What are you missing?
Here are a few pointers for those planning to head out into the cold.
· First of all, staying warm is obviously at the top of the list! Don’t forget to layer up using multiple light layers, so if you do start to get warm, you’re able to shed clothes a little at a time to maintain good temperature. Sweating is something you want to stay away from!
· Remember everything has slowed down and the water you fished in the summer may no longer produce well. Look for slow moving water over deep holes where trout can hold and have food pushed to them.
· The fish have a very different diet in the winter, focus on small flies, #18-#24 scuds, midges, sow bugs, gnats and small attractor patterns. If you happen to get lucky with a warm day on the river don't shy away from streamers and larger nymphs. You could easily land one of your largest fish of the year in these winter months.
· Don’t worry about waking up at the butt crack of dawn to be the first on the river. Very rarely is there competition. Sleep in a bit and wait for the waters to warm.
· Take the time to double check your gear before your hike to the river. Time on the river can be pretty valuable. Walking back to the truck is not a good use of time.
· Keeping ice off your guides can be the biggest annoyance when fishing in freezing temps. A little tip: add some Burt’s Bees original chapstick to your guides or I’ve found dubbing wax also works well.
Of course catching fish is the main objective, but take time to observe the awesome creations the winter weather has created. The beauty of the iced sculpted river is something only few people see. The snow encased pine trees and icicle formations are pretty hard to beat. Keep a camera handy, there are always plenty of photo opportunities as you venture down the river.
So next time you’re thinking whether or not you should fight the cold and go fishing just do it, you won’t regret it whether you catch fish or not it’s just awesome to venture into nature.
Tight Lines and HaulGlass