visit another town to drift flies for them and it was being advised that we stay within our own communities. When we finally received the okay to move around a bit more the steelhead had left, and I was fully into the spring bear hunt.


Last year the spring fishing season had treated me well, bull trout hammered my flies and I managed to catch and release several before the shallows warmed up. This year I had to work for them, the bulls were few and far between, the baitfish flies I was using last year didn’t even elicit a strike. It was close to the middle of May before I hooked one and to top it all off the rainbows weren’t biting either. It was like all the fish had disappeared.


The lakes stayed low and when they did rise it didn’t last long. Winter wasn’t great on the snow side and mostly it just trickled away, not the intense rush that comes in May from the hot days that did not happen. While I don’t need non-stop action to enjoy fly fishing after a while I do lose a little of the stoke when I’m struggling to hook even an eight inch trout in three or four hours of casting from spots where I usually land at least one bull or lots of little rainbows in the same amount of time.


I just recently had two nights in a row of catching. Conservatively I’d say I landed fifty rainbows in two sessions. Busy with packing for thirty-two days in Ontario some new Simms waders and boots appeared on my doorstep and I couldn’t let them sit for over a month before trying them out. To add fuel to the fire I’d tied up some tiny size 12 beadhead wooly buggers that needed testing (they worked). Every year I have a session or two like this, an afternoon where it would be more challenging to keep the fish off your hook and it more than makes up for the fishless days and a slow, weird spring.


See you on the water or the mountain.

-Matthew Mallory