When the rivers are iced over and the snow is flying, it’s a great time to plan and get your gear ready for spring. Gear can get scattered and disorganized throughout the season, but winter is a great time to organize fly boxes, clean gear and restock supplies. Here are 5 tips for preparing yourself and your kit for springtime fly fishing.
1) Restock Flies
This might be obvious but organizing your fly box now will ensure you’re ready to hit the water as soon as the weather turns. Make sure you have a mix of lifecycle stages and various types including beadhead nymphs, streamers and some dry flies for those unseasonably warm days when unexpected hatches start coming off. Create an organizational method that works for you: 1) by fly type (dry, nymph, streamer), 2) by body of water or location depending on where you fish, or 3) by season (winter midge box, spring nymph box, summer dry flies, and/or fall streamers). Now’s also a good time to invest in a new fly box for additional storage. Stock up on go-to patterns but also consider trying some new flies to expand the arsenal!
2) Prep Your Waders & Boots
Waders can get funky towards the end of the season. Giving them a good cleaning is key to making sure you don’t gag when you go to put them on the first time out. This is also a good idea if invasive species are present in your home waters. It also gives you a chance to inspect your waders for any pinholes, compromised seams and areas that could potentially leak. Turn them inside out and fill them with water to see if there are any leaks or compromised seams. If you have GORE-TEX waders, spraying them with rubbing alcohol will reveal black spots if a leak is present, which can be repaired with appropriate patches. Inspect your boot soles and laces – consider investing in some metal studs for better traction if you own rubber soled boots.
3) Fix Your Stuff
Whether you do the repairs yourself or send them in for warranty service, now is the time. If you’re sending in, note that usually the busiest time for repair departments is at the beginning of the season. Stay ahead of long lead times and get your gear sent in early. Pro Tip: wash your gear before sending it in for repair or warranty! Some companies may send your stuff right back to you or charge you a cleaning fee. Inspect your rod and reel, make sure your guides are intact, wax your ferrules, and clean your fly line!d
4) Organize Your Pack
Whether it’s a cardboard box, fancy plastic bin or a waterproof duffle, now is the time to take inventory and organize. Lay everything out and use smaller bags/bins to become an organization boss! This system makes grabbing and going a cinch. And do like the pros: Label your fly boxes – Dries, Nymphs and Streamers – to keep level up your organization game.
5) Ready Your Rig
For those of you who like to float, it’s a good time to get your boat/raft/IK/paddle board/kayak or whatever, all set and ready to go. Do a once over on your rig and get your repair kit restocked. This ensures you’re ready for the season whether it comes early, late or somewhere in between.
Big River Collective is a tag-team duo, Ryan Michelle Scavo (@RyOutside) and Sam Scavo (@S_Scavo). They are content creators – photographers, writers, & more. – and lovers of Postfly & The Wade blog. They do a lot of playing outside including chasing trout and rambling around southern Colorado looking for the next adventure with their two kiddos and cattle dogs.