Now, as I see the leaves quickly turning and the first Winter storms rolling in off the Pacific, I start planning for Winter activities to forestall that gloom from the never ending grey days.
I am particularly concerned this year because I am rehabbing from a surgery that will limit my fishing time for months to come. That will take away one option to beat the Winter Blues: swinging and nymphing flies for Steelhead. But, there is nothing to say I cannot get out and take a walk along the river to watch others and to study the rivers at their low water points and blown out points. A little brisk air will do me good.
Photography without a fish in sight is still an excellent past time and trains your eye to look up and around and not just at your feet cautiously judging the pathway.
Now you could watch old movies, learn parts of a different language, learn to brew beer, raise crickets, take a photography course, do jigsaw puzzles…the list goes on and on, especially if you are house bound. I would suggest clearing off a corner of that table that is occupied by the 1,500 piece jigsaw puzzle and setting up your new fly tying tools. Take that course at a local fly shop, community college, or if too far from a shop or school, watch on line e-books like Tim Rolston’s, and explore the net for excellent how to videos and Step By Step (S-B-S) tutorials.
There is an eventual downside to this fly tying thing. If you don’t Winter fly fish due to weather, ice, snow, rehabbing, life’s struggles then you will become antsy to use your new creations. Tying mayflies in December begs when will those mayflies eventually emerge? Yes, months from now, in many instances. Nonetheless, tie away. Study the images, techniques, pattern pictures and match the image so to speak.
Also, use the Winter to study the why’s of patterns. Why are you tying it? What does it represent? How is it to be presented and why? This will push you toward understanding the habitat of fish foods and in the watersheds and lakes you most often fish. Not all rivers and lakes are equal. Each watershed or lake has its unique habitat and insects etc. On the water time helps answer some of that (or raise many more questions) but you can also find helpful information on line, especially for major watersheds, about hatches and timelines.
That research will help you plan your tying around trips. Fly tying is so much a part of trip planning and part of the anticipation. Will your creations work? Are they good enough to fool wild fish or even planters? Not life and death, just fun. Blow Ye Wind, O Blow
Now, if you are really bored and want to learn Arabic or Quilting or Whittling Wood you can visit this site on beating the Winter Blues….I don’t see Learning Fly Tying on their list…lame. You wouldn’t be here if you didn’t have your priorities properly arranged, so take that course: beginner’s, refresher for a beginner (you took it way back but didn’t continue), an intermediate level class is sometimes offered by shops (make sure the patterns are practical for your probable exploits..by that I mean if you don’t live near the salt and are unlikely to fish for Bones or Trevally, then forgo a class that includes salt water patterns in Idaho or Utah let’s say).
Additional ideas: cooking classes, post holiday exercise classes (I know, you’re a slug), driving your kids to all manner of athletic endeavors on early Saturday mornings, cleaning out the gutters and did you turn off the outside water yet?….I think maybe the cooking classes and brewing beer classes have better merit in the long run to lift your spirits.