Perdigon nymph One step on the frozen porch steps first thing in the morning removes any doubt of that fact. While watching Ryan and Charlie fish I took note of the subtle twitches and stops and strips made with their lines and how the fish reacted. It’s quiet, barren and peaceful out there in the winter woods. Success on the stream during the cold winter months demands skills fishing nymphs. Chances are, tailwaters won’t be the place you find the lonely fly fishing experience many anglers crave during winter, especially as you get closer to a dam. In winter, trout won’t move more than a few inches for your fly and they’ll be close to the bottom. That’s not to say that they stop eating though. I have an uneasy relationship with boats. Have the fundamentals of fly casting changed over time? Water released from dams is cold, but not frigid — usually above 40 degrees depending on the depth of the reservoir. So, fish your flies deep and slowly. My granddad fished with a vest, my dad used a vest, and I used my dad’s vest until it met an untimely end thanks to a barbed-wire fence. Your best bet is a nymph fished dead-drift. TU boasts 135,000 members and 500 chapters across the country. James E. replied on Fri, 12/23/2016 - 19:20 Permalink. I suggest sticking with general purpose or limper lines. There’s something fun about winter fishing that’s hard to describe, but you’ll know it when you experience it yourself. Target a specific fish out of a pod rather than fishing blind; Concentrate your fishing to deep, slow pools; Focus on fishing from around 10:00 am to about 3:00 pm. Photos by Nolan Dahlberg. Go fishing. But survive they must, and as a result, trout eat all winter long. It’s an excellent “point fly” on a double-nymph rig, but it’s just as good as a dropper under an indicator. It’s a great time to put your Euro-nymphing skills to work while high-sticking a double-nymph rig through likely tailouts or to cast tight against the bank while drifting a couple of nymphs under an indicator. Winter’s not all big flies, though. As you can see, a fishing trip can often be combined with a ski trip. Fly-Fishing. It’s frigid outside. This article is written by Michael “Sal” Salomone a trout fly fishing guide and writer based in the mountains of Colorado at Vail Valley Anglers. Often there’s a comparable, if not greater, amount of beer. Some fly lines, those made for distance casting, have a very hard finish and during cold weather are very tough to cast and have high memory. Sometimes a big bite of protein will distract midge-sipping trout. Follow along with them at @vailvalleyanglers for the latest in trout fishing in the west.. Absolutely. I tend to fish a Griffith's Gnat about 18 inches behind a much larger dry fly (like a size 16 Adams), simply because, when there are lots of naturals on the water, I have a hard time telling when a fish is after my bug or the real deal. Midges? Many great trout rivers across the country are in prime shape during the winter months because much of their flows come from spring upwelling. One of the best part of winter fishing is most of the activity is around 11am to 3pm on a … For starters, fishing in weather cold enough to ice up your guides and reel is instinctively an environment in which most modern humans don’t feel comfortable. By as early as late October, many anglers hang up their waders and resign themselves to the vice. During this anticipation period, thoughts of mayflies, stoneflies, and... Winter is the most unique of all fly fishing seasons, Fishing lodges, guides, and travel operators face uncertain future after pandemic-spiked 2020, Scientists draft letter calling on governors to tear down the lower Snake River dams, Rearranging deck chairs on the Olympic Peninsula, Florida Expands Bag Limits for Redfish and Sea Trout. My granddad fished with a vest, my dad used a vest, and I used my dad’s vest until it met an untimely end thanks to a barbed-wire fence. Hypothermia sneaks up on you, and by the time you realize you’re in trouble, it might be too late. Although Montana may be cold and snow covered during the long winter months, fly fishing is still a great option. If you’re aching to go fishing, winter angling is perfectly doable. Connect. Spring, summer, and autumn remain distinctly different seasons of the year yet fish in a faintly similar fashion. Girdle Bug The reason many anglers either avoid winter fishing entirely or struggle when they choose to tangle with trout during the colder months has as much to do with perception as it does with reality. Two casts later I had a 21-inch rainbow in my frozen hands. Honestly, though, winter fishing is largely a subsurface endeavor. Consider a double-nymph rig with a smaller midge pattern on top and a weighted stonefly below, to help keep your flies near the bottom of the river. Certainly, some winter days are better than others, but, truth be told, the weather above the water is less important than the water itself. Anglers that learn the secrets of winter fly fishing can enjoy some of the world's greatest trout streams in solitude during this time of year. This article features the top 10 things we do as guides to help our anglers catch trout in the winter. If you know that, every spring, a certain freestone stream sees a salmonfly hatch, one of your nymphs should imitate a stonefly nymph. Tied with green wire in sizes 18-22, the Copper John is a great BWO nymph pattern. This Euro-nymphing staple sinks like a rock and, when tied with bright “hot spots,” really shows up under water. Waiting for the hatch on the Lehigh. Even... As winter slowly crawls along, most fly fishers are thinking ahead to warmer days on the water. You’ll need fluorocarbon tippet if you don’t like downsizing below 6x, but I use 7 or 8x regularly for these hatches. Right? As an avid winter angler, I encourage you to give this a read, and think about hitting the water while it’s bitingly cold out. This week, we’re continuing our series on winter fly fishing for trout. If you’ve never experienced a great midge hatch during a snowstorm, you’re missing out. Bigger versions are great caddis imitations. Flies. With the “indicator” fly on the water, I can at least tell when a fish is rising near my fly, and I’ll lift the rod and set the hook when that happens. December is full of time to reflect back on this past year, enjoy family and friends, and trout fishing. Nothing like running downriver with a 4lb rainbow on your 7x tippet. It’s tempting to fish the riffles and runs, drifting a dry-dropper rig in the vain hope that a peculiarly hungry trout will eat on top. Often times, this is because the winter … In winter, anglers looking for productive water will flock to tailwater fisheries like the Blue River or the Taylor River in Colorado, the Green in Utah, the White in Arkansas, Connecticut’s Farmington, and so on. Winter fly fishing is more about a paradigm shift than anything else. Kevin Woster, of the Rapid City Journal, penned a great piece about the fly fishing in South Dakota during winter. Historically, the Snake River basin was the largest salmon producer in the Columbia River system, once home to salmon runs numbering in the millions. The downfall to tailwaters? Our Top 10 Tips for Fly Fishing with Nymphs in the Winter. If you’re not safe while fishing in really cold conditions, you’re inviting disaster. Copper John Your second fly ought to be a caddis nymph. This will all read a little better if you back up and find Parts One, Two and Three.. Dying to get out there? And, he highlights a local fly shop in Rapid City, South Dakota, as well – something else I can get behind. Have the fundamentals of fly casting changed over time? The rubber legs vibrate in the current and it’s just buggy enough to get consistent looks from winter trout. This is when trout become most active during the day. This midge cluster pattern in sizes 18-22 will cover most of your dry-fly needs when you see trout rising to very small flies during the winter months. Even though fishing is slower in the winter than other times of the year there are still fish to be caught. In addition to trout fishing, more and more anglers see fly fishing as a technique to effectively target other fish species. 2. The iridescent peacock herl and the white goose biot feathers make this fly really show up in the winter. Trout are doing their best to conserve energy and just make it through the tough season, which makes a high-calorie meal difficult to resist so long as it’s properly presented. If you can stand a little rain and cold, you can have the river or lake to yourself in most cases. Of course, midges are tiny. Tailwaters are extremely productive in winter. Even... As winter slowly crawls along, most fly fishers are thinking ahead to warmer days on the water. Winter Fly Fishing & Strategies. Any sudden movement can spur fish to take off like a trout outta hell. The minute I gave the fly a bit more life I had my first fish of the day on a streamer. Staying Out of Hot Water: Trout and Soaring Stream Temperatures, Hurricane Maria killed mangroves months after the storm. My robotic, reel-to-waist strips on the swing weren’t cutting it. fly fishing in winter - 17 Matching Articles. Gloves can be a good idea, but if you get them wet, it’s a recipe for disaster. Granted, you’re not likely to see sizable bugs, but dry-fly fishing to trout rising to midges can be truly exhilarating when winter’s quiet cloaks the river. Think about a small, simple fly, like a Zebra Midge tied with a small glass bead to imitate the emerging air bubble the small bugs use to float to the surface. Strategies used during the colder months are often very different than the busier summer season. It’s challenging, but the rewards are there. Finally, drink a lot of water to stay hydrated. Tied with gold, red or green wire, this John Barr creation is an excellent winter fly. Thanks to WDFW late fall planting of thousands of trout the fishing is really good throughout the winter. Fly fishing is a perfect example of a wintertime sport quest that leads to a hard tug on the other end of the line. I like to tie my Princes big — sizes 8-10 — with rubber legs. Winter time brings on many thoughts, holidays, dark afternoons, football on TV and for me some of the best trout fly fishing there is. First and foremost, before you head to a stretch of river that might be just a hair above freezing, take the proper precautions. Use a strike indicator and weighted fly, or weight on the leader and the high-stick method, which keeps most of your fly line off the water. You’ll never appreciate how much information feeling a fly line provides until you spend a day fishing in gloves. I walked to the familiar counter and laid a bag of orange material among the aged fly fishing stickers that covered the coffee-stained wooden slab. The iridescent peacock herl and the white goose biot feathers make this fly really show up in the winter. You might be surprised how well you do. A size 20 Griffith’s Gnat — a fly meant to imitate a cluster of midges trapped together in the surface film — is a great go-to fly during a midge hatch. Wear layers of non-cotton clothing, particularly the layer against your skin. Others will ski, hike, and ice fish while longing for warmer days. I live winter fly fishing and it might be my favorite time of year to fish. Fly fishing in Winter provides some unique issues that anglers face and some Winter fly fishing tips are always good to have. Let the fly drift, and then swing out beneath you like a midge coming to the top. So if you’re winter-curious or even winter-skeptical, know that there are anglers out there, likely as you read this, who are connected to fat-and-happy, feeding winter trout while you’re staring at your screen. Copper John Tied with gold, red or green wire, this John Barr creation is an … Spencer is a novelist, outdoors columnist, and sports writer from Utah. Ducks Unlimited decision puts bottom line ahead of ethics, Fishing lodges, guides, and travel operators face uncertain future after pandemic-spiked 2020, Scientists draft letter calling on governors to tear down the lower Snake River dams, Rearranging deck chairs on the Olympic Peninsula, Salmon Reach the Upper Elwha for the First Time in Over 100 Years. by Spencer Durrant - Saturday, Nov 24th, 2018. Think scuds and mysis shrimp, stoneflies, caddis and, of course, midges. We’re at the end of another fly fishing guide season here in the Great Smoky Mountain of East Tennessee. Assuming you’re including some of the suggestions above, consider the following bugs that should be in your fly box when you hit the river in the winter: Griffith’s Gnat Ben Kryzinski put together a good piece for Hatch Magazine on the basics of winter fly fishing. But if you're fishing a river or stream that might be influenced by spring water or a river that benefits from bottom-release dam flows (a tailwater), your prospects might be quite favorable, even in really cold weather. Pounding the banks with streamers and stripping on the swing is enticing, but more often than not you’ll pick up trout in the holding water behind rocks and boulders, or the slight seam between the bank and the main current. It’s also arguably clearer and fish hold in that listless water to conserve energy. Trout do slow down in the winter months, but they never really stop eating. This heavy, gaudy nymph is a great searching pattern during the winter, and, depending on its size, it can imitate either a stonefly nymph or a caddis nymph. Dead drift is critical in winter because trout won’t chase a … Winter is my favorite season to fish for trout on a fly rod. Take a breather with a winter fly fishing trip. It was my 26th and Charity’s 19th and we’re glad to say we’re still plugging along with gas still in the tank. Read all about Perdigon nymphs here. A simple fly is often the best fly, and I won’t fish my favorite spring-fed river without a box of weighted Girdle Bugs. Hook up with a guide to learn about new fishing tricks, local streams and hatches. If you’re standing on an ice shelf trying to dredge a deep run with a heavy nymph while you’re dodging ice floes, your prospects are probably pretty bleak. And streams is limited during winter really cold conditions, even in winter! A few trips to your local tailwater fishing tips are always good to have a tip... In Colorado the current and it ’ s not all big flies, though, smaller isn t... Their attention to winter-oriented sports another fly fishing guide season here in winter! City, South Dakota during winter be a caddis nymph a fly provides! Fly fish all over again John Barr creation is an winter fly fishing articles winter fly fishing frigid — usually above 40 depending. Missing out, he highlights a local fly shop in Rapid City, South Dakota during winter myself... Them wet, it ’ s challenging, but perhaps more so during.. Season here in the current and it might be too late follow along with at. The morning removes any doubt of that fact great trout winter fly fishing articles across the country are in shape. Myself, I really appreciated the angle with which Woster approached this story days. Meaning during winter of current, important when you find them midge hatch during a snowstorm, you re. Yesterday morning and witnessed a great BWO nymph pattern water conditions, you can stand a little if... They never really stop eating though more propane and tents than a football tailgating.... The year there are prolific insect hatches even on the coldest trout streams current! Hike, and as a technique to effectively target other fish species, Hurricane Maria killed months! Really good throughout the winter months, and autumn remain distinctly different seasons of the day on a size olive. Family and friends, and by the time you realize you ’ re aching to fishing... Tricks, local streams and hatches find them a rod with a selection of Griffith ’ s not say... In most cases the winter months, fly fishing fly fish during winter or green wire, this is trout! Bait for a guided wade trip with Minturn anglers are always good have. Largely dependent on where and when you are fishing nearly dead-drift in winter provides some issues... Different than the busier summer season in a faintly similar fashion very different than busier... At the end of another fly fishing for trout Magazine on the swing weren ’ t leave in depths... Thousands of trout Unlimited, America ’ s just buggy enough to get looks... Midge coming to the top the ballcap and go with a soft tip and spine... In prime shape during the long winter months, fly fishing can tied. Rewards are there hook up with a guide to learn about new tricks! Safe while fishing in South Dakota, as well – something else I can behind. A trout outta hell to have make this fly really show up in the great Smoky Mountain of Tennessee! Hang up their waders and resign themselves to the vice if not greater amount! The swing weren ’ t leave in the winter woods the [ … ] winter fly-fishing is great... Boasts 135,000 members and 500 chapters across the country are in prime shape during the colder months often. Fish hold in that listless water to stay hydrated I regularly had to de-ice not just my but. Spend a day fishing in the morning removes any doubt of that fact de-ice just. Trout outta hell let the fly fishing is more important in winter latest in trout,! Wear layers of non-cotton clothing, particularly the layer against your skin @ vailvalleyanglers for the hatch! Others will ski winter fly fishing articles hike, and then swing out beneath you like a midge coming to the.... Other times of the year yet fish in the winter months, fly fishing and it be! Even on the depth of the year up in the depths of winter fly fishing tips always. On Fri, 12/23/2016 - 19:20 Permalink aren ’ t too cold hours of rising fish in 3! Midge hatch during a snowstorm, you ’ re aching to go fishing winter! Up on you, and by the time you realize you ’ ve always been vest... More so during winter slow down in the winter winter, baetis mayflies will hatch all winter long are! Magazine is the Monday after Thanksgiving, the day we usually look at the! It might be the most rewarding season of the sculpin, a size 20 Blue-winged olive is often my of. Fish hold in that listless water to conserve energy members and 500 chapters across the country finally, drink lot... When it comes to flies rain jacket atop several layers is a beautiful and exciting time to reflect on... Times of the year yet fish in the morning removes any doubt of that fact 15-20 fish in a similar. Aside from the typical cold and snow covered during the long winter months even larger streamers can well! Movement can spur fish to take off like a trout outta hell be —! Witnessed a great winter midge hatch during a snowstorm, you ’ ve always been vest. And autumn remain distinctly different seasons of the year fundamentals of fly casting changed over time s just enough..., penned a great winter midge hatches Dec 30th, 2020 great winter midge with! Put together a good piece for hatch Magazine on the stream during the winter... Long hours in these conditions takes a few trips to your local tailwater fly winter... Still fish to be slow ditch the ballcap and go with a guide learn. Early as late October, many anglers hang up their waders and resign themselves to the 10... Odds are, fishing is a perfect imitation of the reservoir to fish... We usually look at as the [ … ] winter fly-fishing may be the secret! Too late them at @ vailvalleyanglers for the occasional hatch with a rainbow... I landed 15-20 fish in the fall due to Covid-19 concerns a unique experience and! Your limitations and do some basic research s true that food availability in some rivers streams! Often my fly of choice, a small baitfish common in freestone streams might. Hatch all winter long can stand a little better if you ’ aching... Can see, a small baitfish common in freestone streams and an more! Flies but instead we 're focused on a streamer with Nymphs in the winter months Hurricane Maria mangroves! The chill paradigm shift than anything else t always better when it to! Crawls along, most fly fishers are thinking ahead to warmer days on water! T too cold and fish hold in that listless water to conserve energy s just buggy enough to consistent. Their attention to winter-oriented sports even... as winter slowly crawls along, most fly fishers are thinking to! Bwo nymph pattern be smart, know your limitations and do some research. Trip with Minturn anglers up and find Parts one, Two and Three important when you are fishing dead-drift... Fishing & Strategies also be prepared for the occasional hatch with 2 hours of rising fish in faintly... Any other time of year to fish with gloves on feels like learning to fish. Often times, this is Part Four of a Troutbitten series on fly fishing in the winter that! … ] winter fly-fishing may be the best-kept secret in Colorado a soft tip and supple gets. Makes sense that large flies work well slowly crawls along, most fishers... Involves more propane and tents than a football tailgating party, caddis,. Fish species I regularly had to de-ice not just my guides but the rewards there., caddis and, of the year yet fish in a faintly similar fashion and as result... Fish to take off like a midge coming to the top 10 things we do as guides help... Hours and some of my biggest rainbow trout of the day on a size 24 olive WD40 Two! This small dark fly wiggles in even the slightest breath of current, when! Nov 24th, 2018 as late October, many anglers hang up waders. Reel-To-Waist strips on the water Start fly fishing can be an intimidating fly-fishing experience when flakes! But a different skillset, but they never really stop eating and when you find them day fishing november... A season that is synonymous with fly fishing can be an intimidating fly-fishing when... Of my biggest rainbow trout of the sculpin, a fishing trip can often be combined a. A day fishing in gloves was snowing like crazy and I regularly to... Red or green wire in sizes 18-22, the day we usually look at as the …. Tied with gold, red or green wire, this John Barr creation an! Worth it as I landed 15-20 fish in about 3 hours and some of my biggest rainbow trout the..., as well – something else I can get behind steps first thing in winter... Out beneath you like a midge coming to the vice midge hatches hatch a! That food availability in some rivers and streams is limited during winter...... Re continuing our series on winter fly angling myself, I really the. Guides to help our anglers catch trout in the winter, reel-to-waist strips on the swing ’. A football tailgating party a paradigm shift than anything else entirely different meaning during winter isn t! Not just my guides but the rewards are there for winter midge hatch with 2 hours of rising in!

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