“Are you guys still fishing this time of year?”
It’s mid-January. Temperatures hover just above zero. There’s a foot of snow in the forecast. But the answer is always the same. “Heck yeah!” Mountain communities out west are popularizing the “carve and cast” lifestyle where you can ski in the morning and fish in the afternoon. Live like a Coloradan by combining skiing at Holiday Valley or Holimont and guided fly fishing expeditions with Adventure Bound in Ellicottville!
If the river is running, we are fishing. As a matter of a fact, winter fly fishing is one of the best kept secrets in western New York and north western Pennsylvania. Anglers flock to our area in spring and fall in search of the coveted steelhead. Those fish are still there in the winter – and they are still hungry!
Without the pressure of crowded streams, you are likely to have a much better fishing experience… provided you stay warm. With modern performance fabrics, staying warm isn’t hard. The key is to create an efficient and effective layering system that includes a moisture-wicking base layer, an insulation mid-layer and an outer shell that protects you from the elements.
Moisture-Wicking Base Layer
The base layer is easiest (and the most costly) to get wrong. Cotton is a big part of our everyday wardrobes. The typical American closets and drawers are largely comprised of cotton t-shirts, flannel shirts and jeans. We all know that cotton doesn’t wick. But sometimes you don the cotton briefs and comfy long sleeve t-shirt out of habit.
“Briefs?” You ask. Yes. Base layers start with… well… the bottom. We carry the Patagonia Sender Boxers and Boxer Briefs or the Essential Boxers and Boxer Briefs to keep your nether-regions toasty and dry.
Point 6 Expedition Extra Heavy socks offer the many benefits of merino wool. They don’t itch, don’t shrink, are thermo-regulating (warm in winter, cool in summer), and are naturally anti-microbial (don’t stink). Best of all, Point 6 socks last two to three times as long as many other merino wool brands due to a fancy machine that weaves wool fibers in a unique way to prevent pilling and early wear.
To keep your legs and core warm, we recommend one of two options, depending on the temperature and your own personal tendency to run hot or cold. If you tend to run hot, Patagonia’s mid-weight capilene top and bottom will do nicely. If you get chilled easily, The Craft Force pant and provides a heavy weight base layer. Craft is a Scandinavian company with heritage in the running industry. We love the quality and multi-use performance of the Force pant. Paired with Patagonia’s Cross-Tech 1/4 Zip shirt, you are sure to stay warm and dry all day long.
Mid-layers are our specialty! We carry a full range of down, synthetic down and fleece. One of our favorite new pieces is Patagonia’s micro-puff jacket. It’s an unbelievably lightweight synthetic down jacket with a continuous baffle system to prevent heat loss at the stitch points. We offer the micro-puff in both hooded and non-hooded versions. For those frigid winter mornings, consider the Patagonia Silent Down Shirt, Down Sweater or Hi-Loft Down Hoody. And for your legs, we offer an insulation piece that will change your life – Patagonia’s Nano Puff Pants. The Nano Puff Pant is the ultimate piece for not only fly fishing, but for people who have a tough time warming up in the winter months. The Nano Puff Pants will creep into your daily routine – from the morning cup of coffee to drinks après-ski – they will be one of the most highly coveted items in your wardrobe.
Your shell will protect you from both wind and rain. It keeps your other layers dry. But it also needs to be breathable so you don’t get clammy and chilled. For this reason, we recommend Gore-Tex or another proprietary waterproof breathable membrane that acts like Gore-Tex.
We carry Snowshot Jacket with Patagonia’s proprietary H2 No waterproof breathable membrane. It carries all the weather protection and breathability of a Gore-Tex jacket without the Gore-Tex price tag.
We hope you will join us for a winter wade and experience this spectacularly beautiful and peaceful time of year on the river.