February 15, 2009
Felt Soled Snowshoes
After weeks on end of powder skiing, the storm cycle has come to an end. My body is beaten up and in need of a few days off. The first day off was spent as a couch slug. Perfect. The next day was warm and sunny. The thought of wetting a line sounded pretty good. It only took a few minutes of digging through the garage to get all the gear in the truck. As I was loading the dogs in the back, I saw my snowshoes. I threw them in the back, just in case.
I pulled into the parking lot by the Snake River. It was filled with cross country skiers putting their gear on and off. As I rigged my gear behind my truck I got several looks and nods from folks. Some looked to be thinking, 'nice call', others seemed to be thinking 'what the fuck?'
I set off down the ski trail with rod in hand and snowshoes strapped to my backpack. Soon I came to path beaten down by dogs that led to a channel of the river. I walked down, got to the side-channel, and started walking upstream through the water to avoid the deep snow. I soon realized the channel went on for quite a long way, but if I crossed a snowfield I could get to some good looking water quite quickly. As I started trudging through the snow, postholing every couple of steps, I thought about pausing to put on my snowshoes. This would have been smart, but the river wasn't that far away and I was eager to get fishing. Besides, If I put them on now I would just have to take them off in a minute when I got to the river to fish. I pressed on and in a few sweaty minutes I was at the waters edge.
I tied on a couple of nymphs, attached an indicator and made my first cast of the new year. I worked this first riffle and the run below it for a while with no strikes. The day was beautiful however, and just standing along the river was reward enough.
After a while at this spot I wanted to continue upstream to work more water. The main channel was deep and swift, so over snow was the way I had to go. After a few steps in the deep snow, I decided now was a good time to put on the snowshoes. These snowshoes I received as a gift many years ago and have only used a few times. They are very nice, the high-tech kind. They are large with an aluminum frame and some kind of plastic sheet strung across them. There is a simple strap system to hold your boot to the snowshoe and a few metal cleats underneath for traction. They went on quickly and soon I was walking across the snow with ease. It was quite fun and my dogs were happy with my faster pace. I soon came to another good looking pool. It was slow moving and deep. The bank here was steep, so I fished it from up on the bank. No action here, time to keep walking upstream.
Soon I came the place where the side channel I had walked up earlier split from the main river. It was a small channel and the current flowed shallow and swift. The smart thing to do would have been to take off the snowshoes for the quick crossing. The smart thing to do isn't always the fun thing to do, let alone the thing I do. With a shrug of the shoulders and a lets see what happens I stepped into the current.
Though the water was just over my ankles, the effect of the current on the large surface area of the snowshoes was much like a sudden gust of wind on a small sailboat. In spite of my intention to move forward, the lateral motion was noticeable. This coupled with the metal cleats on the round river rocks ............
Jackson Hole Anglers
Posted by Kevin Emery