Winter officially started on December 21, but don't let the shorter
days ahead keep you from a great day of fishing in cold weather
conditions. With available daylight hours at a premium, you'll want to
make your time on the water as productive as possible.
Colder water and air temperatures mean that casting can become a chore – water collects on your rod guides and can quickly freeze over. At best, you may lose a fish due to the line being frozen in the guides. At worst, removing ice with gloved hands can cause breakage of the rod and/or guides.
Nothing is more frustrating than walking into a prime spot only to have this problem – so, stock up on the air-activated hand warmers available at most fly shops or sporting goods stores. Put them in your boots, pockets and keep a few extra to help with freezing guides. When your guides are frozen, simply wrap one of the hand warmers around the guides to start the melting process. Once you've started it melting, it'll be easier to remove all the ice with less risk of accidental breakage.
When casting, try using a static amount of line. If you're streamer fishing, or bouncing nymphs, you can make the most of the run by using a set amount of line and thoroughly working the water, moving your feet a few steps every few casts. This keeps your body moving to stay warm and keeps your line from icing up while it's in the water.
Finally, wear layers. Two temperature-based layers followed by a wind and waterproof jacket will keep the cold out. And you'll find it less cumbersome to cast.
Winter fishing in cold conditions usually means you'll have the water to yourself – make the most of your time by preparing your gear and enjoy the different conditions and tactics.
Emerging Rivers Guide Service