By Zach Lazzari | Photos by Ryan McSparran
We are a long ways from summer and the anticipation of sunbathing on a wilderness river is a burden. Here are a few ways to get through the winter while preparing for your summer fly fishing and drop float trips.
Fight the Cabin Fever
Cabin fever is a very real thing. Maintain your sanity by getting outside during the winter. Being a multisport person eases the pain when February comes around. Grab some snowshoes, cross country skis or go bomb down a mountain on a snowboard. A little fresh air goes a long ways. There are plenty of winter fishing opportunities for trout and steelhead
Stay fit so you are ready to push through rapids and hike up hills. We all seem to lose a little edge during the winter but regular workouts mean you won’t be huffing and puffing when summer comes around. Consistency is the key here. Hit the rowing machine a few times each week and do a few laps in the pool. This keeps your hands calloused and your rowing muscles tuned. You will also be prepared to swim out of rapids when the time comes. Throw in a stair master to keep your legs fit so you can hike around and explore when the raft is beached.
Take advantage of your downtime to change fly lines, clean and lube reels and patch waders and dry suits. Fix or replace any broken equipment and deal with warranty repairs before it’s too late. You can have everything organized and ready for the new season and be confident when you pack for the big fly fishing trip.
You can cruise through a winter by filling up fly boxes with big streamers and dry flies. Play with different streamer patterns to target bull trout where legal. Try articulated buggers, home invaders and oversized baitfish patterns. Deer hair heads or dumbbell eyes help push water and draw attention to the fly. You can likely get through a single trip with less than a dozen foam dry flies but stock up anyways. Tie hoppers in pink, purple, black, olive and tan. Use rubber legs to add action and foam wings to make them extra buoyant and durable.
Wilderness Fly Fishing and Drop Floats
Here at Lazy J Bar O Outfitters, we offer wilderness fly fishing adventures and drop float trips in the Bob Marshall Wilderness Area. If you’d like to start planning your Montana summer adventure, you can read about the options LazyJBarO.com/Summer. For help getting started, give us a call at 406-932-5687 or contact us online.