First Winter Fishing Experience

Bam Boozelled

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This will be my first winter attempting to fish. Had no luck for the couple hours I was there, but excited for the challenge. Hey if anyone has any tips on winter trout and bass Id love to hear it.

It is defiantly a different experience.



 
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kentuckysteve

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Welcome to the forum Bam Boozled.

I have not winter fished for a lot of trout but i like bass fishing ponds and lakes in the winter.Seems no one is out fishing but me most days.The key i have found is to slow everything down.Slow retrieve will do better than ripping the fly through the water.No need to get out early.Let the sun warm the water and the largemouth will be more active.Fish deep and very slow.I fish small weighted streamers or weighted crayfish patterns and let them sink to the bottom then let them sit.Once you move them just move them a tiny bit then let them sit again.The largemouth will not move a lot to get the fly but if you can slowly drag the fly into his zone he will usually strike.They won't feed as much in winter so don't expect the aggressive bite that you see in summer and don't expect the numbers of fish caught either.They will be deep and not roaming the banks as they do in summer in warmer water so a weighted fly or a sink tip will help get you to the strike zone.

For smallmouth i fish small streamers or baitfish pattrerns.I do pretty good with small articulated streamers.Unlike the largemouth bass these bass will usually hang to the rock walls and ledges and suspend there so once you locate the depth try to maintain it.I use a countdown once the fly hits the water.Use a steady retrieve and fish slow.Smallmouth will school in places so if you catch one don't hesitate to try the same spot again.The hardest problem i have with smallmouth bass is locating them.The largemouth bass are usually hugging some type of cover on the bottom such as rocks or underwater brush or trees that have fallen and extend into the water.For either type bass patience is the key.If you are fishing slow and feel like its boring you to death then you are doing it right.

This is how i do it in KY.Your AZ waters may not get as cold as ours but the methods are probably pretty close for winter bass.
 

trev

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Steve mostly covered it with the word "patience". I'll add that to compensate for the slow fish and the deep, more or less blind fishing, you need to go more often and stay longer than summer or fall.
Fish any kind of structure fish will be out of the brisk currents.
I don't notice trout here being much different in summer and winter, the water being ten or fifteen degrees colder may slow them down but they eat every day I think. Here in the Ozarks we often have little insects hatching in midwinter, but I tend to fish deeper most days, Monday it was a scud day. Many guys here fish jigs under corks about all winter-something I don't know how to do, every time I've tried it the fish laughed at me.
When I lived in the NE I fished heavy nymphs and sparse streamers in winter, both deep and both slowly.
 

Bam Boozelled

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Thanks @kentuckysteve didn't know where to start haha, been doing a lot of reading though. As a new fly fisherman (July this year) I have been soaking it up here so far. Just wish I would have found the forum earlier this year haha.

Appreciate the responses guys, I'm going to head out to water Im more familiar with in regards to structure to give me a better chance. Low and Slow. That defiantly gives me somewhere start. I currently just have a floating line, but I picked up a 12' fast sink versileader and I have a unweighted craw pattern and some smaller leech/woolly's I could try as well. I think the biggest part for me is truly letting it sink and settle on the bottom and just being patience!
 

ia_trouter

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Welcome to the forum Bam Boozled. A lot of good advice already. My Iowa winter advice wouldn't be much good. The bass just about go dormant here most of the winter. It's very slow and deepish presentation, and usually smaller until they "hibernate" here.
 

Bam Boozelled

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Thanks for the welcome and the really good info, that defiantly gives me somewhere to start. I am still new to fly fishing (July 2019) and completely new to winter fishing. I just have a floating line currently but I figure I can use my ex fast sinking versileader with a cray pattern and I will try some small leeches/streamers. Awesome stuff looking forward to the challenge, makes for greater reward!

I feel like the key thing for me to keep in mind is to really slow down, letting it rest on the bottom will be very different from anything I've tried so far. Even casting the weighted versileader feels completely backwards to me haha.

I'm in Northern Arizona (8000ft) where we do have a full winter where most water bodies will eventually freeze over. I dont think it really gets thick enough to ice fish though.
 

dennyk

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Hi Bam Boozled and welcome to the forum! As I type this I'm waiting on the outdoor temps to gain a couple degrees and I'm off to the trout stream. I don't do any bass fishing through the winter months, just Brown Trout and Steelhead. If you do try trout, go small and slow, I rarely use anything larger then a size 16 nymph. For tippet nothing heavier then 6X fluoro. Good Luck with your new adventures!

:welcome:

Denny
 

jayr

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In winter, see if there are any tailwater options available for you.

Around where I fish, the freestones get to the point they get really slow when it gets cold whereas some of the tailwater rivers get somewhat warmer water that make the fish a bit more active.
 

Bam Boozelled

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In winter, see if there are any tailwater options available for you.
I'm in Flagstaff, Az. (8000ft above sea level) where Oak Creek, Sedona Az. is my only close freestone moving water source, aside from that I'm looking at high mountain lake shore fishing. The lakes are dammed but not flowing they just open and close them occasionally depending on the levels of the lake. There is not a constant flow from them.

Lee's Ferry and Silver Creek are within my range but thats 3hr drive stuff. I want to start at those locations this coming spring/summer just to give me a better chance.

Thanks again everyone for the nice welcome and all the responses, kinda surprised tbh. :)
 

strmanglr scott

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One of my most memorable trout fishing trips was in the winter.

A friend and I met up at a local river. It was in the high 20s temp wise, partly sunny w occasional snow(big soft flakes). It was incredible just for the scenery. We didn't do great until we hit our last corner before turning around and just started to slay browns. They were just little guys but it nicely capped the day.

It was a great day, but anymore I don't fish under freezing temps. I get cold just way too easy, especially my hands and I can't stand wearing gloves.

Sorry I don't have any advice based on experience. But I would think after December, get out on a day it's a touch warmer than it has been, sun out maybe melting some snow, is gonna be a better day.
 

okiekev

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Great pictures! As far as winter advice... most bonefishing locations are a little nicer this time of year!
 
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