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Winter Fly Fishing


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Fire Marshal Bill

Used to fish for steelhead in upstate New York in November/December. Freeze your tail off until you had "fish on", then you didn't even know it was cold. Until you either catch and release or it got off. Then you were back to freezing until the next hit. If I was younger I'd do it again. 

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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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I would rather stand in moving water than stand on water.  I've fished when the water temp was 29 and the air temp was 26 but that was not as much fun as it's hard to cast with frozen fly line.  That being said if there is a nice day (above freezing) it's a good day on the water.  Keep your core warm, wear a good hat, wool socks and get out before you get to cold because wading can be difficult when you can't feel your toes. ;)

 

 

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I've fished steelhead on the Lake Michigan tribs where you were drifting flys and people were fishing tip ups on ice twenty yards or so away.

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As others have said, the crowds are one of the things I like best about winter finishing.

I prefer throwing dries to nymphs but enjoy both.  Winter definitely offers more nymphing, however, the midge and baetis  hatches frequently merit tying a dry on.

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mister grouse

Pretty good flyfishing in winter is many areas of the S E.  If the tailwater rivers are low, it can be good midge and bead fishing . If they are running,  the streamer fishing can be equally good.  

 

Striper fishing in lakes can be spectacular flyfishing   and at exactly this time of year when the big fish push the shad to the surface.

 

 In a very poor duck season(like this one is shaping up to be) the flyfishing options become even more appealing.

 

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I have an 8.5' 4wt orvis that was gifted to me a few years.  Don't remember the model, but I like how it throws.

 

I've never thrown a 3wt that long but it sounds fun

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I have a friend who fishes for big browns with really big streamers. He catches most of his 24 inch plus fish in the winter.  Some days are skunk,

some have a couple of chases and a few days he gets several of those big fish.  Unfortunately, I never seem to have a good day when I go.

Swampy, I have several Orvis rods and like them all.  I think the Clearwater is a great rod for the price. Don't have a 3wt though.  

 

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Wisconsin has an "early trout" season that opens the first Saturday in January; it' really the only time of year I fish for trout anymore.

It's fun to get out, because you have the whole world to yourself.  I've sort of got a self-imposed temperature limit of around 15° F.

 

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3 hours ago, browndrake said:

I have an 8.5' 4wt orvis that was gifted to me a few years.  Don't remember the model, but I like how it throws.

 

I've never thrown a 3wt that long but it sounds fun

I have a Helios H3F in 8 wt., it is one of my favorite rods.  It gets used for smallies, largemouth and small pike flies.

I have a Clearwater 11 wt. Musky rod...It's a good rod, but the action isn't my favorite for the bigger flies...too slow and soft for how I like to fish.  Lots of musky fly anglers like them though, it just doesn't suit my casting style.  I've got a custom one-piece 10 wt. from Chippewa River Custom rods that's perfect for how I fish.

 

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21 hours ago, bntsetter said:

I would rather stand in moving water than stand on water.  

 

 

My brother, who also lives in Mass., thinks I'm nuts for liking ice fishing. I tell him the only difference between ice fishing on a sunny windless day and sitting on the beach in the summer is about 60 degrees.

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1 hour ago, fishvik said:

My brother, who also lives in Mass., thinks I'm nuts for liking ice fishing. I tell him the only difference between ice fishing on a sunny windless day and sitting on the beach in the summer is about 60 degrees.

I love ice fishing but we haven’t had safe ice since I bought a gas auger 6 or so years ago.

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9 minutes ago, Swampy 16 said:

I love ice fishing but we haven’t had safe ice since I bought a gas auger 6 or so years ago.

Come on out Idaho we already have a foot or more on some lakes and reservoirs.

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38 minutes ago, fishvik said:

Come on out Idaho we already have a foot or more on some lakes and reservoirs.

That’s just nuts !

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I haven't ice fished much.  To me it is more like a tailgate party or a  picnic than a fishing trip.

It is fun.  We fish, we grill burgers, we just have fun together, from the little ones up to mom and dad.

 

I have walked down the middle of many rivers and streams that had a foot or two of ice coming out from both banks. It too is fun.

The ice fishing is about getting the family out of the house and having fun together.

The fishing is about unplugging from the world for a bit and being in nature, and also seeing if I can outsmart a fat trout.

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