Destination Fishing in the Winter

Here is a picture of what one of my many fishing spots looks like this time of year. It’s not a pretty sight, particularly because it’s saltwater. In case anyone is wondering, saltwater freezes at 28 degrees, and with flows a foot thick the odds are the water temperatures have been consistently colder. The migratory fish left a few months ago, they won’t return for a few months, and so it’s easy to know why my thoughts have turned to travelling. As soon as I can make up my mind, I’m outta here!

The first destination in my mind is the Florida Keys. I’m thinking sun, a soft breeze, palm trees and sleek flats boats. The Keys are a perfect place to find bonefish, permit and tarpon on the Oceanside flats, and redfish, snook, and laid-up tarpon on in the backcountry. I think that a call to Sandy Moret in Islamorada is in order: there was a pretty good snook bite near Flamingo and some permit on the flats.

Another option is Alabama. My friend Andy Whitcomb was telling me that he’s heading down to fish in some of the lakes that are part of the Alabama Bass Trail. There are tournaments in March tournaments, so maybe I’ll follow his lead and head on down. The weather will be far better than the -6 degrees Fahrenheit that it is up here.

California is another option, particularly in the Redding, California area and for trout. I spoke with Mike Michalek at the Fly Shop and the Lower Sacramento River is tailwater which makes it a great year-‘round fishery. The water temperatures are a constant 55 degrees, perfect for trout. “Some anglers fishing below Anderson are getting into more numbers of rainbows while those fishing up in Redding are getting fewer fish, but bigger fish. Like fish over 20. The Lower Sacramento is a very good choice for your January and February fishing vacation. And steelhead can be found below Anderson. We have heard more than a few good reports over the past couple weeks. Steelhead are arriving daily.”

The longer I look at the snow the faster I want to go. Time to figure it out and get my show on the road! If you want to plan a trip, take a look at the Places to Boat and Fish Map to find new places to fish and boat.

Stephanie Vatalaro

Stephanie Vatalaro

Stephanie Vatalaro is vice president of communications for the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation and its Take Me Fishing and Vamos A Pescar campaigns where she works to recruit newcomers to recreational fishing and boating and increase awareness of aquatic conservation. Stephanie grew up in the Florida Keys as the daughter of a flats fishing guide. Outside of work, you can find her fishing and boating with her family on the Potomac River in the Northern Neck of Virginia.