I wasn’t built for Winter fishing

December 5, 2011

Stories, Thoughts

Fly FishilishiousWritten by Jen Kugler from Colorado, website –  Fly Fishilicious

It had been 34 days since I last had fish on my hands. Even though I had gone out a couple of times since then, fishing was the game and skunk was its name. The cabin fever was setting in pretty strong again. I finally got a free day this weekend, and as luck would have it, it wasn’t snowing, so I decided to bite the bullet and go do some winter fly fishing.  Especially since a friend said he’d brave the cold too – that helped with the motivation. I didn’t want to be that cold, whiny woman on the river – so I bundled up in a few good layers and set my mind to it. When we got out of the car it was 17 degrees. It didn’t feel so bad. I thought I was doing okay for the first little bit. I even hooked into a fish pretty quickly and promptly lost it – I let the rod tip down. My bad! The cold makes your brain a little fuzzy right? 😉 I ended up rolling a few and bringing two rainbows to hand – finally fish on my hands again – it felt so good!! And no, I didn’t get any fish pictures. I just couldn’t bring myself to get my iPhone out of my pocket. By then I was getting so frozen I was starting to hurt and was even a bit nauseous. Yes, I had become that woman – the shivering had become louder and I may have even squeaked out a few whimpers. I finally took the opportunity to head back to the car and thaw out. I was satisfied. I caught some fish. Yes, I’ll admit it – I wanted to catch some fish – I don’t ENJOY being cold, even though I love winter fly fishing!  There are days when I’m completely at peace and comfortable on the water, but the cold is just not for me. I’m not made for it, literally. It may have crossed my mind that packing on a few more pounds during the holidays could be a good thing…more warmth on the river right?! The high for the day was 23 degrees, my lucky number – and I did feel lucky. Lucky I finally got fish on my hands again and lucky I didn’t die out there! There, I did it. I experienced it, and will probably experience it again when addiction and pull of the fish becomes stronger than my disdain for the cold.

Until next time,

Fly Fishilicious

fly fishilicious

Fly Fishilicious

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25 Responses to “I wasn’t built for Winter fishing”

  1. cofisher Says:

    Jen, you’ve obviously been listening to the wrong people. Cold days like that are made for a glass of wine, a fireplace and another warm body to snuggle next to.

    Reply

  2. Jen - Fly Fishilicious Says:

    cofisher ~ A hot cup of cocoa, a blanket and a warm cat are all I have to snuggle up to. I’m glad I had the Winter ‘experience’ but I don’t think that’s going to happen too often! 😉

    Reply

  3. Brandon Says:

    Trout fishing for me has always meant Stage 1 hypothermia.
    Wear more clothes.

    Reply

  4. Jen - Fly Fishilicious Says:

    Brandon – It’s the wet hands that is the worst when it’s this cold. It’s almost as if you’re hoping NOT to catch a fish so you don’t have to freeze your hands off!

    Reply

  5. GBA Says:

    Yeah, winter fly fishing here in Colorado is actually a freakin great atmosphere. Calm, way brisk, no pressure, occasional sippers, beautiful scenery. Did I say brisk?? Days like yesterday, is when you practice your LDR’s so you don’t have to get your hand in the water (and then out). I remember walking away from my truck a couple years ago to a spot on the Dream when my partner and I looked at each other 10 steps out of the truck and simultaneously said “what are we doing?” It was 10 degrees. We ended up slaying them. Good job Jen!

    Reply

    Jen - Fly Fishilicious Reply:

    GBA – I did a few LDRs – you’re right, perfect time for those!

    Reply

  6. The River Damsel Says:

    Sorry you got the shiver!! :( At least you tried it and caught your fish…I’m going out tomorrow…call me brave or call me…yeah.

    Reply

    Jen - Fly Fishilicious Reply:

    The River Damsel – Go get em, tell me how it goes!

    Reply

  7. Doug Says:

    Entertaining article, nice job! The little brother in “The Christmas Story”? That’s what you need, and hand warmers, lots of hand warmers.

    Reply

    Jen - Fly Fishilicious Reply:

    Doug – Handwarmers, and toe warmers and body warmers – how about a fire right next to me?!

    Reply

  8. Patrick Says:

    Ive always found fly fishing in winter, magical.
    It’s not for the thin skinned for sure.There’s also a great chance of having a whole river to yourself as well!

    Reply

    Jen - Fly Fishilicious Reply:

    Patrick – This is true. No shortage of space on the river!

    Reply

  9. Brian Koz Says:

    My wife and I got out last Friday, it was mid twenties, her feet did not last very long. I fully believe in the theory there is no bad weather, only bad clothes. You guys certainly have been getting our share of the fluffy white stuff, but with new water open this year with changed regulations, I am hitting the water until all my guides ice up and I can’t handle the brutal cold anymore. Then it will be ice-fishing~ entirely different ball of wax. Layer up, I know you have some quality apparel, but one cannot overstate the importance of a good base layer and multiple layers of cold weather gear> being miserable on the water is no fun, even when you are cathing a few>
    tight Lines~

    Reply

    Jen - Fly Fishilicious Reply:

    Koz – I had a few quality layers on, but I think I need even more – or a polar bear suit might be nice! :)

    Reply

  10. mike nutto Says:

    Well you need to find out why you are cold and add whatever it is you need to get out there ,props to you for fishing in the cold

    Reply

    Jen - Fly Fishilicious Reply:

    Mike – Thx. My hands were the worst. I had some nice gloves on, but I had to keep taking the mitten part off to work my line or get the fish. With a little help, I’m sure I’ll figure this Winter stuff out sooner or later!

    Reply

  11. Sanders Says:

    Jen- Good stuff! Glad you got to see a fish or two…even if the shivering could be heard up and down the Front Range…two things that have always done me well are, a good pair of long johns and a full flask (booze of your choice)

    Cheers

    Reply

    Jen - Fly Fishilicious Reply:

    Sanders – I forgot my flask 😉

    Reply

  12. Mom Says:

    You’re a nut! You have to figure out how to keep your hands warm. Hand warmers and keep them dry.

    Reply

    Jen - Fly Fishilicious Reply:

    Mom – Stocking stuffers huh? :)

    Reply

  13. Matt Smythe Says:

    You’ll never go wrong taking at least one trip out in that kind of cold. Especially if they’re biting.
    Nice post, Jen.

    Reply

    Jen - Fly Fishilicious Reply:

    Matt – I love adventure, so I’m sure at some point I’ll brave it again – and be prepared!

    Reply

  14. FlyFishingCrazy Says:

    Jen.. Outstanding article! Don’t worry about becoming “that woman”, all fly fishermen are subject to the cold.
    Now here is a tip for the cold hands. Pin a hand towel to the top of your shoulder (on vest or jacket). Wear the full finger wool gloves and when you land a fish, pull the gloves off, stuff in pocket, land and release then reach over your shoulder, pull the towel to the front and dry your hand(s), then get those still warm gloves back on. DRY is the key. DRY,DRY,DRY!
    I struggled with freezing hands until I learned to dry them right away and get my hand(s) back into the warm gloves as quickly as possible. It got to be such a habit that I forgot to unpin the towel even in the summer. It was a permanent part of my vest. OBTW, an extra pair of wool gloves and dry socks in your vest or pack is always good planning.

    Reply

    Jen - Fly Fishilicious Reply:

    Great tip – towel – keep em dry – got it! :)

    Reply

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