What am I looking forward to in 2012? Well there are many things. The first, and most important is the birth of my son. Becoming a Dad was the 3rd best decision I've ever made. Yeah that sounds pretty low, but next to God and my wife, it's a pretty good placing. My daughter brings so much joy to my life I can't wait to have a little boy to teach all my "guy" things to. Fly fishing, golf, music, teasing his mother and sister, etc... the list goes on an on. I can't wait!
Next, with respect to the this blog is a better year of fishing. 2011 really stunk. I didn't get out much and didn't catch many fish when I did get out. The conditions were typically awful, and I was too busy with work and family to get out when I wanted to. But that's ok, family comes first.
I want to get back to some normal fishing. I look forward to the grannom caddis hatch on the Neshannock Creek in the early spring. That is the "unofficial" start to the trout season. I will probably head out to some little wild brookie or brown streams before then just to get my feet wet, but the grannoms is a great way to start. They are a snowstorm of a hatch and in the middle of the day so it's fairly easy to catch.
Next up on the chopping block is opening day. I have a friend who got into a hunting camp a few years ago and we've made a new tradition of going up for 2 days and fishing a wild trout stream on Friday and a nice stocked stream on Saturday. It's fun to get away and fish some new areas. Hopefully my buddy will not get lost this year. (that's a story in itself)
The next event is the paflyfish.com spring JAM in Center County. My anticipation for this event always causes sleep deprivation. Getting together with 70+ guys from all over the state of PA and beyond, and fishing some of the best streams in the state is just fantastic. I've met some fantastic people on that site, and learned a lot of how to expand my fly fishing skills immensely in this short weekend trip.
This summer marks the 17 year brood of the cicadas in the Central Valley Limestoners area. I've never fished the cicadas, and heard when they hit in 2008 in Centre County that it was nothing short of epic. I have a friend who promised to show me around the area, as I've never fished it, and he is someone I respect as a person and a fantastic fisherman, so even if the cicadas disappoint, the company will not.
The summer also gives me the anticipation of fishing the private pond at my churches annual pot luck fishing event. Everyone brings a side dish and desert, and they cook up some burgers and dogs. I would rather skip the food and fish the whole time if it was up to me. This place is a large pond and has bluegill the size of 2 hands, and enough 12-15 inch bass to last a lifetime. I typically catch around 25 fish in about 3-4 hours. I also look forward to helping my daughter catch her first fish then. I'm fairly confident she can at least reel in one this year, and hopefully cast herself next year. It's a fun family event, and even get my wife to get in on the fly fishing action here and there. A few years ago she caught her first fish on the fly rod... not that she has any interest what so ever in sharing my hobby.
Once Fall comes around it's steelhead and salmon weather. I went to NY to fish for salmon last year for the first time and plan to do this annually. I know a little bit more of what to expect and hopefully can legally catch a few fish this year. Our group took the skunk home (actually almost got sprayed by a skunk outside our cabin last year) and we hope to change that this year. Steelhead is what I really look forward to every year, and the last few years haven't been very productive. I got spoiled in the first few years I fished up there as the runs were nothing short of fantastic and the last few years have been awful. Either way it's fun to catch some bigger fish on the fly rod and it's nice to get some new people into those fish too.
Some new things I want to do this year is try a few new streams in the Allegheny National Forest. I know a few streams that hold wild rainbows and have never caught one of those. I also didn't get much brookie fishing in this year, and need to scratch that itch a bit more. I also have never caught a large trout. My biggest trout is probably around 16" and I've been searching for that 20" fish for a few years now. I hope to try a few new spots to get a chance at that.
I also have a few goals at work I NEED to hit. My wife has promised if I hit my fall bonus, then I can go on a fishing trip in 2013. It's between Montana to visit a fly fishing friend of mine who recently moved out there, or Alaska. Either will be nothing short of fantastic, just will have to see what works out at that time if I can do it.
All in all I live a blessed life. God uses me in many ways and to enjoy his awesome creation and enjoy fly fishing at the same time is just a great way to clear my mind and enjoy His presence.
Bring it on 2012! I'm ready for you!