Outdoor Sportsman: What to do during this slow time of year

Dennis Clay
Staff Writer

Bored? Go through your tackle box this time of year.
OK, the hunting seasons are over.
The ice on local lakes are iffy as the weather changes from winter to spring. What can an outdoor-minded person do during such conditions? Let’s discuss a variety of ideas.
Bill Green was a passenger in the Death Ram yesterday, when he remarked, “I’ve been going through my fishing tackle.”
The question must have been heavy in the air, as Bill’s statement was said with no prompting. The answer was a good one. This is a good time to inspect tackle boxes. The lures may need to be polished and the hooks replaced or sharpened.
Many people don’t open the tackle boxes until the first day of the next fishing season, but wise anglers take the time to examine and organize or reorganize each one.
This is a great time to check the fly boxes and sharpen hooks. Anglers can also take a tally of what flies and sizes are in the boxes. This count may show a need to tie more of one fly or another.
Most fly anglers carry several sizes and colors of certain types of flies. The Gold-Ribbed Hare’s Ear Nymph is an example. It is tied in a variety of sizes, from 12 to 20, with some being larger and some smaller. The size is the hook size with a size 12 being larger and the descending sizes going down to 14, 16, 18 and 20.
This is a wet fly, meaning it is fished under the surface of the water, being it a lake or stream. It resembles a variety of underwater bugs. This fly is named for the main body material, which is fur or hair from a hare or rabbit, mainly the base of the ear or hare’s face.
This a great fly for Washington State waters, but waters around the world as well. The fly fisher will want to have five flies in the basic color of gray. Now, not all insects which the Hare’s Ear resembles is gray in every water.
In Potholes Reservoir, they may be gray, but in Dry Falls Lake they may be brownish. This means the fly tier will want to have at least one of each size in a brownish color. Another lake the same insect may have a yellowish color and in another lake the color might be an olive or green color.
The saying is a fly fisherman will want to match the hatch, meaning when she arrives at Dry Falls Lake, the insects will be studied and the size and color will be matched by the flies in the fly box.
But wait, the fly angler will want to have at least two of each size and color, just in case the first fly is lost to a fish. In the end, the fly box may contain a couple hundred Hare’s Ear Nymphs of various sizes and colors.
And this nymph is just one fly. One fly box may be just for Hare’s Ear Nymphs, with the other 10 fly boxes holding other nymphs and dry flies. Yep, this requires a bunch of fly tying.
All anglers will want to check the line on their reels, replacing it if old or damaged. Remember, it is better to replace the line than loose a fish due to a broken line during the fishing season.
Recently Bill Green, Bill Witt and I have started to reload rifle ammunition. The process requires several steps. The casing needs to be de-primed and resized, meaning the old primer will be punched out and the entire casing returned to the original size.
Next it is cleaned in a vibrator machine filled with a fine corncob material. When polished, the casing will be trimmed, chamfered and deburred. Then a new primer will be inserted in place, the powder added and a bullet seated. The round is now complete.
The process isn’t finished until the round is taken to the rifle range and fired. This is the process of working up a load, with a different load needed for each rifle.
But this is the time to prepare the casings for loading and to load a few rounds. We will head for the range as soon as it is available for use.
This is also a good time to catch up on reading the magazines and books, which have been aside until more time is available. Well, now is the time.
Videos are now available for most outdoors-related pursuits, such as how to tie a fly, how to reload a rifle cartridge, how to clean a quail, how to cook an elk roast, etc. The Internet is full of such videos.
Those of us with outdoor-minded subjects always on our mind should not think this is a time to do nothing. Indeed, the outdoor world surrounds us, even during the dead of winter. Use these days and weeks to prepare for the outdoor adventures in the future.