Prevent fly fishing injury in the New Year
By Hookemharry

Posted: December 28, 2005

When I look ahead to the New Year I always try think of areas of where I might improve my life. Whether that involves family, work or playing in the outdoors, it seems that the list of things to try to improve on is endless.

One area that comes to mind is to try and eliminate some discomfort that comes from being in the outdoors.

I met Brent Dodge last week at the Montana Athletic Club last week and had a chance to talk to him about how to possibly prevent injury from fly-fishing based on repetitive motion.

Yes, as odd as it sounds, according to Dodge who is a nationally certified orthopedic clinical specialist in physical therapy, it as easy as making yourself feel rested or stressed while you are fishing.

The answer may depend on your prey, or the time of the day, Dodge said, but either way, you must be aware of your bodys need for a break in routine.

When the hatch is on, the last thing you need is an injury.

Wielding an 8-weight (fly rod) for as many hours can be risky business, points out Dodge. It’s as risky in his opinion as working on an assembly line while repeatedly doing the same action.

The demand that this constant action puts on your body puts you at risk for various types of injury, like shoulder elbow, wrist, or even back pain.

Dodge has a simple rule that he constantly preaches to workers and fly fishers alike. I call it the 20/20 rule, says Dodge. I advise that you stop every 20 minutes for at least 20 seconds.

By doing this, you will give your body a break and Dodge predicts that you will actually perform better. What do you do for the 20 seconds to make your body feel relaxed?

Stop. Take a few slow deep breaths. Relax your eyes; look to the horizon, suggests Dodge. Other ideas that might help roll your shoulders gently back and forth. Lean from one side to the other. Your muscles and joints — and your mind — benefit from this type of rest.

As Dodge simply puts it: Better rest than stressed?

If you like to ask further questions on how to prevent injury by preventive care, feel free to log onto Dodges web site at or give him a call 251-2323.

The warmer weather has slowed fishing reports. Dick Zimmer, from Pablo, did send a couple of reports with pictures to me on Lake Superior Whitefish and Lake Trout on Flathead Lake.

Last week, while night fishing in a boat he caught close to 50 whiteys just below the Polson Bridge. Zimmer also reports that anglers are catching up to 60 lake trout at Blue Bay, working the waters 180 feet just off the point using glow lead-a-gators in pink and green color.

Ice anglers still are doing well in Georgetown Lake for trout. The kokanee fishing has slowed, but the ice is good.

Robert Twiford reports from Malta that among other walleyes and pike caught, a 12-pound 8-ounce walleye was pulled up through the ice last week on Nelson Reservoir.

And, parts of Fort Peck are now frozen over with safe ice for fishing. Joe Moline, of Lewistown, had his sons on the ice last week and Tyler and Cameron caught both an 8-pound catfish and a 42-inch, 21-pound northern pike.