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Winter Survival: 3 tips that could save your life

We have recently gotten hit with one of the harshest winter storms that I can remember. I was eight years old during the blizzard of 1978, and this past week I was having flashbacks to then as I tried to drive a stranded motorist home in a complete white out. I was forced to turn around and go back, but it occurred to me how easily I could end up in a snowbank with the responsibility of keeping my very civilized, non-survivalist passenger in tow who only had a very thin windbreaker on and thin pants with no thermal undergarments to speak of. The temperature was around 12 without taking into account the wind chill factor. So here’s the question, what would he have done if we ended in the ditch? No problem, right? You just keep the car running until you’re rescued, right? Well, maybe; but, what do you do if you get snowed in beyond the time that it is going to take to get rescued? The vehicle is your best bet, as it is certainly shelter, but there are three things you can do to better your odds of riding the storm out in the event that you have nothing but the thin clothes on your back and you’re snowbound in your car.

  1. Consider the sacred order of survival. Specifically you need: shelter, water, fire, and food in that order. Shelter you have in the form of the vehicle, and water is plentiful in the form of snow. However, you must realize that you have to melt the snow to drink it, don’t just eat the snow because you are lowering your internal temperature when you do. As a matter of fact you should drink your pee immediately in a situation like this, simply because it is already 98 degrees and you don’t have to waste energy having your body reheat it.
  2.  Use the insulation at hand. Never forget that your car seats are made out of great insulating foam. Don’t be afraid to cut this out and line your clothing with it, creating dead air space between your skin and your clothing will keep you warmer as your body heats that dead air that is trapped.
  3. Keep the door closed. Your shelter is only going to have one source of heat when the engine runs out of gas… you. Keep your body heat inside as much as possible and if worse comes to worse then consider making a nest in the snow and trying to build a fire in it from flammable parts of your car for warmth. However, never burn what can be used as personal insulation, and make sure any smoke you create has an escape vent so you don’t breathe toxic fumes.
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Winter fly fishing: 5 things I’ll bet you didn’t know

Did you know that you could fly fish in the winter? There are lots of hard core anglers who do just that and relive the wonders of a Jack London book in their own back yard.

Winter time is a great time for camping, and the only thing that I have found to be more solemn than the sound of winter snowflakes falling gently on the canvas of my military surplus tent is the hush they bring when falling quietly in the purple morning on a mountain stream. Here are 5 thing I’ll bet you didn’t know;

1. Bugs hatch all winter long. Any sunny days in the winter there will actually be very small midges that have been lying dormant. During a winter hatch, trout will do what is called “selective feeding”, in other words they’ll focus on a certain food and won’t vary from it. This is a good time to fish your midge flies.

  1. Another fact of winter fishing is that many if not most of your fly fisherman are “fair weather” fisherman, (or at least warm weather fisherman), and you will find that the trout streams are quite barren of competition in the winter months, while the trout themselves are much more approachable because they haven’t been pressured.
  2. Unexperienced fly fisherman don’t realize and know that steelhead actually run the rivers, in the tributaries, in late fall or early winter, and this results in this being the best time for steelhead even though in the spring time they make their way out of the rivers.
  3. Of course winter fishing also comes with its obstacles, and one of the biggest obstacles is ice forming on your fly rod guides, so you have to be concerned about breaking the ice off. There are some things you can do to help combat that like placing Vaseline on the guides and applying commercial line dressing to keep your line from freezing.
  4. Fishing in the winter can be made much more enjoyable by wearing a good pair of insulated stockings in your waders and stacking a few layers of fleece pants over your legs to create dead air space. With a good pair of wool or thinsulate stockings you can wade all day long and hit every hole that you need to.
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