An Angler's Guide to Surviving February
February is often the toughest month of the year for anglers. The distraction of the holidays has come and gone. We see signs of spring here and there, but inevitably we are set upon by cold nights and winter storms. The days are short and cold and the snowy banks of the rivers challenge us to cover ground without snowshoes or skis. Thanks goodness for fly fishing in February! It allows us opportunities and respite to get ready for another crazy fly fishing season!
The fly tiers are the ones who can really take advantage of this winter month. Using the days and evenings to ready fly boxes for the coming year is a great use of this time. It may mean retying the tried and true flies you depend on each season, it may be a case of trying new ideas and testing new theories made under the hot summer sun of the previous year. It may be, for the luckiest anglers and the anglers that plan well, the flies being tied are for saltwater fishing in the coming weeks!
February is an ideal time to start traveling to warm water locations. Where tropical fish and flies meet over sandy bottoms and the success of the day may be dictated as much by the quality of the sunset and cocktail as the days fishing. February and the following 3 months can be as much about skipping out on the winter fishing, as it is about getting out there and braving it!
For the typical winter angler February can be a meaningful month. Many trout are starting the very beginnings of the pre-spawn season and with this comes movement and staging in certain river mouths and channels. Anglers that know these spots can often find 3 or 4 days of the best fishing of the season. Anglers that don’t know these areas can seek them out and try to find these magic haunts where waves of fish can meet solitary anglers for epic sessions. Like most things in life, timing is everything, and finding fish staged in their pre-spawn schools is a penultimate moment in February fishing. It is only topped by actually getting to fish in these places at this time!
Do not let February get you down if you’re an angler. There is a lot to do, a lot to look forward to and before you know it Robins will be hopping the river rocks and spring days will be upon us!