Insects and other foods the trout may be eating:
2. Little Winter Stoneflies
3. Sculpin, Minnows (Streamers)
Fishing Cold Water - Part 21
I have mentioned that cold weather not only causes the trout to relocate to slower water in a
stream, it also causes most anglers to put their fly rods up until the weather gets nice and warm
again. I call these guys fair weather anglers. While doing such is certainly anyone's personal
option and a choice that's not my place to criticize in any way, I can point out that unlike what
many anglers think, plenty of trout can be caught from cold water.
I think two of the main reasons many anglers don't fish during cold weather is because they either
have tried it and were uncomfortable, or they haven't tried it because they believe they would be
uncomfortable. Getting cold isn't just a matter of having to deal with the elements. Being
uncomfortable hinders your ability to catch fish in two different ways - physically and mentally. It
can affect your ability to present flies effectively, detect strikes, etc., and it can also effect your
confidence. It's natural for a person that's cold to associate their discomfort with the fish.
Years ago, I remember reading magazine articles that said when the temperature drops and the
water gets cold in lakes, the fish would move from shallow water to deeper water that's warmer in
order to remain comfortable. That was a common believe back during the fifties and sixties. Later
it became obvious that the reason fish move to different areas of water in lakes at different times
of the season had nothing to do with the fish being uncomfortable.
The blood of warm blooded animals remains the same temperature irrespective of the
temperature of the air or water surrounding them. Otherwise, they get a "high temperature" or
suffer from "hypothermia" which is just the opposite of a high temperature. When it's cold, they
feel the difference in the temperature of their blood and the temperature of the air or water they
are surrounded with. That's why humans feel cold in cold weather. Fish are cold blooded which
means their blood is basically the same temperature as that of the water surrounding them. They
don't feel cold in the same sense humans feel cold. They are not uncomfortable in cold water.
Certainly trout are not uncomfortable in cold water. Trout are in fact, a cold water species of fish.
The problem with this is that if anglers becomes "cold" and uncomfortable when they are fishing
during cold weather, in spite of how unrealistic it is, they have a strong tendency to think the fish
are similarly affected by the cold and won't eat. Although it shouldn't, it's just a fact it tends to
affect their confidence. When you start losing confidence, you begin to lose your ability to
concentrate. When you lose your ability to concentrate, it greatly lessens your ability to catch
trout. Losing confidence greatly affects your ability to perform well at anything. Self confidence is
a huge key to success regardless of what it is your trying to do.
There's two ways to combat losing confidence when fishing cold water. One and the most difficult
of the two is to just continue to try to disregard the discomforts from being cold and miserable and
try to focus on concentrating. I can remember having to do just that years ago when I was fishing
bass tournaments during the early 1970's. On some occasions I was caught be surprise and not
prepared to dress for the extreme cold and on some occasions I simply didn't have the right
clothing to dress for the cold weather.
The other and by far the best way is to properly dress for the cold weather. Thanks to advances
in clothing fiber technology, that's not a difficult thing to do at this date in time. Not many years
ago, properly dressing for adverse fishing weather wasn't exactly an easy thing to do. I can
remember when the "bass fishing jump suits" first became popular. They were a huge
improvement in being able to cope with cold weather bass fishing. Special helmets similar to
football helmets became a popular way of combating the huge "chill" factor involved with running
a boat at sixty miles per hour in below freezing temperatures.
All of us that love to fly fish for trout should take a few lessons from steelhead anglers. It is very
possible to dress for cold water fishing such that anyone can be perfectly comfortable even
during extreme cold weather conditions. For example, although neoprene waders aren't as stylish
as Simms new breathable waders with splashes of orange or "designer" wading wear, they will
keep you much warmer when wading cold water. Although I'm not necessarily recommending
special undergarments made especially for fly fishers (which aren't any better or in some cases
not even as good as many other cold weather undergarments), you can increase the comfort of
breathable waders by wearing the right clothing underneath the waders.
As probably everyone reading this knows, layers of clothing is the key to coping with the
constantly changing weather conditions. I'm not going to write an article on how to go about
dressing properly for fishing during cold weather. That's not the purpose of this article. You can
find tons of information on how to do that. I'm simply trying to point out that you absolutely must
dress in a way that you remain very comfortable during the time you are fishing in cold
weather if you expect to be very successful. That's 101 fly fishing cold water in cold
Copyright 2012 James Marsh