Winter Fishing for Rainbows

AM I MAD????


That said, winter fishing is often about reduced expectations, you're usually not going to run into loads of fish feeding on the surface the way you might in June, and no trout are going to charge down your lure in the way a spawn-enraged brown will in October. I always head out into the cold with the goal of catching a single trout; anything else is a bonas. That way, if I catch three, I feel like I've hit the jackpot.


 There are two keys to winter fishing: picking the right days and slowing everything down. In general, you don't want to be on the water when it's bitter cold out. It's no fun for you, and the fish can be extremely sluggish. Ideally, you want a day that's part of a warming trend, so if you see the temps heading upward, plan a day to fish.


Winter fishing is almost exclusively a buzzer/ nymphs game for me, with a light leader under an indicator. I have never worried about matching specific patterns, choosing instead to go with generalist nymphs, such as a Hare's Ear, black buzzer, olive buzzer, or Pheasant Tail. And because fish aren't willing to move very far to eat your offering, fish a two-fly line. Two patterns in the water means a better chance of bumping a fish in the nose with one of them. Winter trout usually hold in deeper water, work slowly, making a lot of casts through each piece of water left to right. It's amazing that you can fish through a spot 20 times without the slightest bump, only to have the indicator dive on the 21st pass.



But don't leave home without a few winter dry flies. About two or three years after I caught that first trout on the loch, I was fishing a small dry with a size sixteen buzzer on the point, when I was shocked again by the sight of several trout rising at the reed area on the left hand side. These were the first winter risers I'd come across. Luckily, I had a few Griffith's Gnats in my vest, and I managed to take one of the trout by swinging the fly just under the surface. This was another proud moment in my maturation as an angler. Or if in doubt, get the big fat lure out..... 



This wouldn't be a proper article on winter fishing if it didn't discuss preparing for the cold. But I'm guessing that you're smart enough to put on a coat, hat, and gloves when it's freezing out. Am I right? Layer up, and most importantly, keep your body dry. One little leak can be more than an inconvenience when it's really cold out.