Fishing and Bad Weather . . .

For the man sound in body and serene of mind there is no such thing as bad weather; every sky has its beauty, and storms which whip the blood do but make it pulse more vigorously.  ~George Gissing

When I was a kid there was a popular Campbell’s Soup commercial with the jingle: “any time or weather, soup and sandwich go together”.  Well, in my experience, fishing and bad weather go together!

Consider steelhead fishing.  The biggest runs in the Pacific Northwest usually come in winter and the neoprene-suited warriors with long Spey rods wade chest deep in the frigid rivers after their prey.  Often the fly line freezes in the rod guides and the angler has to submerge the fly rod to free the line. And the howling wind roars down the river valleys numbing fingers and wreaking havoc on accurate casting. But the adrenalin that comes with hooking one of these athletic monsters acts as a natural anti-freeze, protecting the steelhead fisherman and warming the very soul.

When fishing for Atlantic salmon during the summer months in the Scottish West Highlands, rivers can get very low, especially in unseasonably dry years.  The fish usually hunker down into the big pools and are not much interested in moving after a fly. While a sudden and ferocious thunderous rain storm may drive the fishermen off their beat and back to the warm lodge for a large gin and tonic, it also fills the river with runoff from the surrounding heather and mountain tops, swelling the river with fresh water.  This condition, known locally as a “spate”, raises the level of the river dramatically, bringing fresh fish into the river and providing them with a liquid freeway that they use to race up the river towards their spawning beds. The fish become active and the fishing dramatically improves.

And the summer late afternoon rain shower that ruins picnics and postpones world-class tennis matches produces ideal conditions for dry-fly fishing.  After the rain it seems like the river explodes with hatching insects and the trout are treated to a glutinous feast of rising larvae and just hatched emergers. A perfect time for a delicate cast with a parachute winged dry-fly on a 10x tippet.

Fly anglers love bad weather, not only does it improve the fishing, but it keeps the crowds away as well.  Let it come.  I’m going fishing.

Tight Lines . . .

John R Childress

E |      T | +44 207 584 3774      M | +44 7833 493 999

About johnrchildress

John Childress is a pioneer in the field of strategy execution, culture change, executive leadership and organization effectiveness, author of several books and numerous articles on leadership, an effective public speaker and workshop facilitator for Boards and senior executive teams. In 1978 John co-founded The Senn-Delaney Leadership Consulting Group, the first international consulting firm to focus exclusively on culture change, leadership development and senior team alignment. Between 1978 and 2000 he served as its President and CEO and guided the international expansion of the company. His work with senior leadership teams has included companies in crisis (GPU Nuclear – owner of the Three Mile Island Nuclear Plants following the accident), deregulated industries (natural gas pipelines, telecommunications and the breakup of The Bell Telephone Companies), mergers and acquisitions and classic business turnaround scenarios with global organizations from the Fortune 500 and FTSE 250 ranks. He has designed and conducted consulting engagements in the US, UK, Europe, Middle East, Africa, China and Asia. Currently John is an independent advisor to CEO’s, Boards, management teams and organisations on strategy execution, corporate culture, leadership team effectiveness, business performance and executive development. John was born in the Cascade Mountains of Oregon and eventually moved to Carmel Highlands, California during most of his business career. John is a Phi Beta Kappa scholar with a BA degree (Magna cum Laude) from the University of California, a Masters Degree from Harvard University and was a PhD candidate at the University of Hawaii before deciding on a career as a business entrepreneur in the mid-70s. In 1968-69 he attended the American University of Beirut and it was there that his interest in cultures, leadership and group dynamics began to take shape. John Childress resides in London and the south of France with his family and is an avid flyfisherman, with recent trips to Alaska, the Amazon River, Tierra del Fuego, and Kamchatka in the far east of Russia. He is a trustee for Young Virtuosi, a foundation to support talented young musicians. You can reach John at or
This entry was posted in ecosystems, flyfishing and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Fishing and Bad Weather . . .

  1. Tim says:

    I remember my first steelhead caught Xmas eve day of 1976, in a steady rain drifting Lake Cr. off the Siuslaw. Not yet able to fly cast in tight spaces, I was bouncing lead sling with salmon roe off the snaggy bottom when I got the hit. What a thrill–made the cold and damp disappear in a joyful, silvery flash!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s