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Winter fly fishing: 5 things I’ll bet you didn’t know

Did you know that you could fly fish in the winter? There are lots of hard core anglers who do just that and relive the wonders of a Jack London book in their own back yard.

Winter time is a great time for camping, and the only thing that I have found to be more solemn than the sound of winter snowflakes falling gently on the canvas of my military surplus tent is the hush they bring when falling quietly in the purple morning on a mountain stream. Here are 5 thing I’ll bet you didn’t know;

1. Bugs hatch all winter long. Any sunny days in the winter there will actually be very small midges that have been lying dormant. During a winter hatch, trout will do what is called “selective feeding”, in other words they’ll focus on a certain food and won’t vary from it. This is a good time to fish your midge flies.

  1. Another fact of winter fishing is that many if not most of your fly fisherman are “fair weather” fisherman, (or at least warm weather fisherman), and you will find that the trout streams are quite barren of competition in the winter months, while the trout themselves are much more approachable because they haven’t been pressured.
  2. Unexperienced fly fisherman don’t realize and know that steelhead actually run the rivers, in the tributaries, in late fall or early winter, and this results in this being the best time for steelhead even though in the spring time they make their way out of the rivers.
  3. Of course winter fishing also comes with its obstacles, and one of the biggest obstacles is ice forming on your fly rod guides, so you have to be concerned about breaking the ice off. There are some things you can do to help combat that like placing Vaseline on the guides and applying commercial line dressing to keep your line from freezing.
  4. Fishing in the winter can be made much more enjoyable by wearing a good pair of insulated stockings in your waders and stacking a few layers of fleece pants over your legs to create dead air space. With a good pair of wool or thinsulate stockings you can wade all day long and hit every hole that you need to.
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