Came across some photos from a winter fishing trip a few years ago on the BaldRiver and, since we’re moving into the winter fishing season, I thought I would post them. The Bald is a beautiful little trib of the TellicoRiver and I love fishing there. The water temp that day was around 33 degrees, the air temp considerably less than that, and as might be expected, the fishing was a bit slow. We only caught one trout that day between the three of us. Still one of my favorite trips of the year though. The company was good and the scenery spectacular.
Anyway, about this winter fishing. I love it – the fair-weather fishermen are gone and solitude is easy to find; the rivers are full and the color of slate, their banks all glittered up with frost or snow; you can feel the freezing air hit the bottom of your lungs with every breath. It’s awesome.
Anyway, about this winter fishing. I hate it – your wading boots freeze solid or get all gunked up with snow and next thing you know you’re walking on what are essentially blocks of solid ice; your fingers hurt the whole time; your legs stop working if you wade in above your knees; the guides on the rod freeze up about every thirty seconds. It’s hell.
(And yeah, I know – all you guys from places like Montana and upstate Michigan are saying “What a bunch of wusses”. Before you go too far with that, come hang out with us down here for a few days in the dead air of a mid-August heat wave.)
So it’s a love-hate deal. The pros of course far outweigh the cons. And to be honest some of my best fishing days have been in absolutely miserable weather. I once caught two 18 inch rainbows on back-to-back casts on the Hiwassee river in 20 degree weather in a sleet storm. Two 18 inch rainbows in a season on the Hiwassee isn’t too shabby. Catching two in the same day, and on consecutive casts no less, well, that was a great day. The largest striper I have caught, a 32 inch beast, nailed a Whistler on a cold snowy morning about an hour before sun-up. I can think of a hundred other similar winter trips.
Plus there's the satisfaction of knowing you’re one of the hard-core guys, braving the elements come what may, while your Nancy-boy fishing buddies are at home wrapped up in their Snuggies and sipping warm milk toddies. The pansies.