5 ways to get through the Winter Blues of fly fishing

It's January, and the cold Winter blues have hit many of us.  Not much daylight, cold weather, and frozen water keeps many of us from enjoying the joys of fly fishing.  Here's a few ways to get through the Winter months.

1. Go Fishing!

Yes you can still go fishing in the Winter months.  This seems pretty straight forward but if you haven't done it, it's a must do.  There are a few things you should prepare for before you to. 

First, is dress warm.  Layer up under those waders.  Eliminate cotton and stick to any moisture wicking base layer with wool overtop.  In my years of fishing cold weather, this is the best recipe. 

Second, find liquid water.  Unless you're bringing an auger (still tough to fly fish in), you want some flowing water.  Good places to start looking are tailwater fisheries (dam releases that keep water flowing), spring creeks and warmer waterways to find water that hasn't frozen over. 

Enjoy the peace and quiet of nature in the winter.  You'll also have a good chance of being alone.  Not many people are visiting the water during the Winter months so you can have the stream all to yourself.  


2. Tie some flies

If you haven't learned to tie flies, now is the time.  This is a great part of fly fishing that helps keep you involved in the off times of the sport.  There's a ton of reasons to tie flies.  You get to have fun making your own flies.  Catching fish on something you have made is a blast.  Once you hone your skills, you can also get creative and start making your own patterns or tweaking existing ones to fit your needs.  You can also save a TON of money by tying flies.  Wait... no you can't.  Ignore that part.

If you don't tie flies there's a few ways to start.  My best advice is to get started by being taught by a good fly tyer, join a class, or watch some good step by step videos or a book.  There's not a ton needed to get started into tying but getting the basics down is key.  Don't go grabbing some cat fur, yarn from an old blanket and a feather from your pillow to make some crazy fly up.  Learn the basics, tie known patterns, follow a recipe, and hone your skills.  You'll be tying flies that can be used well and catch fish in no time.  If you don't know what to tie first, go to your local fly shop.  Tell them what flies you want to tie and have them help you pick out all the materials for that pattern.  Do this instead of just walking in and buying all the random things you see and throwing them together.  For instance, you want to tie a pheasant tail nymph.  You'll need some thread, a nymph hook, wire, pheasant tail and peacock herl.  Buy those materials and go home and tie this exact same fly about a dozen times.  This will help you get better with each fly you tie and make improvements.



3. Organize your gear

If you're anything like me, after a few trips, your gear is just a disaster.  It's thrown about in a random tote or 3, flies and split shot everywhere, broken tackle shoved in a pocket, fly boxes are a mess, etc.  Spend a day or 3 and lay everything out to assess the damages.  Throw out old busted up flies or gear.  Reorganize your fly boxes.  Repair leaky waders.  Replace old cracked fly lines.  Clean off your old gear and give it some life like greasing up those reels or repairing the cork on your rod grips.  Keeping up on your organization helps make your future trips that much easier.  Everyone hates looking around last minute for that piece of gear while they're getting ready for a day on the water.  Fix that now so you can enjoy your future trips.


4. Scout

There's tons of ways to find new spots for next season.  Anything from physical maps like a Delorme Atlas, to digital maps, driving by the stream, or apps like troutroutes or onXhunt.  Fishing new water is always a great goal to add to your calendar every year.  Finding that hidden gem, fishing a whole different area that you've never been to, or just knowing a peice of water that you already fish that much better.  Get out there and scout some new water so you can enjoy it that much more when Spring rolls around.  Even go strap on some hiking boots and just walk the stream to see how it looks now so you can approach it better when the fishing is better.

5. Relax

It's stinking cold out side!  Relax, take it easy and wait for the better times.  Read a good fly fishing book.  Either to entertain you or teach you something new.  Watch some good fly fishing videos on Youtube.  Some of our favorites are Huge Fly Fisherman, McFly Angler, The New Fly Fisher, Wild Fly Productions, Allegheny Native and more.  Look at old pictures of great trips, share stories with your fishing buddies and just wait for that beautiful Spring weather to roll right around the corner with bugs hatching and fish rising.  It'll be here before you know it!


If these 5 things don't help get you through the dreary Winter months then move some place warm!  As always, if you need any gear or assistance in prepping for your next day on the water, check out our website here or reach out to us in the shop.  We are always here to help.

Risen Fly Fishing


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