Let’s preface this by saying that winter fishing is not for everybody. It’s cold, really cold. Crowley produces an inversion that makes Long Valley around 20 degrees colder than in the town of Mammoth. For example, January 5th, 7am, I took a drive to Hot Creek where it was -3F and Mammoth was 16F.
Ice coated sagebrush lined the trail from the parking lot down to the water. The terrain transformed overnight into a frosty landscape. Setting up a fly rod in frigid temperatures is it’s own feat. Ideally one would have gloves, or the back of a truck to rig up, but down by the water I had to focus every ounce of warmth I had preserved so that my hands wouldn’t fumble and drop my barbless fly. Simms makes a few gloves that are great for quick rig changes. The ExStream Foldover Mitt, pictured below, is great for this sort of thing. Come by the shop or give us a call to check these out!
The other issue you will face while winter fishing is ice, and lots of it. Stripping line in will cause guides to freeze almost instantly. But don’t fret! There is a cure for this! Loon makes a great product called “Stanley’s Ice Off Paste”. It is a non-toxic anti-freeze paste for lines and guides to help keep them from freezing, even when temperatures are dipping below 0. Most people who have been fishing for a long time have figured out which accessories they like to carry and keep it to the bare essentials. Loon’s Ice Off Paste is one of the products that is ALWAYS in every pack and vest I own, it’s small enough to throw in my pocket or can be attached to a zinger by the ring that is built into it. You can find Ice Off Paste and other
If you’ve never experienced it and you happen to be in Mammoth Lakes to ski our beautiful mountains, stop by the shop and we’ll give you the lowdown on current conditions. Frigid or not, fishing in the “off-season” is always an adventure and the fishing is great!