Ten things to do when the snow is at PhD levels

Don Oliver | Special to the Drum


I was sitting at my desk, looking out the window, and I realized the snow is at what I call PhD levels. That is, it’s piled higher and deeper. Sort of like the advanced degrees one can get at institutions of higher learning. That’s how one of my college professors referred to his PhD. The difference in the two is the PhD snow will eventually go away, while a PhD of higher learning is always with you. Knowing several people with PhD’s of higher learning, I sometimes wonder which is better, being smart, or having lots of water in which to fly fish. No, I know which is better.

The large amount of snow, ice, lousy road conditions, and cold weather has stranded many fly fishers indoors. So what is a dedicated fly fishing person to do in these types of situations? Don’t despair; having seen this situation before, I have come up with ten things to do that will help.

  1. You can put on your snow boots, grab a snow shovel, and drive due south until someone asks you what you have on your feet and what is that funny looking shovel for? It is at this location that no one has any idea of what PhD snow is, and you should stop and fish.
  2. Tie flies, the fly shops will love you for this activity. To date I have tied enough flies, in a favorite pattern or two, to last a lifetime. I am now experimenting in creating my own patterns with the material left over from tying my favorite patterns. I’m not sure an emerging royal elk hair caddis will catch anything, but if it does I’m patenting it and making a fortune.
  3. Watch fly-fishing shows on television, or a rerun of A River Runs Through It. You can also get the sound tract from “The Fly Fishing Movie” and play it endlessly in your truck.
  4. For men, my favorite two things to do are reorganize the silverware drawer and she who must be obeyed’s closet. I guarantee you this will get you a three-day pass to where it is warm and sunny.
  5. If you are a writer, or are thinking of becoming one, you should head to the southern most Florida Key. At this location you should buy and smoke some of the great cigars the immigrants from Cuba are rolling. You should also study why having five-toed cats can make you a better writer. You might even be able to get a PhD in this study.
  6. Buy more equipment. This speaks for itself.
  7. Check your equipment, especially your waders, to see if a mouse has eaten holes in them. If you find holes, patch them, if the holes are small enough. Also, check the feet to make sure a little creature hasn’t made a new home in one of the boots. If they can’t be patched see item number 6.
  8. Plan your area summer fly-fishing trips. Be sure and figure the delay in getting started due to the high runoff we will see this spring. With the expected high runoff this might be a good time to use number 6 to buy a bass boat or float tube. With all the runoff headed our way the lakes should be good fishing all spring, summer, and fall.
  9. Practice your casting in the street. Since the streets are covered in snow you won’t hurt your fly line on the concrete or big rocks. Also, with all the snow there won’t be much traffic to snag your back cast.
  10. Be thankful for all the moisture. I will remember the years when we were at drought levels.

I have found that when looking at high walls of snow the above ten steps help you make it to mud season. When that season arrives, I’ll print the ten steps to help you make it through all the mud.

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