Fishermen are wise to respect Mother
January 19, 2007
Just how important is the winter weather to our fishing? This is a question that I hear from anglers all the time. Living in our region where we have four distinct seasons, weather in general is very important to all of us.Without winter snow, the streams and lakes that we fish will not have an adequate amount of water in them. As a result, fishing opportunities will not be as great without full streams and reservoirs. Water and sustained flows are critical when it comes to good fish habitat.While we cannot call this a poor winter yet, it has been very dry thus far. I cannot remember seeing so little snow by mid January in quite a few years. We could still have some large storms come in later this month and all the way into April, so winter is not over yet.The cold temperatures that we are experiencing this week have a significant impact on fishing opportunities. When it gets this cold, with temperatures below freezing the entire day, even the most ardent anglers tend to think long and hard before going out.Ice fishermen may be the only exception during this most recent cold snap. I watched a number of them fishing Boca over the weekend. There were a good number of them fishing, as well as people ice skating and playing hockey.Fly fishermen, such as myself, have been unable to get out during these freezing temperatures. While we typically fish Pyramid Lake during the winter, typical temperatures during this time are in the mid 40s. As cold as it is now, it is not only uncomfortable but downright dangerous.When the line is freezing as it comes through the guides on your rod and ice is forming on your finger from stripping the line across it, it is no wonder you are feeling cold. The guides also will freeze completely shut in a very short time, and the reel stops turning when it freezes.While your equipment freezes up, just imagine how cold you are getting while standing in water in the low 40-degree range with below freezing air temperatures. Add a slight wind and it becomes unbearable and you should worry about maintaining your body core temperature so you will not become hypothermic. It does not take long in weather this cold!We tend to be pretty hearty soles, but when the temperature never gets above freezing, it is best to stay home and do some other things. Personally, I like to catch up on my fly tying.Fishermen will be keeping their eyes on the weather for the rest of the winter for current and future fishing opportunities. A warm-up to seasonal norms will certainly help current fishing conditions, and some good winter storms that produce some significant snowfall will help next seasons fishing! Lets hope that both of these events occur soon!Bruce Ajari is a Truckee resident and regular fishing columnist for the Sierra Sun and other area newspapers.