Winter is here, as are colder temperatures, midge hatches and plenty of eager fish.
While some might perceive fly fishing as strictly a summertime activity, the winter season yields some remarkably good fishing opportunities.
To be successful this time of year, there are several tricks that winter anglers can employ to make the day on the water more comfortable.
I often find that during cold weather, the biggest key is just staying warm.
Keep in mind that the water temperature on the Fryingpan River hovers around 40 degrees on a year-around basis, thus it's often warmer to be in the water than out of the water.
Even on the Roaring Fork River, water temperatures will still be around the mid-30s.
We often joke that fly fishing in the winter is still warmer than sitting on a ski lift and shredding the "pow" 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, synthetic polyester or merino base layer followed by a midweight 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.
Ski socks are often much thinner and offer less insulation.
Small, disposable charcoal-activated toe and hand warmers add to the warmth to 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.
Carry a small hand towel to dry your 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.
To make my day on the river even more soothing, I always like to pack a thermos or two loaded with hot soup and tea or coffee.
It's amazing what a little hot liquid can do for your soul on those cold days.
Some of our best fishing in the valley occurs during the winter, so don't be left out in the cold this holiday.
- This report is provided every week by Taylor Creek Fly Shops in Aspen and Basalt. Taylor Creek can be reached at (970) 927-4374 or taylorcreek.com.