Saturday, December 12, 2009


There is cold, damn cold, hell has frozen over cold and then there is SE Idaho, which still isn't as cold as Stanley ID (consistently the coldest spot in the lower 48) or even West Yellowstone (a close second). The last week we have been seeing double digit negative temps at night and single digits above during the day. That is not counting wind chill.

So last Saturday Chad and I had the bright idea to head out bright and early to the SF. This was the first days of the cold snap and so the river was not iced hardly at all... contrast that with when I drove over Lorenzo bridge Thursday...... well after a week of sub 0 nights the river looked like a slushie.

The air temps must have been like 6-7 above but with the howling wind, it sounded like a jet taking off as it tore through the cottonwoods, it must have been -15. It was the coldest I have ever been while fishing even though I have fished with colder temps, just never with a bitter wind like that.

The good news is we caught fish. A good number of brown trout sitting deep in a hole. Didn't see any fish on redds. It was so cold that the ice that usually accumulates in the guides froze on the line faster then you could strip it in through the guides... hence not too many solidified guides. The fish weren't huge, but they were plentiful. They must have been a little sluggish from the cold as they didn't fight incredibly hard.

Chad took a nasty spill on the way back on the one chunk of ice on the river. The felt on my boots would freeze solid as I walked so I was skating over the rocks. Chad also broke his tip clearing out the ice. But still a good trip. I contemplated going out again today as it is warmer....... but decide against it.


mike doughty said...

this is the first year i haven't been enthused about winter fishing. i think the older i get the less i am willing to tolerate the cold

jabberwock said...

I usually fish as much or more through the winter as I do summer, but it has been exceptionally cold. This cold and the only water where the fish are active is right below the dam where the water temps stay constant. Otherwise they are hiding as deep as possible. Looking for some blue bird days out on the Big Lost with big bwo hatches.

mike doughty said...

a couple of years a go i took a drive during a 3 day weekend and stayed in mackay. i had never fished the big lost so i went solo to check it out. it was in januray and that saturday was cold but that sunday was probably as cold as i've ever been fishing. -3 and i only lasted bout an hour. caught a few fish and headed home. that saturday though i was nailing them in that hole right below mackay dam