Sheeyah… “winter”. Is that still a thing around here?
Anyway. Early trout season kicks in on Saturday, January 2 of next year, which considerably shortens the winter doldrums. That being said, January is January, and you know it will be damn cold at some point and you’ll want to cease your restless spirit with something less damn cold and more indoorsy, but still fishy. I’m here to rescue you with a few ideas.
Saturday, January 16: SWTU Icebreaker
Southern Wisconsin Trout Unlimited’s 33rd annual Icebreaker is probably the biggest gathering of anglers in southern Wisconsin (The Spring Opener, below, is right up there, too). Come watch some of the best tiers in the region work their magic (Dave Fowler will likely be there building rods, too), sit in on a talk or two given by Jeff Currier, and bid on some awesome stuff in their auctions (which, mercifully, should be conducted with greater efficiently and speed than last year).
Also, yours truly will be there with Matt Sment from Badger Tenkara to run the Fly Fishing School (we were gonna call it Fly Fishing University, but we kept getting disgusted looks from folks when we said we were part of FU), a short course designed to help answer fly anglers’ questions about the sport and to hone their skills (I’m just gonna show them what I do and tell them to do the opposite). Finally, for the kids you’ll have Henry Cryns tying up some flies… Henry’s a good tier, and even the adults can probably learn a thing or two.
$10 for the day, veterans are free with military ID. Box lunches will also be available. See the SWTU website for more details.
February 13, 2016: Badger Fly Fishers’ Spring Opener
Another annual tradition for many snowed-in anglers, the Spring Opener presents a format very similar to the Icebreaker. Both shows will even be sharing the same venue this year, the American Family Center (Badger did it first, though!). For those of you who are disappointed by the Icebreaker’s lack of commercial booths, you’ll be pleased to find a variety of vendors who are very happy to take some of your money. Orvis Madison should have a booth there again this year, and last year’s attendees included Badger Tenkara, Black Earth Angling Co., Tight Lines Fly Shop, Wildwood Float Trips, Fontana, PJ Julius (a fantastic bamboo rod maker from Cross Plains), and more. There is also a raffle and auction, and a ton of local tiers demonstrating their skills. Gary Borger will be this year’s guest speaker.
For more details check out the Badger Fly Fishers website.
January & February: Snowshoeing, Skiing, and *cough*fishing*cough* at Fontana Sports
Look at how not-biased I am. Craig and the gang at Fontana Sports are offering a bunch of free, introductory courses in snowshoeing, skiing, and yes, even fly fishing through the winter months. You can visit their website for all the details.
Tell Craig that I sent you and you’ll get 50% off all rod outfits, too… *wink*
January 4: Fly Fishing Tennessee, at Orvis Madison
Okay, now the good stuff… Orvis will have Tony Marcucci in the shop on Monday, January 4 at 5:30pm to give a presentation on fishing opportunities on the South Holston River in Tennessee. The South Holston is a tailwater that offers year-round trout fishing opportunities on a body of water that can support upwards of 10,000 to 12,000 trout per mile. Tony’s coming from a newly Orvis-endorsed outfitter, the South Holston River Lodge. I had the opportunity to fish this water back in February, probably the coldest day of the year down there, and still had fun. You should check it out, maybe.
Speaking of which…
Second Thursday of each month, 5:30-7:00pm: Fly Fishing Seminars at Orvis Madison
We’re trying something new this year, hosting a free seminar every month at the store. Topics will change monthly. January we’ll discuss winter trout fishing, and February we’ll talk saltwater. I wish I could send you to a website with the full schedule, but right now you’ll have to suffice by dropping by the store to learn more.
Select Saturdays in January and February: Fly Tying 101 at Orvis Madison
Learn to tie flies, for free. See the store for more details. Shameless plug over.
Did I miss anything? I don’t think so, but if you think so let me know and I’ll add an update to this post.
Tight lines, clear guides, can’t lose!