It's getting cccccold. The main complaint I hear about fly fishing in the cold is icy guides. Sooo, is there a way to cut back on how much ice forms in those guides? Glad you asked!
Certainly use an ice-off paste. Apply it the night before and then reapply as needed through your fishing day.
BUT, is there more to it than that? Remember, your WET line constantly moving through the guides is really what leads to all of that ice. Maybe you could do some things to reduce how much water you pull through those guides to make all of that ice?
You want to maintain good drifts, tight lines, and recast while moving minimal line through the guides. WHAT?
I have several focuses when I'm fishing in the ice box.
1. Do as much roll casting and flipping of your line as you can. By "flipping", I mean water loading your rod at the end of your drift and casting or "flipping" the line back up stream without overhead casting at all.
2. Make good mends to maintain your drifts, BUT instead of pulling line in through the guides to keep "tight" consider managing the line with other methods.
A. High stick, even when indi fishing
B. Take a few steps forward or a few steps backwards to keep from having too much slack line.
3. Keep the rod tip out of the water.
See, you can keep out all of the line you like, make good drifts, cast, and still keep from constantly moving wet line through those guides....until you catch one. But hey, that's worth clearing some ice from the guides at that point!
And last but not least, the less you are running wet line through your guides, the less it is winding on to your reel as well. And that helps prevent that reel from freezing solid and then getting broke off by a trophy fish. Just remember to wind that reel a half rotation or so now and then to make sure it isn't frozen up.
Winter Steelhead trips will refine your game better than any other time of year. As long as the creeks are not frozen...we're fishing. Call me. LET'S GO FISHIN'!