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It is Getting Cold – Are You Going Fly Fishing?

It is getting cold out. Although the calendars say “fall,” the thermometers say “winter.” More importantly, the frost on the windows and the  chill that finds its way through jackets are saying “winter.”

So, are you going to go fly fishing?

Excuses and reasons alike have the tendency interfere with even the most ardent angler’s plans. Time is hard enough to deal with, let alone the discomfort of being cold. And then there is the ice. There are real dangers. The truth is that the fishing is slower. But mostly, it is all about not being as comfortable as one would be during April hatches or August striper runs.

State regulations may limit your options. Ice, again, might physically impede you from fishing as you’d like. Chances are, there are still plenty of places to go fishing. Tailwaters and spring creeks. Heated discharges and seams of warm ocean water. If one is flexible, setting the fly rod aside for an auger and an ice fishing pole works just fine too.

The fishing itself is going to need to change. That might be the hurdle that is more difficult to get over than finding open water. Although there are always exceptions to the rule, the fishing is going to be lower, slower, and will require more patience. Just because it is cold doesn’t mean that fish aren’t going to eat. Just because it is cold doesn’t mean that they can’t be fooled into eating flies.

Be honest. It isn’t the fish that don’t want to play ball.

Mornings are hard regardless of the temperature. Knots can be difficult to manage even when fingers are totally operational. Discomfort from being wet can occur throughout the year, but being cold and wet is a completely different and vastly more unpleasant experience.

Then there is the slow fishing. While this point could be expanded upon, with valid anecdotal evidence and even biological data, it is beside the point. Slow fishing is better than no fishing. Fishing is the point. Fly fishing in the late fall, winter, and early spring does have its fair share of difficulties. Most are not insurmountable; few are worth staying inside for.

Another layer of fleece and a thermos of hot coffee will help.  Hitting the water at the perfect time, when the fish are willing to participate, certainly makes things easier. Just being out there is the most important part. The fish  caught will probably outweigh the bitter winds, numb fingers, and chapped face. The feeling of accomplishment – of going fly fishing, conditions notwithstanding – will do a lot, too.

It is getting cold out.  Are you going to go fly fishing?


  1. My advanced age and health prevent me from Winter fishing. Of course, When I was younger, my young age and unwillingness to get out of bed prevented Winter fishing. Luckily I’ve got a lot of fishing related hobbies that keep me from going stir crazy. I collect old Wright & Mcgill fiberglass fly rods and catalogs dating to 1951, fly tying, collecting old Orvis fly reels and cleaning our toilets every Sunday. Have fun, I’ll be thinking of you Matthew!

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