Cabin Fever – the most common killer of fly fisherman and hikers in the winter. When the weather turns for the worst in winter, it is easy to lose your mind as you dream about rising trout or hiking your favorite trail. It is harder now, in this day and age, to avoid cabin fever because of the internet. The magical thing that is allowing you to read this post also speeds up cabin fever setting in. When you go online to get a fix of throwing large hoppers to giant, hungry browns, it can rapidly depress you as you go further down the YouTube rabbit trail. What was supposed to help you get through winter, just made it worse. I am going to give you some pointers on how to avoid cabin fever.
PLAN IT! There is no better time to plan for the spring, summer, or fall than in the winter. The reason for this is once it hits those prime times of the year you don’t want to waist your time indoors reading maps and gathering information of the trails and streams…you are going to want to be out on them! Cabin Fever fades away if you are planning trips, gathering gear, and stocking up on the flies you will need once the weather breaks and you are back out in the great outdoors.
DO IT! Layer up and get your butt out in the water or on the trail. Some of my favorite times in the outdoors have been in the middle of winter when everyone else is “snowed in.” In the winter, you typically have the stream or trail all to yourself. The main thing in getting out in winter is to make sure that you have the right gear. Cold can be an actual killer. You need to have the right gear for whatever outdoor activity you are doing, and it is especially true in winter.
After you plan it, and do it you still have some options to shake off cabin fever. Bust out the vise and the tying material and start whipping up some bugs for your future fishing trips. This may be a bit too revealing, but I have even busted out my sleeping pads, sleeping bags, and tent and set them up in my living room. I tell my wife that it is for the kids to play in, but the truth is that it helps me cope with not being outdoors. All of that is a temporary band-aid, however, to actually hiking or fishing.
So, if you want my advice on how to avoid cabin fever. Shut down the computer, grab your rod, your pack, your jacket and gloves, and get outside. The best way to avoid cabin fever is to never give it a chance to even set in. You can’t have cabin fever when you spend more time outside than you do inside.