Winter Trout Fishing
Trout fishing in the winter is tough. Trout are cold blooded, which means their metabolic rate slows down. They’re not likely to move beyond a few inches for the fly and they will be swimming close to the bottom.
- Go slow. Everything slows down in the winter, and the trout is not an exception. The fish will be laying low, opportunistically feeding only when food presents itself particularly when it almost hits their face. Avoid aggressive methods like quickly swinging trout flies and stripping streamers. While these methods can work, nymphing is really the way to go.
- Look for slow and deep water. Fish your flies deeper in calmer and slow water. Better if you can find slow and deep pockets and runs sitting alongside faster water.
- Most insects aren’t hatching in the winter, so you may want to consider smaller, subsurface flies midges. There are often some stoneflies about also, but keep them small, say in the size 10-16 range.
Fishing in tailwaters could lead to more success in winter trout fishing. Bottom release dams off consistent, year round water temperatures ideal for trout. These watersheds are certainly worth the trip in the winter, as well as in the heat of the summer. If you’ve fished a tail water during the dog days of summer, consider shaking off the winter blues and give it a go today.
The best trout fishing flies are dead-drifting nymphs that can hit trout in the face. Make to get a good drag free drift. The trout is going to have a lot of time to decide if it wants your offering.
In addition to the aforementioned nymph midges and stones, Blue Winged Olives make early appearances on the water and can offer some dry fly action. I’ll normally fish a size 16 or 18 BWO with a tiny midge and a 12” to 18” tippet if I see some surface activity. The BWO acts as an indicator more than anything, but it will get some attention.
One of the best flies you can consider is the zebra midge in black, with a tungsten bead head. I’ve probably caught more winter fish off this pattern than any other. Tie it on to a black rubber legged stonefly and you’re in business. You can find these and thousands of other patterns at RiverBum.