Although the local lakes and ponds have shed winter’s cover of ice, there are still pockets of ice and snow in the upper elevations, especially along shaded sections of mountain streams.
Most rivers and streams are still running high, with water connected by natural rhythms.
Although recent weather patterns been a bit less cooperative than expected based on recent years, it appears the spring is finally marching on.
I must admit that I have gotten used to enjoying the accelerated arrival of spring, which seems to have come along earlier every year. I guess I was spoiled last year, when the ponds were free of ice in time for the opening of trout season, on April 1.
In most years, the trout season doesn’t even begin to heat up until the middle of May, usually on or about the Mothers Day weekend; but this year, it seems to be adhering to the norm.
Although a majority of the region’s ponds have been ice free for nearly two weeks, water temperatures are still lingering in the 40’s, and the fishing has been rather slow.
In this regard, the date on the calendar is never as reliable as the indications provided by the natural calendar.
What is likely the most obvious sign of good fishing, is evidence of blood trickling from behind an angler’s ear, a sure indication that the black flies have sprouted teeth.
And there are plenty others signs, ranging from ferns still in the fiddlehead stage to witchhobble bushes beginning to sprout leaves that are about the size of a mouse’s ears.
Most of these observations are based more on experience or coincidence rather than true science, and yet they tend to hold water.
Blackflies do not appear until water temperatures begin to warm, and when water temperatures are conducive to hatching out blackflies, they are usually producing a wide assortment of other fly hatches. And most anglers understand that trout like to eat flies.
As the local waters continue to warm, and the fish become more active, so too have the hatchery trucks. Although trout stocking has already begun, there are still many truckloads yet to be deposited in the local waters.
Although snowmelt and heavy rains have already swollen the rivers and streams several times, the local waters are now very manageable for wading, and paddling.
After a few days with air temperatures in the 70’s, the rivers will likely turn on and we’ll begin to see some of the first hatches of the season.
The spring season is always a good time to be on the water, whether in a canoe, a boat or in a pair of waders. Having a fishing rod in hand is simply a bonus, and for many a camera or a pair of binoculars serves the same purpose as long as it gets us out in the natural environment.
Nature is the Wonder Drug
There are many reasons to explain why humans always feel better in the spring. Much of it involves the lengthening hours of daylight, and the benefits of increasing sunlight, which provides Vitamin D.
The weather becomes warmer, the days are longer and the rebirth of the earth is evident across the entire landscape. But it isn’t just the physical aspects of the season that have people feeling better.
In many cases, it is the natural world which is likewise coming out of hibernation, and as we view the daily arrival of birds, bugs, and animals, the greening of the grass and the budding of the surrounding forests, it affects our psyche.
Simply put, we feel better both physically and mentally. Increasingly, there is growing scientific evidence that being exposed to and in contact with the natural environment makes us smarter, happier and healthier, and it’s never been more evident than in the spring.
Scientists and physicians are slowly beginning to recognize and understand the essential impacts of nature on human health. They have come to understand that the outdoors is ‘big medicine,’ which is not really recent news to many of the world’s aboriginal peoples.
However, it is breaking news among many among the so called civilized societies. For too many years, humans have taken nature for granted, and have failed to appreciate the value of our natural relationship with the world surrounding our communities.
We often fail to realize that we are still directly dependent upon the natural environment, as has been graphically illustrated by the numerous catastrophic weather events, including those that have devastated the North Country in recent years.
We cannot learn to value humanity without attaching a value to nature, for we are inextricably linked. We learn to appreciate nature only if we understand the value of our relationship with it.
And therein lies the collective problem, which has become so evident in recent years. As a society, we have come to believe that we are no longer directly dependent on the natural world.
In many cases, we have allowed ourselves to become so consumed by the virtual world, that we are no longer connected to the wild side of the earth.
Although our current generation is surely the most connected in the history of mankind, they are also the most disconnected generation in terms of realizing the benefits of the natural world.
Richard Louv, author of the bestseller, Last Child in the Woods, as well as The Nature Principal, has offered up seven basic concepts to help individuals reshape their lives by tapping into the restorative powers of nature.
In the process of restoring natural connections people can increase mental acuity and creativity, promote health and wellness, build smarter and more sustainable businesses, communities and economies, and ultimately strengthen human bonds.
I’ve witnessed this process happening in many Adirondack communities, where many are fortunate to still have a feel the natural rhythms of life.
However, it is important that a similar commitment is made to ensure that future generations also understand and learn to value rhythms of a similar tune. Otherwise, there goes the neighborhood. It is afterall, a key component of our heredity.
Joe Hackett is a guide and sportsman residing in Ray Brook. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.