Posts Tagged ‘winter fly fishing for trout’
Its been nearly three weeks since we have seen temps nearing the freezing point. The snow that fell right before Christmas is still lingering in the tops of the trees, and it appears there is no end in sight. There is not a better time to inventory ones fly selection and begin once again to refill the vacant slots in our fly boxes. However, no matter how much I love to tie, every now and then I need to refill my fishing canteen to get me through the rest of the winter. I would prefer to wait for a day that the temps reached into the thirties, but unfortunately I don’t think I can wait that long.
No matter how much layering and preparation for the cold one takes, there are simply some days that are going to freeze you to the bone. This winter I have already experienced a mild case of frostbite in which the top few layers of skin on a few of my finger tips blistered and peeled off after a week of tingling numbing sensations. The good news is they are getting back to normal and despite the ban from fishing when temps are below freezing that my wife tried to implement on me, I will be back out again very soon. I can only go so long without sharing a few moments with the beautiful trout of winter.
There is something very appealing about catching a beautiful trout whose colors are overly enhanced due to the white covered, colorless terrestrial environment we fish in. There are few times when the red stripe of a rainbow, or the blue halo of a brown look so pretty.
Fishing this time of year will surely make bystandards look on a call you the same name as the fly above (one frozen bugger), and think of you as being rightfully out of your mind. I still find much value in warming the fishing spirit when everything else is frozen. Tight lines, and try to stay warm out there!
Every year after things cool off significantly there is an increasing buzz amongst fly fishers about midges. Adult midges are the small gnat-like bugs that start to appear once things cool off. They offer the most consistent hatch every winter and trout often focus on them. The larva and pupa midges become active and fill the water columns, and not surprisingly trout feed heavily on them. Having said that, I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Trout still love large bugs, even in the winter! Its crazy, I know. I’m telling you that caddis, stonefly, and mayfly larva and nymphs still abound in rivers. They don’t mysteriously disappear every fall and reappear every spring. They are there year round, and fish feed on them constantly. Yes its true, there are many more opportunities for trout to chow on midges, but let me ask you this; when you go out to dinner at your favorite steakhouse and they bring you out a side of fries to accompany your gargantuan ribeye, do you eat the fries and leave aside the main course? So what makes you think a fish munching on midges will ignore a well presented ginormous stonefly nymph? I’m here to tell you winter is a great time to fish large patterns to lethargic, hungry fish. I believe these large morsels often entice trout to bite at times when small midges wouldn’t even get a second look by the trout. I don’t want to mislead anyone, stonefly nymphs only work well in streams that are home to stonefly nymphs, the same with mayflies and all large insects. You wouldn’t want to chuck stoneflies to tailwater trout sipping midge pupa. Midges play a very important role to both trout and fishermen, I don’t want to downplay that fact, but I do encourage you to think outside the box and continue to fish your favorite mayfly, stonefly, and caddis patterns in streams and rivers where these large insects are found.
Here are a few examples from the past few winters: