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Cold Weather Fishing

by Gary Melzer
03/31/13 Schmidt Outfitters

Spring steelhead season is in full swing and the adrenalin is flowing. With all the excitement that comes with this type of spring fever, the range of weather conditions anglers can experience are sometimes forgotten. The temperature can vary from single digits to upwards of 80 degrees (think spring 2012), and with wind, rain, snow, and sleet thrown in, it can be trying and even uncomfortable at times. But we all endure these conditions whatever they may be, since steelhead fishing is an obsession many of us share.

There are some things to consider before a person makes the trip to our area in early spring or late fall. The weather can change in a very short time from one extreme to another. Layering of clothing is the best formula, starting with a base layer and adding to it. As the saying goes, you can always remove a piece of clothing, but you can't add it if you didn't bring it to start.

I personally carry extra gloves and rain gear in my boat. There have been times I have shortened the day due to clients coming unprepared for spring weather conditions.

In early spring, anglers have to be aware not only of the weather, but the water temperature of the stream they are fishing as well. It will generally be five to ten degrees cooler on the water just from the fact that most streams are in the 40 degree range in the spring season. If you are wading, two pairs of socks is a must. A base layer pair of wicking socks then a good quality pair of wool or heavy synthetic socks works the best.

The best thing to do when the bug hits you and the steelhead are running is to plan for all conditions that may occur, from t-shirt weather to whiteout conditions. That way, you will be comfortable and enjoy a great day of fishing.