Location: Lake of the Woods/Rainy River Minnesota Canada border
What's the worst weather you fish in?
I was standing waist deep in the river yesterday. It was snowing, and maybe 28 or 29 degrees. Water was freezing to everything. The tips of my fingers felt like I had frozen them solid. At this point I wondered how many people are willing to fish in this kind of stuff. What's the worst you have fished in?
Hmmm a couple of times come to mind.
When I was a youngster a friend and I drove out to a lake on Vancouver Island one morning just after a heavy wet snowfall. We had to dig our way in through the plowed snowbank to get our rubber boat in the water. We put it in and a geyser of ice water shot up through the floor. Snowplow went by again.
Had to dig our way out again to go get my wooden row boat. Got back a couple hours later, had to dig our way in again. Once we were on the lake we had to cast behind the boat in the broken trail of floating slush.
A couple of hours later, we were soaked and cold. Had to dig our way out again....after we got stuck and had to dig our way out of a hole.
Most recently, I was fishing on the Peace River, it was a chinook about +5C
I noticed as the day progressed my guides were icing up. When we finally gave up and returned to the truck it was -25C.
Best part of that day was Cabelas 5mm waders.
Memories of fishing spring creeks all winter in Pennsylvania come to mind. Then there was that week long steelhead trip to the Lake Ontario tributaries that went bad in early March.
Having many bad weather experiences under my belt so to say I can safely state that the coastal rivers of Kodiak Island have dished out conditions I could not have imagined six years ago. Think mid thirties, 3.5 inches of rain in roughly 5 hours being delivered by a sustained 55 mph wind with gusts to 85 mph. Absolutely the hardest weather I have fished in to date, it made everything else pale in comparison.
I try to be prepared for bad weather but this past season hammered me. The upside was solitude, I was alone and I caught some really great fish. My tent (a North Face Expedition 25) survived because I have been there many times and had it guyed out to the max. However I am rethinking next years trip, this is three years in a row of Aleutian poop storms. I'm considering a nice long float trip here in the interior next August / September.
Like Kerry, several come to mine, but one that sticks out the most was the year I broke my leg (fell of the drum riser, but that is another story).
I bought a 36" X 12" waterproof duffel bag and I put it over my leg to keep it dry. We went to Strawberry. Got there the wind was howling, snow blowing side ways, 20 degrees out side, but I was going fishing! Put the motor on my Alpine, put my vest on and away I went.
Pretty good fish day actually. Hubby hooked into a 30+" cutt.
Only problem I ran into, was with only one flipper in the water, when gust hit me I went in circles.
I have been really cold a lot of times but the worst of all was in Alaska. We were hunting and fishing around Ban Island and Afognak Island. This spot was protected from the Shelikof Strait by Ban Island. We studied the map and found a new spot that looked promising so we decided to check it out. The problem was this spot was on a spit that was completely open to the Strait. The next morning was wonderful weather and we took off to explore. We never went out in the boat with out our spike camp in case we couldn't get back to camp. The spike camp tent was up on the mountain so we left it behind. We got to the spot and it was a dandy. A deep canyon with snow fields and a natural path for bears to pass on their way to the coast. We decided to go back and get our spike camp and move to the new spot. While we were hiking back to the coast we were in heavy trees and never realized that the weather was changing.
When we got to the boat it was snowing and blowing a little bit but not bad. We made a bad decision to go back to base camp. We got on the water in my 12 foot Zodiac with a 25hp motor. As we got to the mouth of the water between Ban Island and Afognak all hell broke lose. The waves got so tall we were afraid to turn around. That is saying a lot for a Zodiac. When we were in the trough of the wave we couldn't see anything but water. When we were on the crest of the wave the snow and hail was hammering us from all sides. The ride down the other side of the wave was a real thrill. My partner had thin leather gloves and he was guiding the boat. I gave him my skin diver gloves to protect his hands. I was busy bailing, freezing my buns off and hanging on for dear life. We were both wet to the core and ice was forming on us and everything else. When we finally got past the entrance to the cove and the waves subsided we were continually pelted with horizontal snow and hail. The wind just froze us to the core.
We made it back in one piece but we decided not to go back to that spot again. The Shelikof Strait has ferocious weather and several fishing boats over 100 foot long have been lost there. It was a life lesson that made me a lot more cautious when in the field.
Hey everybody bad weather is like good fishing it doesn't get any better or worse than where you are at the time. I think this topic and the replies are of a qualitative sort of data. The quantitative effect can vary with your geographic location. No matter where you are rain, cold, snow and sleet are difficult conditions.
First was an early April Steelhead trip to the Big Manistee. We had a storm blow in while we fishing the North side of the river at Tippy, freezing rain followed by a series of snow squalls through the night. With the ice about a half in thick on the roads, we couldn't make it up and out of the access point. Three big guys jammed in my little pick-up camper with nowhere to go, very tight quarters. At this point we had the snow, wind blowing so hard the camper was shaking and the snow was going parallel to the ground. Woke up in the morning with dead calm and 18 degrees F, walked down by the river after hitting the outhouse, and landed a fish for a fellow fisherman. That was his 2nd or third for the morning. Went back and suited up, and my hardcore fishing buddy asked me what I was doing. He told me I was crazy to fish in those kind of conditions, my other buddy saw me suited up and he followed suit. We fished and Mr. Hardcore sat in my camper shaking his head.
Second was the early fall snowstorm while we were fishing Elk Creek. The snow was falling so fast it was piling up on us as we fished; at one point I think we had close to six inches on our shoulders and hoods. We figured we might as well fish; it beat sitting in the motel room.
A few years ago,I was with a friend and after a good morning's fishing and a good snack we decided to have a little nap....in the shade.I fell asleep but was awoken by a pine cone falling on my head...the wind was blowing rather high.So we decided to go back to the river and go on fishing,the wind was getting higher and higher,but we didn't care till my friend shouted:JP watch out !a fir tree is going to fall down...and it fell indeed only a few metres in front of me.We hurried to shelter under big rocks.The little tempest didn't last very long but when we were going back to the hotel the road was blocked and people were cutting fallen trees with their chain saws.A Very funny surprise was in store for us at the hotel....I'll tell you that another day