Seems like my theme the last few days has been on the coldness that is winter in Montana. I know that a lot of you are elsewhere – maybe someplace warm – and the thought of 20-30 degrees in the morning is just plain frightening. Where I grew up in Texas, the schools would cancel the night before if it even looked like the weather might possibly maybe kinda freeze. While my 12 year old here in Bozeman goes out everyday for recess so long as it’s not below 0!
So, fishing in the cold? Well, this is what the Gallatin looked like this morning after nighttime temps somewhere in the -10 range. Looks inviting huh? Not much pressure today, that’s for sure. Once it gets below 25, count on frozen guides on the rod – this is reasonably manageable until it gets down around 17 or so. Once it gets much below that, the guides, frames on reels/spools, drag mechanisms, hands, feet, lips – they all freeze pretty quickly. Generally, I’ll try to tough it out and make a go of a few hours on the water so long as it’s above 20 and I probably won’t complain too much if it’s above 27…but once it gets into the teens…I typically spend more time asking myself why than how.
So what helps? Stanleys Ice Off paste helps slow down the freezing of guides for about 4 minutes. Dunking your rod/reel in the water helps for about 3 minutes. WD-40 sprayed liberally on everything reduces squeaks and helps reduce freezing for about 2 minutes. Most helpful advice I have is try sitting in the car and listening to XM radio once it gets in the low teens.