November was fairly mild in the Rocky Mountain region and the fishing was decent. Winter has now officially arrived and I watched slush float down the Clark Fork River this morning. I'd say it's pretty unfishable at the moment as are many rivers in the west. Here are a few ways to pass the time as we wait for things to thaw out.
Tie, Tie and Tie Some More
Hit the fly tying desk and start refilling your boxes. I usually renew my Netflix membership around this time and get busy cranking out flies. I start with the big streamers, nymphs and foam dries. These seem to disappear quickly. Then I move on to the midges and technical stuff. When the trout boxes are looking good, I experiment with some new patterns and crank out some patterns for pike and steelhead. This might be the winter where I really dial down the deer hair poppers.
Time to run through your gear and do some maintenance. Clean reels, replace fly lines, reorganize everything and patch your waders. It's nice knowing that everything is in order when you're ready to get back out there. Cover your boats or store them inside as well. Take measures to make your equipment last.
Take a Trip
There's still opportunity for fish during the winter. Take advantage of discounted cabin rates at a tailwater fishery, head to Pyramid Lake for giant cutthroat trout and howling winds or swing flies for steelhead. If you have the time and money, book a flight to somewhere warm and catch some Vitamin D on the salt flats.
There's nothing worse than sitting inside all day. Find other reasons to get out and enjoy some nature. Ski, snowshoe or sled down a few hills. Move around and get some fresh air to pass the time.