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Try Some Winter Fly Fishing

Published by Dave Kile [dkile] on 01/21/2013 (3326 reads)
Winter Fly Fishing - what do I do?

This winter has started off pretty mild for most in the region and there are plenty of fly fishing options right now. I am sure with this post I will jinx it for everyone, but let's just go with it anyway. Usually after the last NFL conference game I hear those dreaded words, "Isn't it about time you start cleaning up the basement?" That's the time I buy a new fishing license and break out my map.

Winter Fly FishingWhere
No secrets, but there are plenty of streams across the region that are open year-round that are often stocked in the fall or have naturally reproducing trout. Some really good opportunities can be found in the limestone spring feed streams too. They generally hold good water temperatures and some of the more challenging fly fishing opportunities. Take a little time and do some research for something new there are plenty of places to explore here in the forums!


When
Any day works as compared to moving your old soccer trophies in the basement. No sense waiting for that late evening sulphur hatch because that ain't gonna happen. On mild winter days your best bet is late morning through mid-day. Trout are going to be the most active when they get a chance to warm up a little (whatever that means when the water is 47 degrees). Certainly it will not be at the crack of dawn so a little sun on the water often helps, but not required.

Flies
If you are lucky on a warm day you may find a BWO hatch or some stone flies coming off. This is rare and will only happen on the warmest of days. So most of your time you spend chucking some lead. Everybody has their favorites and truly it depends on the stream. My approach to each stream is a little different. I often start with some streamers or woolly buggers. For stocked streams I like san juan worms, bead head nymphs and dare I say the dreaded green weenie when I get desperate (after standing in cold water that happens sooner than I like). For limers I might try more natural looking and smaller nymphs like walt's worm, pheasant tail and zebra midges. Do some experimenting.

Staying Warm
So it is pretty simple and this has been told to you plenty of times - Layers, layers and layers: Wool socks, wool hat and fingleress gloves are a must. Use a lightweight wickable base layer that will keep you dry. Winter Fly FishingAvoid cotton layers as they retain moisture and keep you cold. Add warm mid layers and outer shell or jacket that will break the wind. Try your gear on before and make sure it works. I almost busted a gut this year after the the holiday fattening season trying to fit into my neoprenes. I don't know who the jerk was that bought them, but the damn things must have shrunk or something. Throw some extra layers in the car just in case. There is a huge difference in taking a winter walk for one hour in 45 degree weather and standing in a stream that is 45 degrees. For me it is all about keeping my feet warm. I try to move about and stand on the edge of the stream every 20 minutes.

If you find the fishing slow you can get some time in scouting for some new fishing locations or just go home and move boxes from one wall to the other?

PS - leave a note, bring a blanket, food, and water. The last thing I need on my conscious is that you read this post and went fishing, got your arm stuck in a boulder or worse yet trapped in the Rathskeller in State College and didn't come home safely. Finally, as we have learned in our history classes about the Donner Party, bring along a friend, it never hurts.







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Author Thread
dubthethorax
Published: 2013/1/22 9:05  Updated: 2013/1/22 9:05
Joined: 11/24/2010
From: Perkasie PA
Comments: 957
 Re: Try Some Winter Fly Fishing
Great post.
McSneek
Published: 2013/1/22 9:29  Updated: 2013/1/22 9:30
Joined: 04/12/2011
From: Lancaster Co.
Comments: 1129
 Re: Try Some Winter Fly Fishing
Great post Dave - especially the P.S. comments and the picture of the kid illustrating the importance of layers in the winter! Hope you make this an annual feature when the thermometer dips into the teens like it is now.
dkile
Published: 2013/1/22 13:08  Updated: 2013/1/22 13:08
Webmaster
Joined: 09/08/2006
From:
Comments: 4453
 Re: Try Some Winter Fly Fishing
When I started writing the post it was in the 40's and kinda nice, when it goes live the temps go Arctic. Hope to see it get nice again next week.
JackM
Published: 2013/1/23 15:56  Updated: 2013/1/23 15:56
Moderator
Joined: 09/09/2006
From: Monessen, PA
Comments: 22233
 Re: Try Some Winter Fly Fishing
Dave, nice blog post. I think that the cold weather numbs our brains. Did I spell "numbs" correctly. I want to sleep until March.
PennypackFlyer
Published: 2013/1/24 10:55  Updated: 2013/1/24 10:55
Joined: 07/06/2011
From: Philadelphia PA
Comments: 1492
 Re: Try Some Winter Fly Fishing
Great post.....
Staying warm:
I would like to add that if you have to do a long hike in to that fishing hole, remove at least one layer (outer) of clothing, bring and carry extra socks and extra clothing. (Hiking and sweating in the cold can be a problem because once you stop hiking you still have all that moisture to deal with. With jackets and waders on, it has no place to go.) Once you get to the area you plan on fishing----change them socks, then put on your other clothing, waders, etc. I know that it's a pain to carry all that gear - but it is much better/safer to be dry while your fishing.
Stagger_Lee
Published: 2013/1/24 16:00  Updated: 2013/1/24 16:00
Joined: 03/22/2012
From: Couldn't Care Less
Comments: 5477
 Re: Try Some Winter Fly Fishing
dkile .. nice post but
Quote:
I am sure with this post I will jinx it for everyone,

Gorosaurus
Published: 2013/1/25 14:03  Updated: 2013/1/25 14:03
Joined: 05/06/2011
From: Harrisburg
Comments: 456
 Re: Try Some Winter Fly Fishing
The Donner Party references reminds me that I need to make bigger friends.

I MEAN BETTER FRIENDS. better. But big is fine.



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