What to Do in the Off Season

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Last good fish of the season on the fly

Sometime between my last post and now, the temperatures dropped, the sun slipped away and the open water fishing season came to an end as the lakes and streams around here (semi) slowly froze solid. For many, this is a sad time. A time to pack away the gear, maybe clean out a few boxes of flies or fishing bags, organize things again and maybe even dust off the fly box, should you tie.


It may sound like a sad time, but for me, it’s a time of renewal. A chance to think about the season that just ended–the wins, the losses, the lakes found, the lakes not attempted–and, even better, it’s a chance to think about the upcoming season.

Once the water freezes and I stop wanting to go out fishing as much–and after my gear has been cleaned, organized and put away for a while–I dig out the map books. I’m a map fiend. I just can’t help myself. They are almost as fascinating as getting out there and seeing it for yourself, almost. From now, until the time the ice thaws, I’ll spend hours and hours pouring over these books, plotting out routes, comparing what I’m seeing in the book to what’s on the various satellite imagery out there, I’ll read descriptions of the lakes, descriptions of the roads, I’ll do whatever I can to determine where I hope to go in the upcoming season–of course I’m usually planning about two years ahead, since there are a lot of lakes out there and as much as I may want to hit them all every season, there’s always a few that get missed in favour of something closer or more familiar or even one that offers a better adventure.

I think my obsessive studying of maps is a2016-02-02 10.59.32 poor man’s substitute for getting out there and exploring the world. It doesn’t offer much in the way of relief from the lack of actually being able to get out there and do the exploring myself, but I’ve got a pretty vivid imagination–you kind of have to to be any good at writing–and it helps takes the edge off.

I do other things, as well. I attend fly tying nights, even though I don’t tie much, and I go ice fishing, but, just like flipping through a map book, that only goes so far. The fly

tying nights are probably the most helpful because it’s room full of people who are wishing the ice would hurry up and melt just as much as I would, so there’s no shortage of wishful thinking in that room. It’s also a great way to just meet other anglers and talk about the patterns that work and where they work and it can even lead to meeting new fishing partners, which is always a good thing (you can find out more information about the night here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/447444508768605/ or try asking on local fishing group on Facebook or the web, you can even check at your local fly shop. Sometimes they offer them or know where you can go to find one. Odds are there’s a night near you and, as I said, they’re very worthwhile).The nice thing about this year is that, along with all those other things, I now have this blog. Although it’s sat dormant for a while (I bought a house, got busy with work and spend my days chasing a 1 year old around) it’s also a great outlet for those lack of fishing blues. What I’m hoping, from this point on anyway, is to get back to a regular posting schedule, ideally getting one post a week done. I never have a shortage of things to write about, but until lately, there’s been a shortage of time. So check back often, I’m not sure there’s going to be a specific schedule, as such, but count on one post per week at least until the ice melts again.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, the water calls…


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