By Leon Archer
The old saying is, if March comes in like a Lion, it will go out like a lamb, and conversely, if March comes in like a lamb, it will go out like a lion.
If there is any truth to that, the end of the month should be pretty darned good.
In the meantime, there is plenty of ice for the ice fishermen and probably way too much snow and ice for the steelhead fishermen. Both the ice fisherman and the steelheader are a hardy breed.
The conditions on the streams and rivers should be much more conducive for catching those big trout as March slowly starts to mellow. I never fished for them much until April arrived, but once the weather started to get warm enough to tempt me to wet a line, I caught some nice ones.
Fact is, the really good steelhead fishing started on the Salmon River and other area streams after I had nearly given up fishing in the coldest months. I guess I had become a wimp.
I was trying to remember years when March was a docile as a summer night. I don’t have any dates in my head, but sweet thing’s birthday comes on March 27, and I remember us having a picnic on her birthday one year when the temperature was 75 degrees and the daffodils had been in blossom for at least a week and a half before.
I also collected sap a number of years with my father-in-law, Harvey Yerdon, when the ground was getting mostly bare before the end of March, and the maple season was nearly over.
With temperatures finally giving us a little break, it looks like the maple syrup season should be up and running.
Harvey always said there were a few things you needed for a good syrup season. They were: thawing days and freezing nights, snow on the ground – preferably with several crusts – rain, and reasonably calm days.
The season lasted longer if the weather didn’t warm up too much, too quickly. I think the conditions are pretty good this year for a better than average syrup season, but I’m really not much better at predicting the weather than Punxsutawney Phil, so who knows?
One thing is certain, spring always comes. I am a great fan of spring. I like fishing the streams before the rocks have become too slippery for an old guy like me.
I live for the tug of a bullhead at the end of my line on a warm night on Sandy Pond. I take great pleasure in picking up a couple hundred night crawlers on a damp evening. I even enjoy just sitting outside and listening to the spring peepers.
And I love the smell of spring, the odor of promise of great days to come.
After this winter, just about anything March has to offer is going to look good.
I’m hoping for a good bullhead season. My favorite fish is likely still snoring away safely tucked into a soft bottom underneath the ice, but as soon as the sun gets higher, the water starts to warm and the ice gets rotten, his alarm clock will go off. I’ll be waiting for Mr. Whiskers.
Nothing brings back memories any stronger than sitting beside a gas lantern, listening to the frogs and peepers, hoping to see my rod tip jump as a bullhead takes the bait. My father and I passed many pleasant night hours together in friendly competition at the expense of Mr. Whiskers.
It doesn’t get much better than that. It gets my heart pumping just thinking about it.
Yep, I love the spring.