During the past week we saw very little rain, cooler temperatures then normal and the first frost of the year.
Winter fishing for trout is a great time of the year, the weather is generally very settled and we have the opportunity to sight fish for some trophy fish. Monday Rhuan and i decided to go for a quick afternoon fish. We arrived at the dam at 4:30 and were welcomed with great conditions. A slight breeze, a water temp of 12 degrees and a fair number of fish feeding of the service on a pretty decent mayfly hatch, had all the right ingredients for an action packed session.
We fished lightly weighted olive red eye damsels in sizes 12 -14 for most part of the afternoon which proofed to be very successful. We did change to dries and despite the first frost terrestrial patterns are still working with Dave’s hopper being very effective. Terrestrials are large tempting insects and can very often draw bigger fish! A small nymph below a dry fly as a dropper tied to the bend of the hook with 30-35 cm between them can also be effective. Winter fishing requires persistence and sometimes alot of patience, so remember to slow everything down and then some more.
Rods in the 4-6wt range, with matching intermediate and floating fly lines are ideal for fishing nymphs. A slow, steady hand twist retrieve with the occasional side to side twitch of the rod tip to imitate a struggling insect is usually all that is needed to attract the attention of a cruising trout. Fish these patterns close to and around weed beds.
For dry fly fishing, fly rods in the 3-5wt range will be the preferred rods. A floating line, a 4x 9 foot tapered leader and a 5 foot tippet in the 4x, 5x range will do. In wind, you’ll want a shorter leader, and on calm water you might need to go longer and finer. If the water surface is calm and the insect you’re matching small, you might lengthen your leader to 14-16 feet.
Best times to fish is early morning and late afternoon, midday can get slow. Flies that have worked well include Pheasant Tail Nymphs, red eye damsels and Dragon fly imitations. White deaths and small dry fly patterns such as CDC caddis, elk hair caddis and humpy’s have also accounted for many trout.
Tight lines and happy fishing.