For many, fly fishing for trout in the winter means heading south ... way south, as in Argentina or New Zealand. For the rest of us on realistic budgets, if we want to catch trout during the colder months, we have to bundle up.
Here in Idaho, winter fly fishing is a chilly endeavor, and proof that neoprene waders still serve a purpose. Throughout America's trout country, fly fishing for trout during the winter months is more than doable with a few precautions and a somewhat steely constitution.
I hit the Henry's Fork of the Snake River yesterday, and when I parked my truck at the river's edge, the thermometer read an icy 16 degrees. This meant I'd be enduring a few challenges as the day went on, including:
- Iced up guides
- Icy fly line
- A frozen reel
- Cold feet and hands
- Frigid water
While it would be easy to take these things for granted, preparing in advance is the key to making an outing like this all the more comfortable. For instance, when I hit the water during the colder months, I dress in layers, which allows me to remove or add clothing if the weather improves or gets worse.
Some other ideas to make winter fly fishing more enjoyable:
- Neoprene waders (of course!)
- Fingerless gloves
- Wading boots, with studs (falling into an icy river is no fun, and can be very dangerous)
- Good headwear
- Sunscreen (even in winter, the sun still burns)
- Polarized sunglasses
- Tenkara rod (no more iced up guides, and Tenkara USA is a 1% for the Planet contributor to TU!)
Don't let cold weather push your fly fishing gear to the back of the closet. Just take some basic precautions, plan ahead and get out on the water. Chances are, you'll be by yourself, and you might surprise yourself with the quality of fishing. Enjoy.