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  1. #1

    Default Winter Fly Fishing

    By this time of year, I usually pack up my gear and look forward to April. However, I want to keep going with the fishing this year. I am in NJ and fish both locally and in PA.

    Does anyone fish all winter long? What flies work best and how do you stay warm?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Eastern Iowa, Southern Driftless
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    8,495

    Default Re: Winter Fly Fishing

    Very small flies are a good place to start. Midge larvae and tiny scuds work here. There are actually winter hatches on some water but I don't deal with dry flies in winter. Staying warm is a complicated subject. I dress in layers and found fold-over fishing mitts with chemical hand warmers are nice. Cherry pick the weather for your first attempt. A sunny day not much below freezing is a good place to begin to figure out the challenges. You have to be more committed to fish during winter in a cold region. Expect a sluggish bite because that is what is likely to happen most days.

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  4. #3
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Knoxville, TN
    Posts
    1,163

    Default Re: Winter Fly Fishing

    Quote Originally Posted by dipaoro View Post
    By this time of year, I usually pack up my gear and look forward to April. However, I want to keep going with the fishing this year. I am in NJ and fish both locally and in PA.

    Does anyone fish all winter long? What flies work best and how do you stay warm?
    Even though it is cold, fish still have to eat. Find out what the fish are eating on the streams you want to fish. I know down here in the south, tailwater fishing picks up as the water tends to be warmer than say some bluelines especially when it gets really cold, which isn't as often as it once was or so it seems.

    Generally speaking nymphs and streamers and getting them down to the fish work here at least.
    Mainline the blueline

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  6. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2016
    Location
    Hudsonville, Michigan
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    Default Re: Winter Fly Fishing

    Good for you! I love winter trout and Steelhead fishing here in Michigan. The streams I frequent during the winter time I don't have to wade so keep that in mind.

    As for keeping warm--avoid sweating at all costs, you want clothing that wicks moisture away from your skin. I start with a base layer of silk, followed by heavy merino wool undergarments and 2 pair of merino wool socks over silk socks. Footwear I use insulated Muck boots. For pants I use heavy wool. Upper body I use expedition weight polypropylene with a turtle neck over the merino wool and a light wool sweater over them. This what I wear to leave the house.

    Once stream side depending on the temps I'll add a heavy wool sweater and a wool vest if needed. inside the vest pockets I carry 2 air activated hand warmers and use Simm's fleece fingerless gloves. If snow and wind are a problem I'll add a rain shell jacket and wool scarf.

    I've been meaning to look into the Simm's G series of winter jackets, but that's down the road. I've been using the above mentioned clothing for years and it still works well. Don't wear cotton anything!!

    For flies I go small, scud patterns and zebra midge nymphs with a couple rainbow warriors mixed in. However there are days that Pat's Rubber legs patterns also work well. This year I'm planning on doing more streamer fishing during the winter months. My threshold for temps are anything above 28 degrees. Just not quite as young as I used to be with a toleration for colder temps.

    Denny
    Last edited by dennyk; 11-06-2019 at 09:20 AM.

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  8. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Whitefish, MT
    Posts
    392

    Default Re: Winter Fly Fishing

    I fish all winter. I pre-tie up the nymph rigs I expect to use before I head to the river and wrap them around a small piece of pool noodle. If I get tangled, snagged or tear up a fly, one or two snips of the nippers and one knot later and I am fishing. I now tie everything to either a barrel swivel or a tippet ring in the winter. Quick and easy.
    Fish are not as picky in the winter because they do not see as many flies. But they don't move to take flies either. So, the key is to really work a hole that looks fishy well.
    flyfishingnwmontana.blogspot.com

  9. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2019
    Location
    south of Joplin
    Posts
    202

    Default Re: Winter Fly Fishing

    I fish winters, started that habit in RI in the '70s. Stay warm just like you would doing anything else outside. A couple of thoughts; water is above 32F, so if the wind is -12F the water is warmer- wade a little deeper. If the guides are icing up submerge the rod, again the water is warmer than the air.
    Winters here are warm enough that I can pick mild days, with the ocean right there you should have milder winters than most of the country.
    Enjoy, winter makes up 2/3 of the fishing season.
    Last edited by trev; 11-08-2019 at 01:06 AM.

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  11. #7

    Default Re: Winter Fly Fishing

    Winter is egg season, and within egg season there are sub seasons of eggs, fresh eggs, fresh dead eggs, and old dead egg season

    Sent from my SM-N960U using Tapatalk

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  13. #8
    Join Date
    May 2009
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    Truckee, CA.
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    Default Re: Winter Fly Fishing

    Eggs?
    Each to his own.....
    To me, eggs are for people who don't know their bugs, or how to swing.
    If it got any easier.......
    the fish'd volunteer.
    Like mugging Girl Scouts for cookies.......

    Jim
    Last edited by Bigfly; 11-07-2019 at 12:13 PM.

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  15. #9

    Default Re: Winter Fly Fishing

    Quote Originally Posted by Bigfly View Post
    Eggs?
    Each to his own.....
    To me, eggs are for people who don't know their bugs, or how to swing.
    If it got any easier.......
    the fish volunteer.

    Jim
    I know my bugs, but I'd rather catch numbers and sizable fish, yesterday was a great eggsample 90% or the trout I caught cared less about my actual nymphs they wanted that egg

    Sent from my SM-N960U using Tapatalk

  16. #10
    Join Date
    May 2009
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    Truckee, CA.
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    Default Re: Winter Fly Fishing

    90% or the trout I caught cared less about my actual nymphs they wanted that egg...

    Hence the mugging for cookies comment.

    Jim
    The bar isn't set by the fish we catch, but by the one's we don't.

    Bigfly

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