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Winter Fly Fishing


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Iowa had open season throughout the winter months. I never fished it but a fishing buddy of mine fished there quite a bit in winter. As long as weather permitted.

    That young guy was a seriously dedicated fly bum, I'm talking Hardcore.

For a long time I wore felt soled wading boots and they have some serious drawbacks in winter. One; they aren't very good traction wise on snow covered stream banks. Two;  mud, particularly clay accumulated and stuck like barnacles to the felt soles, And lastly snow, you know the stuff you try to walk on to avoid gluing more mud packed tight to the already 25 pound wading boots on your feet. Yep that snow seems to just leap onto and cling to the wet adobe wonders you are trying to walk in.

    Only one solution. Hobble back to the water and get those frozen feet washed off. Repeat drill until you become proficient.

 

 

 

 

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I spend my winters here. Haven’t run into any snow or ice yet.

I got out (garden state no less) with my grouse hunting buddy and picked up my first trout in 2021.  They were refusing pretty much everything till about noon and then we had some pretty good fishing

March 2020, North Umpqua River, Oregon winter run native Steelhead.

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22 hours ago, Spin said:

Iowa had open season throughout the winter months. I never fished it but a fishing buddy of mine fished there quite a bit in winter. As long as weather permitted.

    That young guy was a seriously dedicated fly bum, I'm talking Hardcore.

For a long time I wore felt soled wading boots and they have some serious drawbacks in winter. One; they aren't very good traction wise on snow covered stream banks. Two;  mud, particularly clay accumulated and stuck like barnacles to the felt soles, And lastly snow, you know the stuff you try to walk on to avoid gluing more mud packed tight to the already 25 pound wading boots on your feet. Yep that snow seems to just leap onto and cling to the wet adobe wonders you are trying to walk in.

    Only one solution. Hobble back to the water and get those frozen feet washed off. Repeat drill until you become proficient.

 

 

 

 

...and when those felt soles freeze...there is just about zero friction between the sole of your boot and any ice you may step on.  It's like a fat, heavy ice skate, without the grace and speed...

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  • 2 weeks later...

Great pics, and it looks like whatever you are doing is working.

Nice looking reel, may I ask what kind it is?  It looks close enough to Paul Herman's work to pique my curiosity.

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Doubles in Oregon
2 hours ago, Geoff Roznak said:

Great pics, and it looks like whatever you are doing is working.

Nice looking reel, may I ask what kind it is?  It looks close enough to Paul Herman's work to pique my curiosity.

 

Geoff,

 

Thank you for the kind words.

The reel is a Saracione-Bellinger. It was made, in Oregon, some years ago.

The two makers collaborated on a total of 200 limited edition reels in a variety of sizes.

The reel illustrated in the enclosed link is a 3 3/4" model

My reel is a 4" model. It is numbered under the reel seat as #25.

I like the reel because it has a very reliable disc drag.

Such a drag is very helpful in dealing with strong fish in heavy winter flows.

I think the reel follows a design pattern that has been favored by many high quality reel makers over the years.

 

https://www.spinozarods.com/products/saracione-bellinger-salmon-reel-3-34

 

 

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@Doubles in Oregon

Thanks for the link, that's a very nice looking reel, classic style.

It caught my eye because Paul Hermann was a friend.  He was a surgeon who took up making reels as a hobby.  He made every one by hand, from scratch, using his own design.

Spinoza has one of his reels listed, and a brief story about Paul: https://www.spinozarods.com/collections/paul-hermann-reels

Here's another example: https://www.vintageflytackle.com/collections/paul-hermann-reels

 

...and a bit more about Paul: https://bangordailynews.com/2010/12/10/news/keeping-it-reel/?

What you say about the drag is very true, and something that we don't have to deal with much here.

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traveller2926

Merry Christmas...  

 

No better time  for fly fishing than being in the front of a drift boat with a 9’ 7# rod and articulated steamers while on a tail water wearing Muck Boots, multiple layers of fleece and hand warmers close by hand.  
 

Second best...  in the rowers seat with heavy mittens with your hands on the oars.

 

Oh, don’t forget the flask filled with the appropriate antifreeze!

 

Watch out for ice on the put-ins or take-outs.
 

And, more Orvis rods than my wife knows about.

 

Best...

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Doubles in Oregon
9 hours ago, Geoff Roznak said:

@Doubles in Oregon

Thanks for the link, that's a very nice looking reel, classic style.

It caught my eye because Paul Hermann was a friend.  He was a surgeon who took up making reels as a hobby.  He made every one by hand, from scratch, using his own design.

Spinoza has one of his reels listed, and a brief story about Paul: https://www.spinozarods.com/collections/paul-hermann-reels

Here's another example: https://www.vintageflytackle.com/collections/paul-hermann-reels

 

...and a bit more about Paul: https://bangordailynews.com/2010/12/10/news/keeping-it-reel/?

What you say about the drag is very true, and something that we don't have to deal with much here.

 

Geoff,

 

I really enjoyed the article from the BDN.

It's a fascinating story and speaks to the talent, ingenuity, and ability of your friend.

Between his medical practice and reel building he must have been a very busy guy.

I use a variety of Hardy reels for summer runs, on the North Umpqua, but when the big winter fish arrive--

the Saracione-Bellinger gets the call.

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My advice (like Traveller’s) is to fly fish from a drift boat during the winter.  I like wearing the same stuff that I wear during ice fishing (floating bibs and jacket).  I wear Mickey Mouse boots (white are the warmest) and have three pair of gloves with liners (they will get wet even if waterproof) that I take.  

 

Once your inner core gets cold, game over and head to shore.  I like to do half day trips during the coldest days. Need an extra long winch strap for the drift boat when the launch is snowy and icy.

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Dave in Maine

If you get a warm for January day you can get some real midge action going on the surface and indulge your dry-fly urges.  My experience is overcast and calm, but warm for January, is going to be better than sunny.  Breeze will make it even harder.  

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On 12/24/2020 at 9:24 AM, traveller2926 said:

Merry Christmas...  

 

No better time  for fly fishing than being in the front of a drift boat with a 9’ 7# rod and articulated steamers while on a tail water wearing Muck Boots, multiple layers of fleece and hand warmers close by hand.  
 

Second best...  in the rowers seat with heavy mittens with your hands on the oars.

 

Oh, don’t forget the flask filled with the appropriate antifreeze!

 

Watch out for ice on the put-ins or take-outs.
 

And, more Orvis rods than my wife knows about.

 

Best...

We bump that up to a 10 or 12 wt., and 12" flies for musky, but same idea.

Far too cold here the last couple days, hopefully next week sometime.

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On 12/24/2020 at 11:34 AM, Thunder Bay said:

My advice (like Traveller’s) is to fly fish from a drift boat during the winter.  I like wearing the same stuff that I wear during ice fishing (floating bibs and jacket).  I wear Mickey Mouse boots (white are the warmest) and have three pair of gloves with liners (they will get wet even if waterproof) that I take.  

 

Once your inner core gets cold, game over and head to shore.  I like to do half day trips during the coldest days. Need an extra long winch strap for the drift boat when the launch is snowy and icy.

I go with waders, heavy fleece liners, warm longies, and waterproof, wind proof top layers.

If something dumb happens and I go over the side, I want the best chance of staying dry possible.

 

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Fishing the winter stuff is great fun.  I did it bck in Jersey and now do it out here over in MO and AR.  I really am a dry fly person but you can catch some killer fish over there with nymphs and streamers.  The browns on the White, Norfork and the Missouri waters really show well on those "half chicken" articulated streamers.  The down side is it take a pretty stout rod to throw them and a sink tip line.

 

However, I have had some luck with an Orvis impregnated bamboo 8'6" rod throwing a 6 wt. Line and a Scott 7wt throwing a 7 wt line, with smaller versions of those articulated streamers.  Just have to work at it but what the heck its still fly fishing.

 

I would really like to get back to Jersey and fish "The Gorge" during the winter.

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