Fly Fishing the Upcoming Winter (2003)

by Marcus Rodriguez

We've had plenty of rain. The rain will keep the rivers flowing strong until the coming of spring. Winter is my favorite time to fish the Texas Hill Country, even though the fly fishing is not as action packed as it is in the late spring and summer — but it is the most challenging. Cold rains, and cold fronts come down and can slow fly fishing down, but it is when fly fishers can hook into larger fish.

I have had great success on the coldest of days. Sometimes the fishing is so slow, and I am so cold, that I start to question my sanity. I have been out in sleet, light snow, and even freezing rain.

I do not know what draws me to the river in the winter. It does not matter to me what river that I am on. I enjoy the cold crystal clear winter water, I like making fewer casts, I like smelling wood smoke in the cold air. When floating down the river you can see deep into the woods. Some rivers, like the San Marcos and the San Gabriel, take on an eerie silence. The woods surrounding them are quiet like death, but full of life. Deer come down to the river to drink. Hawks scream and chase squirrels. Light rain falls and one can hear it ticking on your rain jacket and blend in with the rain lightly ticking in the woods.

If there is any advice that I can give about winter fishing, I would only say go out and do it. I do not think that catching fish is as important as experiencing the outdoors. The woods are extremely quiet. It is a time to think and reflect. It is a time to make casts count. It is a time to sit back, take a deep breath of cool air and think, "yes, this is living."

Note: This article originally appeared in our November 2002 newsletter.

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