Frigid weather causes woes

After rolling through December with some nice, mild weather, we have been welcomed into the New Year with some real Canadian winter temperatures.
It’s been so cold over the past few days that I’ve been getting flashbacks to the “polar vortex” we experienced last year.
Fortunately, the long-range forecast is looking decent, with some average temperatures coming down the pipe. I can live with that.
For those of us who like to spend our time outside, the minus-30 C temperatures are pretty tough on our gear. There is not a lot of fishing equipment designed to be used in these temperatures.
I’ve learned that the hard way over the years—breaking snowmachines, augers, fishing rods, and even parts on my trucks. Just about anything you can think of.
The past week has been brutal. I broke an Otter sled in half when I hit a log while pulling it behind my snowmachine (I was on a small creek and the log was covered with ice that broke when I went over it with the machine).
My sled was loaded down with deer and moose scraps that I was hauling out to a small lake to bait for wolves, so it was not good.
These sleds are nearly indestructible, but the combination of the weight I was hauling and the super cold was a recipe for destruction.
Over the next couple of days, I broke my power auger, then two Buddy heaters whose plastic parts did not want to work properly in the cold. To be honest, I’m at the point now where I’m ready to hide out indoors until this cold snap breaks.
As a fishing and hunting guide, I don’t usually get much of a choice but to go out in any conditions as long as my clients still want to go. Most of them travel to our area to go fishing or hunting for a few days, so they usually want to go and make the most of it.
Most of my equipment is top-notch but as I said earlier, nothing is designed for use when we get below minus-30.
If you are like me and you are going to head outdoors regardless of the conditions, there certainly are some ways you can prepare for attacking the cold and preventing your gear from getting destroyed:
•Warm everything up
I’m fortunate that I have a garage at my home where I can warm things up or thaw them out. It runs on fuel oil and probably costs about $20 per night when it’s really cold out, but it’s worth it to keep my snowmobile warm, as well as my fishing gear.
It’s good to thaw all of the ice off everything after a day or use.
•Slow down
It’s fun to rip across the lake on your snowmachine but things break when you run them hard in these conditions. The snow drifts are hard and you will bounce around a lot more.
This is especially true if you are pulling a sled behind your machine with all your fishing gear inside of it. Take it easy or you will have a bunch of broken stuff.
The same goes for driving your truck around on the lake. I have seen friends tear up the bottom of their trucks several times in these conditions.
•Be careful of plastic parts
Earlier this week, I went to turn on my Mr. Buddy heater and on my first twist of the knob, it broke right off into two pieces.
There is not a lot you can do about these things other than be aware that plastic can break or shatter very easily when it’s super cold out.
We’ll likely see another cold snap or two before the winter is over, but hopefully we just get a bunch of nice, winter weather where we still can do things comfortably outdoors.
We do live in northern Canada so maybe I’m dreaming.
The good news is, the days are getting longer and before we know it, that warm March sun will be back in the sky.

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