On the fly: Winter fishing wisdom
Special to The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
BASALT – There are several fishing guide tricks that winter anglers can employ at this time of year to make their day on the water more successful.
I often find that during cold weather, the key is often just staying warm. Believe it or not, you’ll be warmer in the river than out of the river. Keep in mind that the water temperature on the Fryingpan River hovers around 40 degrees on a year-round basis. Even on the Roaring Fork River, water temperatures will still be around the mid-30s. This is often warmer than the air temperature. We often say that fly fishing in the winter is still warmer than sitting on ski lift or sitting on top of Aspen Mountain.
Dressing in multiple layers under your waders will allow you to regulate your body’s internal thermostat. I like to start with a heavy polyester or merino base layer followed by a mid-weight fleece layer. I will then add a synthetic or down jacket to provide additional insulation. Heavy wool socks, often labeled as mountaineering socks, are best. Small, disposable charcoal activated toe and hand warmers add to the warmth and keep your digits toasty. I find that placing these little guys on top of my socks and over my toes works better than under my toes. Windproof fleece flip-mittens or fingerless gloves along with a stocking cap will help keep your extremities boiling.
All fishing guides carry a small hand towel in the winter to dry their hands after releasing fish. I’ve found a golf towel with a carabineer clip to be the best. Dry hands equates to warm hands. Be diligent enough to take your gloves off when landing and releasing fish. This should be common practice and is better on the fish, so as to not remove their protective coat of slime. Additionally, this will also keep your all-important gloves dry.
The biggest frustration for most winter anglers is keeping their rod, reel and line free of ice. The easiest way to combat your guides from freezing is to fish with a fixed amount of line. Stop by your local fly shop and pick up some ice-off paste to apply to your rod’s line guides. This will help shed water and will keep you in the game longer. Be conscious to not allow your reel to dip into the water to prevent freezing. Nothing is worse than hooking a big fish only to break it off from having a locked-up reel.
Some of our best fishing in the valley occurs during the winter, so don’t be left out in the cold this holiday.
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
Readers around Aspen and Snowmass Village make the Aspen Times’ work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.
Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.
Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.
Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.
User Legend: Moderator Trusted User
Lift-Up has helped feed hungry families in the Roaring Fork Valley for 38 years, but experienced in a surge in demand this year because of the coronavirus pandemic. It is making changes to meet the demand and address allegations of incidents of discrimination.