Complaining about this winter is becoming cliché.
Yes, it’s cold; Yes, we’ve gotten feet and feet of snow; Yes, it seems we have a “winter weather advisory” every other day. Yes, I’d like to complain about it– maybe even tell you about my cabin fever– but instead I’ll talk about other things.
I went fishing about a week ago. We live about four minutes from the Thornapple River, and about ten minutes from a dam. I’ve caught many fish there, and it’s becoming one of my favorite spots. Driving over the bridge to go pick up pizza, I noticed downstream from the dam was almost completely free of ice. That’s when I decided to return with a fishing rod.
In addition to a fishing rod I brought my new camo snow pants. They were a great find: A boys’ XL, which fit me perfectly except for a few key spots. They work well for shoveling and sledding, although on this trip I discovered they are not great for hiking through tall snow.
I parked my car in the parking lot within sight of the water; The river didn’t seem so far away. As soon as I reached the snow however, the river suddenly jumped miles away. The snow was, in places, up to my waist.
This was hard work, but I persevered: There were icy cold fish to try and catch. Thankfully, somebody had gone before me (albeit not all the way to the water) and I followed in their footsteps. Of course they had a much wider step (longer legs) than I do, so it was hard work to jump from deep footstep to deep footstep.
In a spark of genius, I decided to wear nothing but underwear under my snowpants. I figured I’d get too hot if I layered up: my snowpants are plenty warm.
This was all well and good, except every single step in the high snow. As I placed my boot down, the snow grabbed onto my snowpants and pulled them up. With each step, my ankles and shins were in direct contact with the icy snow. I tried to tuck my pants into my boots but they wouldn’t play along.
And yet I kept hiking! Putting my frozen legs out of mind, I soon reached the river. It was tough to tell where the rocks ended and the ice began; I took a conservatively distant spot. I definitely did not want to fall in, especially since I wasn’t wearing anything under my snowpants.
I fished for about a half hour. I was using spinning gear, tossing jigs and lures into the clear but apparently empty water. Over the course of my short fishing adventure I lost a handful of lures, some on rocks and some on ice.
I didn’t see any fish, I didn’t hook into any fish, but it sure was nice to be outside.
It wasn’t long before I remembered my frozen legs and decided to leave.
On my way home I stopped by a nearby nature preserve that I recently discovered contains a small trout stream. This particular stream is about ten minutes from our house and will undoubtedly be the location of many future fishing adventures. Although I’ll have to wait until April 1– as this is a designated trout stream that is closed to fishing during the winter– it’s nice to know it’s there.
Until those warmer days come, I’ll be here at our home in the country, wearing sweaters and sipping homebrews. Biding my time until my short legs can handle the height of the snow, or even better– when the fish start biting again.

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