I hate waiting. Though a large majority of fishing is time spent waiting, in actuality, I have very little patience. For this reason, transition periods are the bane of my existence. Here in Massachusetts, ice is a regular part of every winter. While we may not get ice as quickly or in such abundance as our northern neighbors, it still comes. It’s the time before that ice forms, though, that makes me antsy. I love ice fishing and I love open water fishing, but trying to fish a semi-frozen lake is like trying to make a snowperson out of slate-gray March slush; no matter how hard you try, it simply doesn’t work.
While I believe social media to be a major benefit to the fishing community, seeing the numerous posts of people on the ice is more than enough to make me jealous. When we barely had a skim here in northeastern Massachusetts, anglers in western Mass and the rest of northern New England were enjoying safe ice and picturesque fishing conditions.
During this in between period, I’ve been stupid enough to go against my own advice and continue fishing, despite the frigid temps, driving winds, and sluggish post-spawn trout. Just yesterday, I had a somewhat enjoyable day on the Swift River, during which time I saw fewer fly fishers than I ever have at the river before. It surely was a testament to just how poor the conditions were.
Some of the highlights of the day were meeting some new fishing buddies (fly fishers my age are few and far between here in Massachusetts), testing out some new gear, and my ingenious toe warmer invention. By taping some large all-purpose warmers on top of the first of two pairs of socks, my toes were warmer than they ever have been at the Swift, including my summer and early fall trips. No, it wasn’t groundbreaking, but it certainly was enough to keep my feet cozy on a day when everything else felt like it was about to succumb to frostbite.
As we head towards winter break, a series of cooler days seems to be in our future. I have my fingers crossed for thick ice and free time. Happy holidays to all.