Many fly fisherman hangup our waders and put away our fly rods at the first sign of winter. But if you can handle colder temps and snow covered banks you may just be in for the best fishing of the year. While many anglers are headed to the basement to spend the next few months to watch fishing shows or reorganizing their fly box many of us have cracked the code on the best time to fish.Not only does winter bring you the chance to have your favorite fishing hole all to your self but it can offer some of the best views. Just picture your favorite river covered in snow and your the only soul their fishing.
Winter can be one of the best times to fish but it can be the most technically demanding also. As the temperatures drop the fishes metabolism slows down and they don’t chase flies that they normal would go after in the summer. Those bright snow covered banks that can be so beautiful to look at can also be your enemy they can reflect more sun light and exaggerate shadows making it easier for the trout to see you.
We also have to think about what changes have come to the river, the fish have now lost much of their cover. Trees that hang over the banks are now bare and the water levels in many streams have now become lower along with becoming much clearer. Leaving few spots for fish to hide. This in turn makes it easier for them to see us. We now must look for them next to log jams, rocks, eddies and deep pools.
Now if you have spotted the fish you need to stay out of sight. Now you need to choose the right tippet most people do the wrong thing in winter go smaller when you should actually go bigger So size up your tippet. When it comes to flies I rarely use dries unless I see a hatch. Winter hatches, do happen but the trouts diet even in summer is still 50 midges. So I Nymph, Nymph, Nymph. My go to flies are zebra midge, primrose & pearl, pheasant tail, prince nymph and so on.