Well wintertime is certainly upon us. With record setting snowfalls in the valley or near record high temperatures all in the same week it's enough to send an avid angler into a spiraling fit of depression. The white stuff is either covering our roads, driveways, boat docks and ramps, or we're trudging through the muck and mire, and it looks like once again we're in for a long deprived fishing season. I for one am not looking forward to it. However, I can honestly say for the first time in a long while I am happy to see so much snow return to our mountains to hopefully diminish our drought cycle. With that being said, I'm still not crazy about cold weather, and especially snow in the valley. It's fine if it snows everyday above 5000 feet, but for me I can do without the slippery roads and ice covered rod guides. So over the year's I have slowly put together some diversions to overcome the inversions of winter and help keep away those "cabin fever blues."
A little known and misunderstood disease that renders men seemingly unconscious; lasting for hours where they stair into space like "deer into headlights" mumbling "whoa son," causing them to forget anything and everything that doesn't remind them of fishing. Including but not limited to, anniversaries, birthdays and even weddings, especially if one was so pretentious as to schedule their nuptials during this highly infectious wintertime deprivation period.
First, one must remain calm at all times, remembering that even the slightest glimpse at Saturday morning satellite or cable television featuring those endless fishing programs highlighting good ole' boys catching big ole' fish in some tropical paradise could send a fellow into an instant tailspin. The best approach to take for this occurrence is to simply sell or give away your television, or at the very least cancel your cable. If that seems a little too drastic, then covering it with an old tattered boat tarp and putting a planter on it may help. An angler can only watch so many bowl games before they begin to show signs of fish deprivation by shouting expletives like, "did you see the spiral on the trout he just threw?" Or worse yet, they start cheering for the Miami Sailfish.
Probably the next obstacle to overcome is the taunting monthly fishing magazine that arrives a month early in your ice covered mailbox. Ever wonder about the articles that talk about winter fishin' and everyone in the photos are wearing Bermuda shorts and short sleeve shirts? And if that wasn't enough to send a man into complete despair, what do you suppose is strategically located on every page on that magazine? That's right, all the new lures, rods, reels, boats and "you name it" hit the market this time of year! Just in time for the next big snowfall of the year! Can't imagine why my new casting rod falls short of my expectations when I quickly discover the guides are all iced over. Oh well, I suppose there are far worse things than getting your once in life time levelwind reel for Christmas and not having a chance to hear the drag scream for at least three months, but I just don't seem to be able to recall any just now.
I guess now that I've managed to shed a little light on this debilitating affliction and frustrate everyone including myself, I should offer some alternative approaches to winter-time fishin' in Baja, whoops, that was a slip of the ole' computer keys, I mean in Idaho. Heck, if you're any where in the Northwest you've likely not been having a very productive fishin' experience the last few weeks with all the snow, then more snow, then rain, and with more snow in the forecast who knows? The only saving grace may be that mid-winter phenomenon called the "bluebird days of winter" that usually shows up sometime in late January or February. Now as I recall that's a time worth waiting for, and to get your gear ready for.
I suppose if you absolutely can't stand it, you can brave the weather and test your skills against the wary wintertime bass, or cast a fly for some spooky trout (if you can find some open, clear water). You could even go steelhead pluggin', but even that might prove to be as futile as bass fishing under these conditions. In any case, I'd wait for a bluebird day or three. If they never show up, I guess there is always hooks to sharpen, new line to put on, repairs on rods and reels to do, fishing trips to plan, maps to browse and New Year's resolutions to make. My resolution is to fish more in 2009. No surprise, but this year as soon as the ice is thick enough; I'm going ice fishing. That's right; sit on a bucket, stair in a hole, drink hot chocolate, and wait for the flag to fly!
Oh crap, I just remembered I need to get a fishing license and get my boat registered. Not that I'm going to use my boat ice fishing, but just in case we get some bluebird days and I can find some open water. I probably better get, what's this box doing here? I hope I didn't forget anything else important, like - holy crap when's her birthday? Let's see what was I going to write about next? Well anyway I guess, oh just forget it! I think I'll go sharpen some hooks, now where's my file? Hope the valley snow melts; your fog lifts and drives those "cabin fever blues" away bringing you bluebird days of happiness, and may all your fishin' dreams come true for the New Year, but don't forget - get a license!