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Old 11-13-2010, 07:52 AM
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Default Winter Fishing, Essential Flies and Lines?

This is kind of a three part question. I fish primarily in New Jersey, and I'm within an hour drive of the Musky, Pequest, and South Branch of the Raritan. I currently have a 8'6, 5 weight, with floating line. What other lines should I have in my pack? Which brands are solid?

My fly box is also a work in progress, I have a couple of dry flies, some wooly buggers, egg patterns, scuds etc. I had a bunch of prince nymphs but I lost a bunch of them snagged up on the bottom.
What are the essential patterns I should have in my box?

Lastly, I am planning on fishing throughout the winter, what tactics do I need to employ to have a little success? Everything I am reading is telling me that trout will not feed under 50 degrees. The rivers near me are in the 40's but I still see guys pulling them out.

Thanks in advance for the advice.
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Old 11-13-2010, 09:00 AM
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Default Re: Winter Fishing, Essential Flies and Lines?

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I currently have a 8'6, 5 weight, with floating line. What other lines should I have in my pack? Which brands are solid?
I would have at least one sink tip line. In regards to the length of the tip and the sink rate, let your local outfitter help you with that.

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What are the essential patterns I should have in my box?
Generally winter bugs are small. You should have Baetis and midge nymphs and dries with you. Consult your local outfitter for the flies that work.

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Lastly, I am planning on fishing throughout the winter, what tactics do I need to employ to have a little success?
When it comes to winter fishing, the important thing is to get your fly on the fish's nose. Most fish won't expend a lot of energy to chase down a meal in colder temperatures.

Attack seamlines and pools hard. Dead drift flies right on the seamline. Swing a fly using the sink tip into pools.

MP
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Old 11-13-2010, 09:10 AM
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Default Re: Winter Fishing, Essential Flies and Lines?

Stop in Shannons Fly Shop in Califon. Those guys are very knowledgeable and will be more than happy to help you.
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Old 11-13-2010, 09:10 AM
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Default Re: Winter Fishing, Essential Flies and Lines?

I can't speak for the fisheries that you mentioned but I do most of my fishing in the winter months, I row a boat for others to fish during the spring, summer and fall. Hopefully someone who is familiar with the rivers you mentioned will chime into the conversation and provide you with any specifics for those rivers.

My general advice is that you can stick with just your floating line for most of your fishing. Nymphing is typically the best approach to fishing during the winter months. A dry line set up with an indicator and two nymphs is how I fish 98 % of the time during the winter. With the cold water fish are going to be less likely to move a great distance for a fly so running nymphs past them typically draws the best response. I have had success fishing streamers during the winter but that is usually a rare day and in general my most productive fishing takes place with the nymphs. Fish still eat many of the same insects that they do during the summer but out west midge larvae and midge pupae are very important flies to keep in your box. I also use stonefly nymphs, princes, pheasant tails and worm patterns throughout the winter.

The most important part of winter fishing is having the right gear to make it comfortable to be out there. Getting cold takes away from the fun of being out on the water, having the right gear is essential. Your feet are most likely going to be on the short end of the stick for staying warm. I use Patagonia's heavy weight capilene socks along with a pair of boot foot waders to combat the cold. The boot foot waders give your feet more room to move around and for air to circulate inside of the boot. This helps keep feet much warmer. If you cram your foot into a lace up boot and restrict the flow of air your feet with get very cold. I have two pairs of boot foot waders. One has a breathable fabric and the other is good ole fashion neoprene. I use the breathable waders if I know that I am going to be hiking around a lot. If I know that I am going to be floating in a boat of sitting in one spot most of the day I will wear the Neoprene waders. Neoprene does provide a great insulating layer but if you are going to be hiking around enough to sweat than you will get damp in a pair of neoprene's. Once your damp you will start to get cold. The breathable waders allow the perspiration to escape the waders thus keeping you dry. A good pair of heavy fleece pants can give you the insulating layer inside the breathable waders that will make it comfortable.

Other than these few words of advice you just have to keep in mind that your typically can't fish from sun up to sundown during the winter. Concentrate your efforts to fishing during the second half of the day when it is going to be the warmest. I have had many great days of fishing during the winter and the best part is you will not have as many people competing for the same water as you do in the summer. Good luck and enjoy.
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Old 11-16-2010, 06:31 PM
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Default Re: Winter Fishing, Essential Flies and Lines?

Thanks for the advice everyone. The help is much appreciated.
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Old 11-16-2010, 07:06 PM
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Default Re: Winter Fishing, Essential Flies and Lines?

Get some small pheasant tail nymphs (#16 and #18), #20 Zebra midges, andsome #12 and #14 gold ribbed hare's ear nymphs. The GRHE's can be used as the lead fly, with one of the other two tied onto the back (use a 16" length of 5X/6X tippet tied to the bend of the GRHE. You can use an indicator of some sort until you get a feel for the light takes. I like to use a foam hopper as I've had trout hit hookless indicators, and that's no fun. Wooley Buggers have always worked well for me in the coldest of winter months, and I like #10 and #12 sizes. Green Weenies always work, and I have a box just for that fly.

Here's a stream report for the South Branch of the Raritan, from Orvis's website: http://www.orvis.com/fishing_report....ocationid=7364
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Old 11-17-2010, 12:38 AM
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Default Re: Winter Fishing, Essential Flies and Lines?

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Originally Posted by FrankB2 View Post
Get some small pheasant tail nymphs (#16 and #18), #20 Zebra midges, andsome #12 and #14 gold ribbed hare's ear nymphs. The GRHE's can be used as the lead fly, with one of the other two tied onto the back (use a 16" length of 5X/6X tippet tied to the bend of the GRHE. You can use an indicator of some sort until you get a feel for the light takes. I like to use a foam hopper as I've had trout hit hookless indicators, and that's no fun. Wooley Buggers have always worked well for me in the coldest of winter months, and I like #10 and #12 sizes. Green Weenies always work, and I have a box just for that fly.

Here's a stream report for the South Branch of the Raritan, from Orvis's website: South Branch Raritan River | New Jersey Fly Fishing Reports & Conditions
great inf, thanks for your share.
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Old 11-17-2010, 09:11 AM
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Default Re: Winter Fishing, Essential Flies and Lines?

Great questions and answers. But during winter fishing with a 5Wt rod and a floating line , what size tippet and leader is best for fishing nymps with waieht. Is it better to go heavier than other seasons.
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Old 11-17-2010, 10:22 AM
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Default Re: Winter Fishing, Essential Flies and Lines?

Use the same leader and tippet strategy as you would for the rest of the year. Match your tippet to the size of the fly. Big flies use larger tippet. Smaller flies use finer tippet.

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