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Winter Fly Fishing


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Does anyone take to the streams in the colder months? I’m not talking about Arizona in February or things of that nature. I’m talking about northern streams. Busting through ice at the streams edge, ice in your guides, ice floating by you, that kind of winter fly fishing. 

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I spend my winters here. Haven’t run into any snow or ice yet.

I got out (garden state no less) with my grouse hunting buddy and picked up my first trout in 2021.  They were refusing pretty much everything till about noon and then we had some pretty good fishing

March 2020, North Umpqua River, Oregon winter run native Steelhead.

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When I lived in Frederick Md I fished Thurmont in snow.  Constant ice in the guides and loved every second of it.  

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I spend my winters here. Haven’t run into any snow or ice yet.

7E12EF19-F24E-4CCC-93EB-E8FFC6675629.jpeg

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shoot-straight

Have not yet, but always wanted to try my hand at steelheading. NY is popular, but off limits this year. 

 

My wife and I did a quickie trip to AR's white river in February two years ago. It was awesome. 100$ flight to Little Rock. 

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Did it for decades until I moved to lower elevations.  Many mountain spring creeks and  big fast rivers rarely freeze over. 

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I used to fish steelhead in Idaho during the Jan/Feb timeframe. Usually no ice on the big river I fished, but the guides would ice up and at times I froze my tail off!

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When I lived in N Utah, I was on the rivers almost every day all year long.  There were some nasty days, when it was better off to stay home, but those cold icy days were some of the most enjoyable fishing I ever had.  Other than freezing hands, every time you caught a fish, and constantly cleaning the ice out of the guides, there were few negatives. I had a real blast and I HATE the cold!

 

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I bet Steelhead Fred can fill you in.  

 

I always found steelhead fishing in the winter brutal if you're not up for it and drifting flies wasn't my bag. Not good at it.  I had a number of rivers close to me when I was in Traverse City but used to go up to the Two Hearted in the U.P. in late winter mostly.  

 

Don't tell anyone but I caught more steelhead drifting a nightcrawler then flies or even spawn.  But again, its a secret so don't be going posting that on the internet.  

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I’ve done a lot of winter fly fishing and love it. I’m a nymph fisherman 99% of the time so it comes natural to me. I plan to do a bit this year as I haven’t in the last 6 or so. What do you guys do to keep your feet warm? I’m probably gonna order a GOOD pair of heated socks. They’re a must on most days. The winter fishing in some of the streams here in Jersey can be spectacular. 

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Yes, enjoyable time of the year to be alone on a favored stream. One of my most memorable experiences was standing in a creek in January watching a snow squall being channeled up the stream by all the overhanging hemlocks, envelope me for a few moments and move on. Awe inspiring. 

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I'll happily go after winter steelhead (and spring-creek trout) when it's above freezing.

 

But ice in the guides is a sign from above that it's too cold to fish.

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Fishing on the South Fork of the Snake and the Henry's Fork are good with wet midges and nymphs and you even get some midge hatches. Personally though during Dec I enjoy fishing Henrys Lake for big cutts through the ice and kokanee through the ice on Mackay or Ririe Res.in Jan. and Feb. Best eating salmonids you can get.

14 inch Mackay Koke (2).jpg

Henry's cut 121217 (3).jpg

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If its above 30 degrees and sunny I'll fish. I was just fishing the Missouri last week. Nice to to fight the crowds in winter

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I'm in Minnesota, weather permitting I will fish every month of the year. Driftless region is small water so you can do a lot of fishing without getting wet.

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I trout fish here in VA year round. Dip me rod tips into the streams to melt the ice in Jan and Feb. Catch some big browns then ...

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