Winter Fly Fishing

okaloosa

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for me, as was previously suggested, pre tying nymph rigs is the most important thing I do for serious winter fishing.
my fingers get too cold to tie the #22-#26 nymphs that I normally fish......so, as the other poster suggested, use 2mm rings and just
attach your pre tied rigs to that.....I even have some shot on the pre tied leader...the less I have to do at the stream the more time I have to fish and the less frustration when I drop a #24 nymph into the snow or water...
this is the best bargain i have found and actually well built:
16Pcs Round EVA Foam Reels Bobbins Spools Carp Fishing Rigs Winding Board Red | eBay
 

patrick62

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The Troutbitten website has some excellent suggestions for effective and relatively inexpensive winter wear.

Jan. 1, 2019 -- It was about 44 degrees and partly sunny, and not a lick of snow anywhere. So I fished a little blue line for a couple hours, until we had one of those abrupt changes of weather.

In winter, I take it when and where I can get it, and keep a minimal kit ready to go. But not in the car. It doesn't do anything any good to be frozen and thawed, frozen and thawed over and over again.
 

dipaoro

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I have been looking into socks. Seems my wife discarded all of our ski socks from many years ago. On Amazon, these socks are around $15 a pair and rise to the knee. I do like this idea as the water a few inches above this height. The water is 38 - 42F right now. My feet get cold easily. I have all of the bases covered and this is the last one. Appreciate all of the comments and thoughts on a brand name sock or link to to Amazon. I want to buy these today.

Happy Thanksgiving to all as well.
 

dipaoro

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The Troutbitten website has some excellent suggestions for effective and relatively inexpensive winter wear.

Jan. 1, 2019 -- It was about 44 degrees and partly sunny, and not a lick of snow anywhere. So I fished a little blue line for a couple hours, until we had one of those abrupt changes of weather.

In winter, I take it when and where I can get it, and keep a minimal kit ready to go. But not in the car. It doesn't do anything any good to be frozen and thawed, frozen and thawed over and over again.
This is perfect (Troutbitten site) and good reading....
 

ia_trouter

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So, winter fishing in the upper Midwest means scuds, which really look like an attractor/egg pattern at times. Give the trout what they want.

I don't wear gloves. Ever. They get wet and get in the way. I carry a hunting muff with disposable hand warmers in them. Works well enough.

Socks - layering matters. I'm pretty mobile in the winter, so standing around int he river in one spot is not the norm. I actually dress breathable/wicking and light because of being mobile and not wanting to get wet and get cold.

Just two cents and works for me.

D.A.
You lost me at, "I don't wear gloves ever". I've at least borderline frost bit my index fingers a time or three and no gloves would mean no winter fishing for this guy. You Viking people are just cold weather tough lol. It's foldover mitts for me and I will have a chemical heater with me just in case. They make winter fishing a lot more enjoyable for me. No gloves, and no chance I am tying on the little flies necessary when it's below freezing.
 

ontheflymn

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I didn't say I was trying to fool trout in sub-zero temperatures. :). I'd be back at the bench filling up my Perfect Driftless Flies box instead!

I will say that once your hands get used to the cold, and the occasional touch up from chemical heaters, they are fine. I just find gloves while trying to fly fish way too cumbersome and a pain. The hunting muff works extremely well, IMO.
 

ia_trouter

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I didn't say I was trying to fool trout in sub-zero temperatures. :). I'd be back at the bench filling up my Perfect Driftless Flies box instead!

I will say that once your hands get used to the cold, and the occasional touch up from chemical heaters, they are fine. I just find gloves while trying to fly fish way too cumbersome and a pain. The hunting muff works extremely well, IMO.
Gloves are a hassle for sure and that is why I like the foldover mitts. I'm not fishing much below 20F anyway. The fish are generally not active enough to keep my mind off fighting frozen guides. My fingers were victimized by bad army winter gear for most of my career. There is no fixing that. I'll stand by my assertion you northern and Viking folk are tough though. My wife's family is from Brainerd and some of them are constantly running around wearing shorts and flip flops at inappropriate temps lol.
 

Bigfly

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IA Trouter is right..
Coming down hard is poor style.
There was a time, when I caught fish as if they were all for me, and were lower life forms....so why not?
Now I have a better take I think, and feel for the fish. I have fished bait, cranked spinners, floated worms and eggs instead of flies..
I was a consumer.
Now I root for the (wild) fish, not just have my way. As I say, the better you fish, the more you are responsible for the watershed.
I help folks understand the beauty of the ecosystem and wild ways.
And, perhaps not to abuse them just to scratch our itch. I see that a lot.
I really rooted for bugs because, I have embraced the art of the fly.
The bar is now set higher for me.
That may be the definition of a elitist POS. but wanted those taking up the fly (the begginers lurking)...to hear that eggs/worms is just the start, not the eventual goal.
My personal guide, is to fish what I find in my bug seine. What's on the menu?
Never have seined up eggs.
Plenty of worms though.......!
Glad you liked the photo...going to start looking that way tomorrow!!!
Winter is here......for 4+months...
I recommend leg warmers for winter as always.....it's my secret help.

Jim
 

okaloosa

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I like catching fish and I dont like the cold...so if it takes squirmy worms or otter eggs to catch fish in the winter I will do it because in my world
the best way to stay warm fishing is to be fighting a fish.
 

ia_trouter

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IA Trouter is right..
Coming down hard is poor style.
There was a time, when I caught fish as if they were all for me, and were lower life forms....so why not?
Now I have a better take I think, and feel for the fish. I have fished bait, cranked spinners, floated worms and eggs instead of flies..
I was a consumer.
Now I root for the (wild) fish, not just have my way. As I say, the better you fish, the more you are responsible for the watershed.
I help folks understand the beauty of the ecosystem and wild ways.
And, perhaps not to abuse them just to scratch our itch. I see that a lot.
I really rooted for bugs because, I have embraced the art of the fly.
The bar is now set higher for me.
That may be the definition of a elitist POS. but wanted those taking up the fly (the begginers lurking)...to hear that eggs/worms is just the start, not the eventual goal.
My personal guide, is to fish what I find in my bug seine. What's on the menu?
Never have seined up eggs.
Plenty of worms though.......!
Glad you liked the photo...going to start looking that way tomorrow!!!
Winter is here......for 4+months...
I recommend leg warmers for winter as always.....it's my secret help.

Jim
.... we've had our cooling off period now lol. We should be able to chat about this subject.

It's just in the delivery, you know that Jim. Say it wrong, and you (we) are indeed an elitist POS lol. I've been in trouble a couple times here for the beading/snagging trout and salmon rant. Is it any of my business what others do? No I 'spose it isn't, but here is my story and why I don't care for the easiest tactics when that becomes the only tactic.......

All, and I do mean ALL of my fly time on quality cold water was with my favorite elitist POS fishing buddy from Alaska,. He's a MOD here ya know lol. He's got opinions and after weeks with him some of them rubbed off. Things like let's not do absolutely everything the easiest way possible. He didn't say that, but he walks the example in everything he does on the water. Luckily I was an easy student because I was previously an elitist POS spin fisherman who wouldn't dream of using bait for game fish, or killing them for that matter. Baitcasters and cool giant lures for me.

Anyway, fast forward to AK and it's mostly private with extreme effort to make it that way. Run across a few gear chuckers and zero fly fisherman. The third trip is more casual. I hang out with Ard at his cabin and we do some work. Towards the end he takes me an a couple day whirlwind tour to much of the the famous water on the Kenai peninsula. We dabble around a few spots along the highway. We end up on the confluence of the Russian and Kenai River. Some seriously famous fly fishing water if there ever was any. Ard told me I needed to stand in the "Congo Line" for a bit. I didn't actually know WTH that means but I'm game. It means a line of fly fisherman standing 25 feet apart. Why not, I can finally meet some of my "own kind" in AK. Actual fly fisherman. What an epic letdown that was. I recall one gal throwing an actual fly. The rest were tossing costume beads and trying to snag a salmon on a fly rod. Folks from all over the world and I just didn't "get it". It's like they got rigged up exactly the same at a local fly shop and didn't know anything else. Perhaps they did?

Here comes the brag.... In my brief time in AK I've caught four of the five salmon species that swim AK. I am short a chum salmon to complete the set. A LOT of decent rainbows but nothing huge, but nicer than stocker bows at home for sure. The water was drought stricken most of the time. Every fish caught on a real fly by a guy that isn't particularly experienced in this method. Yeah I had a skilled guide or it wouldn't have happened. I'm not particularly put off by nymphs on bobbers or even egg patterns. I don't have to love all the methods but they are flies IMO. There is some line somewhere though. One should strive to set the bar a little higher IMO. It's OK if you don't agree.

Back to winter fishing. :) Treat yourself to a base layer. My Polartec base layer is pretty much nylon looking leotards, leg warmers, yoga pants, whatever you want to call them. You're missing out if you don't get some. Tops AND bottoms. No bulk and so effective.
 

Bigfly

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BTW..although maybe only a photo geek will understand...
The winter photo was a one and done.
He is a guide buddy. I knew he would hook up, and that was the only warm spot for over a hundred yards. (When it's very cold the trees are loaded and droopy, we will seek sun like snakes.)
As an ex-press photographer, it is nice to still see the shot coming and be ready for a singular moment in all of time. Zen.
Shoot 1 frame.
Not posed, peak action, perfectly exposed and framed inside the camera, no edit or photoshop.
I confess, I shoot for perfection (Rarely attained) in everything, not just fishing...
Probably annoying to everyone but me, and those similarly afflicted by the muse.
Even though perfection is not required to live a life. And who can say what is perfect? Could just be a question of style......

As an early holiday gift, I will once again share the winter fishing secret I use all winter l-o-n-g. Sorry if it's your tenth time..
I use 1.5 to 2X the length of my rod in fly line. 7ft or 11ft rod, it doesn't matter.
Add a 9ft leader..tie on fly. Dry, soft hackle, nymph..or streamer.
Lock the line off on the corks and hold with the fleece/neoprene gloves that let one finger out.....ha.
Roll cast, whatever...just get rid of that "other hand" (put it in your warm pocket). Cover water by moving, not throwing more line.
I fish without icing until the line runs through the guides. Which doesn't happen until I hook up and he/she takes line, and I take it back. Unless they are smaller, then I don't give any line....just walk them a bit...
Have fished well below 0deg for many years, with no issues. As long as the water runs downhill it's fish-able, unless a warm spell, and we get a shore-ice hatch.....
We don't stop fishing at all up here till next summer when flows are low and warm, and pestered.

And just to be clear....I'm not saying you SHOULD winter fish...
judgmentally, just that you can...and at times, it's perfect.

I've heard WY. gets snow too....it just blows east.

Edit...and please don't quote this rant....blue is becoming my least fav color.


Jim
 
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dipaoro

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Well, I did try the winter fishing once so far. I was perfectly warm except for my feet. Just invested in Smartwook Hunting Extra Heavy OTC Socks. Dicks had a nice sale going on for them. Will be trying this again before EOY.
 

eastfly66

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.... we've had our cooling off period now lol. We should be able to chat about this subject.

It's just in the delivery, you know that Jim. Say it wrong, and you (we) are indeed an elitist POS lol. I've been in trouble a couple times here for the beading/snagging trout and salmon rant. Is it any of my business what others do? No I 'spose it isn't, but here is my story and why I don't care for the easiest tactics when that becomes the only tactic.......

All, and I do mean ALL of my fly time on quality cold water was with my favorite elitist POS fishing buddy from Alaska,. He's a MOD here ya know lol. He's got opinions and after weeks with him some of them rubbed off. Things like let's not do absolutely everything the easiest way possible. He didn't say that, but he walks the example in everything he does on the water. Luckily I was an easy student because I was previously an elitist POS spin fisherman who wouldn't dream of using bait for game fish, or killing them for that matter. Baitcasters and cool giant lures for me.

Anyway, fast forward to AK and it's mostly private with extreme effort to make it that way. Run across a few gear chuckers and zero fly fisherman. The third trip is more casual. I hang out with Ard at his cabin and we do some work. Towards the end he takes me an a couple day whirlwind tour to much of the the famous water on the Kenai peninsula. We dabble around a few spots along the highway. We end up on the confluence of the Russian and Kenai River. Some seriously famous fly fishing water if there ever was any. Ard told me I needed to stand in the "Congo Line" for a bit. I didn't actually know WTH that means but I'm game. It means a line of fly fisherman standing 25 feet apart. Why not, I can finally meet some of my "own kind" in AK. Actual fly fisherman. What an epic letdown that was. I recall one gal throwing an actual fly. The rest were tossing costume beads and trying to snag a salmon on a fly rod. Folks from all over the world and I just didn't "get it". It's like they got rigged up exactly the same at a local fly shop and didn't know anything else. Perhaps they did?

Here comes the brag.... In my brief time in AK I've caught four of the five salmon species that swim AK. I am short a chum salmon to complete the set. A LOT of decent rainbows but nothing huge, but nicer than stocker bows at home for sure. The water was drought stricken most of the time. Every fish caught on a real fly by a guy that isn't particularly experienced in this method. Yeah I had a skilled guide or it wouldn't have happened. I'm not particularly put off by nymphs on bobbers or even egg patterns. I don't have to love all the methods but they are flies IMO. There is some line somewhere though. One should strive to set the bar a little higher IMO. It's OK if you don't agree.

Back to winter fishing. :) Treat yourself to a base layer. My Polartec base layer is pretty much nylon looking leotards, leg warmers, yoga pants, whatever you want to call them. You're missing out if you don't get some. Tops AND bottoms. No bulk and so effective.
Can we see a picture of you wearing your leotards, leg warmers and yoga pants ? :)
 

ia_trouter

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Can we see a picture of you wearing your leotards, leg warmers and yoga pants ? :)
That's a little creepy Paul. This will be the last time I send you pics dressed in leotards OK? :D
Halloween2015.jpg

PS, I'm fun at Halloween parties if there's enough beer. I let my kid take this pic and she's made me regret it since. I have no shame left to worry about once this hit social media.
 

LandoLando

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Went fishing on Black Friday in heavy snowfall. I thought the snow and wind would make the fish pretty active, but even at my honey hole, the fishing was pretty slow. I caught a couple of small browns, one 8 inches and the other about 14. My friend got skunked. Still good to get out there.

 

LandoLando

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Just did some fishing up in Idaho in some pretty harsh winter conditions and we did very well. The snow fall and low wind made for ideal conditions. We nymphed in the dark from 7pm to midnight and caught several each including the hog my friend is holding in the photo below.




We woke up to almost 6” of snow, and it was still coming down:



The fishing that morning was just as hot as the night before, catching several large rainbows every hour.


 
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WVUPSC

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New member here.... I enjoy winter fishing. The best day I ever had fly fishing was on the winter solstice a few years ago. I use tiny baetis nymphs for the most part. And I have found that the most active time of the day is when the sun is overhead. In the narrow valleys I tend to fish, that’s like from 9:30 to 2:30. Once the sun goes over the hill, the activity dies off quickly...and I start to get much colder.
 

dpnoll48

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Lando, that looks like a Kirkham Springbar. Outstanding tents. Winter fishing in the Driftless is fun "cause there ain't no skeeters".
 

LandoLando

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Yes that’s a kirkhams. I bet the mosquitos up there are pretty serious. We don’t really get a whole lot of mosquitos here throughout most of the year. Early summer we will get some.

Lando, that looks like a Kirkham Springbar. Outstanding tents. Winter fishing in the Driftless is fun "cause there ain't no skeeters".
 
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