Jump to content

 Welcome to FlyTyingForum.com

FlyTyingForum.com is the largest fly tying community in the world and we hope you take a moment to register for a free account and join this amazingly friendly and helpful group of anglers. FTF has over 12,000 registered members that have made over 300,000 posts and have uploaded over 6,000 patterns to our exclusive fly pattern database!

If you are an experienced fly tier or just starting out FTF is the perfect place to call home. Click Here To Register for a Free Account

Fly Pattern Database / Browse by Topics / Browse by Material / Fly Tying Bench Database / Fly Fishing & Tying Videos / FTFCurrent(NEW!)
Featured Products: Fly Tying Hooks / Fly Tying Scissors / Waterproof Fly Boxes

Adjusting to the cold

  • Please log in to reply
11 replies to this topic

#1 ct.custom



  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 13 posts

Posted 07 December 2018 - 11:32 AM

Hello all, i was just wondering how you fellow fly guys adjust to the cold weather and water of the winter. I am located in cape fear North Carolina and right now the water temp is about 55-60... It will literally jump five degrees overnight. 


Trout and red drum are being found pretty regularly right now but I am curious how you guys adapt to the dark cold months ahead. 



#2 tjm


    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 1,314 posts

Posted 07 December 2018 - 12:57 PM

Take vitamin D by the handful and growl a lot. Having grown up at ~6000' in Idaho, I can stand the cold better than the short days.

#3 Philly


    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 1,582 posts

Posted 07 December 2018 - 01:10 PM

Salt water is pretty much done, at least for fly fishing, on the South Jersey coast.  Water temps, the last time I checked, were in the mid to upper 40's.  Fresh water for warm water species is still doable but it requires patience and slow retrieve.  Right now I'm in the tying mode and will be till spring.  If we get a warm spell,  that would be temps in the 50's and a sunny day in December.  In January and February, the mid-40's might get me out to chase some trout on the stocked section of a creek that runs through the property where my local fly shop is located.  One of my fishing buddies wants to do some ice fishing.  That will depend on if we get safe ice which has been a rarity the last few years here in SE PA.

"All things considered, I'd rather be in Philadelphia."

#4 mikechell



  • Super Moderators
  • PipPipPip
  • 14,741 posts

Posted 07 December 2018 - 02:36 PM

Born and raised in Indiana ... I remember toughing out the Winter days.

Dreading the first snows.

Upset at the "drive to work in the dark, drive home in the dark" time change.

Refusing to go outside because the cold cuts right through my clothes, no matter how many layers I put on.

Getting cabin fever after about a week.

Being in a semi-homicidal simmer for the rest of the time until green leaves started to show on the trees.


Now I live in Florida.  Happy as the proverbial clam ... except when my company sends me north for jobs.  <They don't know about my Indiana days, I think.>


All that said, it does cool down, a bit here.  One thing I see quite often is your comment on water temps.  "It will literally jump five degrees overnight."  This is not quite correct.  SURFACE temps can vary that much.  Deeper than an inch or so, and water temps take longer to change.  Find the deeper holes and concentrate on those.  Water temps are more consistent, and the fish can actually hover up and down to find their comfort zone.

Barbed hooks rule!
My definition of work: Doing something in which effort exceeds gain.
Ex-Marine ... quondam fidelis

#5 Flicted


    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 411 posts

Posted 07 December 2018 - 02:41 PM

I adjust to cold weather by tying more flies and ice fishing.

#6 Capt Bob LeMay

Capt Bob LeMay

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 1,553 posts

Posted 07 December 2018 - 02:54 PM

Mike is right on about the difference between surface temps and what the temps are a foot or two under the surface... I get to see it every day on the water..... When my skiff is running on plane the temp sensor is only skimming the surface - when I drop off of plane down to idle the difference in water temps is very apparent - sometimes colder - sometimes quite a bit warmer.  Water holds heat - and in big, shallow open bays the surface can cool down quite a bit - while the rest of the water holds the heat from the day before -or vice versa... On a nice sunny day without much wind water temps in Whitewater Bay (the interior of the Everglades west of Flamingo... Whitewater is ten miles long by six miles wide - everywhere between four and six feet deep in the center...).  In winter I live or die by my water temperature gauge...


Down my way (where 60 weather is a very cold day...) we do make a few adjustments during winter.  We fish a bit slower, the flies are a bit smaller (and darker...) -and we're always looking for places where the sun can warm up a shallow mud bottom since just a degree or two warmer than nearby areas can turn a sheltered warm area into a magnet for everything that swims during winter...

Tight lines Bob LeMay (954) 435-5666

#7 flytire


    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 11,364 posts

Posted 07 December 2018 - 08:37 PM

hat, gloves and a coat


or something in an amber color



The fish care less than we do!

#8 Poopdeck


    You damn kids, get off my lawn!

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 1,817 posts

Posted 07 December 2018 - 09:45 PM

I'll echo what philly said. Right now I'm waiting for the water to get below 32. In the meantime I will rake leaves, put up all my gas engines, get the snowblower ready, put the boats away, wax the smitty sled skis, tie some flies, pour some jigs, furl some leaders and tie others all the while looking out the window and shouting, "enough snow already."

#9 tidewaterfly


    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 3,114 posts

Posted 07 December 2018 - 09:46 PM

CT, I live a little further south in SC. The winter here is like in your area I'm sure, but I'm also inland near the Santee Cooper lakes. I'll get out some, on warmer days, but may not be fishing with fly tackle. Catfish will usually still bite. Fishing is a slower process this time of year, and tossing lures or dunking baits is a lot easier to do than casting flies if I have to wear enough clothing to stay comfortable. I've caught bass in winter conditions on flies, fishing very slow and crawling flies along the bottom, but I have to be in the mood now to do it and as I've gotten older not as inclined.  


Otherwise, I spend my time making lures or tying flies. 


Fortunately, it doesn't usually stay real cold here thru the winter, and we often have days in the 50's & 60's, and sometimes warmer, with it cooling down at night. So, not too hard to tolerate. smile.png

#10 agn54


    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 2,457 posts

Posted 07 December 2018 - 10:01 PM

One thing I have noticed about the fish down here in Florida, at least the redfish and snook, is that on cold but sunny days they tend to like mudbanks, especially black mud. That stuff retains heat pretty well and they seem to gravitate towards it like a space heater. Sinking flies and jigs fished slowly work. I fish a lot of backwater creeks for snook and normally fish the outside curves where the deeper holes are, but on cold sunny days find a lot of them sunning on the inside curve where there is a shallow muddy bank with slow drop off. I spooked quite a few with the jon boat before realizing this. I usually cast the inside curve bank first when approaching and then settle the boat on the bank and fish the outside curve thoroughly. This works well for back creek reds and trout too, though the trout tend to be in the deeper holes more.

#11 Betty


    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 239 posts

Posted 15 December 2018 - 10:00 PM

I'm still fishing for school stripers here in the NJ surf, my bud had one today. Some fish still around small 18" to 27" monster. Any half way decent day and any moving water I'm still going for a little while. Besides this is when my wife gets to talk and catch up since mid-summer. Stripping down flys to save hooks and hourglass eyes, then cull out all flys that did not make the cut.
Fly fishing the surf....adventure at your feet!

#12 cphubert


    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 443 posts

Posted 17 December 2018 - 10:15 PM

Switch to neoprene waders and gloves, when wading fast ice free water I wear inflatable suspenders and use a staff. Keep a change of clothing (sweat pants and top) and towel in the truck just in case. When the slow water gets hard enough then it is time for  the auger and jig flies.