Winter Practice

Winter Practice

Carol Northcut | Wednesday, 23 November 2022

Fishing season ended for us November 1, the day we did the burn pile. The storm on November 1 caused a lot of tree damage. At least ten of our trees fell during the storm, five in the driveway, four on either side of the house, two of which hit the roof but caused no damage. The snow was so heavy that many smaller Douglas Fir trees (6”-10” trunks) bent over, some 90 degrees. Some trees snapped midway up the trunk, including one beautiful Larch. We’d just finished the burn pile and thought we were done with bucking, stacking and hauling slash for the year, but the storm cemented our chores for a couple more weeks. The storm was then followed by unseasonably cold temperatures, highs only reaching into the teens (Fahrenheit). So although the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks district we’re in (Region 1) allows fishing in moving water until November 30th, we were done.

So, what do you do? You practice. What makes a person want to practice in the winter? Heavy gloves are hard to get used to.Heavy jackets can be constricting. Your face gets cold, even with a buff. Your head gets cold. You’re not moving around much so your feet get cold standing in the snow. For me, it’s because I know that in order to ever reach my goal, I need to be somewhat disciplined, and because I have to prove to myself I have enough mettle and dedication. I also have to fight the tendency to do what many others my age might do: stay inside all day by the fire and watch TV or read. I have to get outside for the filtered Pacific NW sunlight to fight SAD, to be in the woods, and to have the chance of my favorite white tail deer coming into the yard. It’s a connection with nature that I get on the water. Obviously, I can’t do this every day, but if the temperature is above 23/24 degrees, I try to get out. I also limit the session to 30 minutes. But 30 minutes is enough to focus on a couple of things. The good news is that, unlike where we used to live in Colorado at 9200’, there is little wind. But on the other hand, there’s not the intense UV which can warm you.

So, here’s my gear:

Heated Gloves (depending on the temp)

Sweatpants under ski pants

Sweatshirt under heavy jacket (Carhart® Warmest Jacket) 

Heavy socks

Insulated snow boots 



Fly rod

Measuring tape


And here’s what welcomed me when I went out today.  I mean, REALLY?! You have the whole forest to poop in and you had to go here?


But at least it’s not elephant poop.