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7 Tips To Improve Your Success For Winter Fishing

Thursday, November 20, 2014

With winter upon us here in Montana, we may not be on the river everyday but we still fish when the conditions allow. As I have gotten older I choose more wisely the days I chase after trout. The thermometer has to be at least around 30 degrees for one. Fishing during the winter can be rewarding on many different levels. As fly fishing is a popular sport during the summer here in Montana, you may find yourself the only person on the river. Standing in the river surrounded by snow covered mountains is not only very peaceful but relaxing as well.

  1. Pick the warmest time of day to fish. In the winter that might mean starting around noon. The water is cold and the trout are the most active during the warmest part of the day. So go ahead and have a hot breakfast and a couple of cups of coffee before you head to the river.
  2. Good quality clothing make all the difference. I have learned the hard way that good clothing pays for itself. It may make the difference between you being able to fish in comfort or just thinking of heading back to the truck. Fleece pants, quality wool type socks, warm hat, fingerless gloves (a couple pairs in case they get wet) are all necessities.
  3. Use either Ice-off paste or cooking spray to keep ice from forming on your guides. By applying some sort of "Pam" cooking spray you won't need to de-ice your rod quite as often in colder temps. Which equals more time fishing or more chances to catch fish.
  4. Fish the slower runs and tail outs. When river temperatures drop the fish move out of the faster riffles and look for deeper pools, runs and tail outs. They don't want to work hard during the winter and will look for slowing moving water where they expend less energy.
  5. Small adjustments to your weight can make a big difference. When fishing deeper slower runs adjust your weight to locate the fish. Sometimes by adding or subtracting weight you will get into the fishes zone.
  6. Fish thoroughly. Remember that the trout are not going to move as far to eat. They do not want to expend any extra energy. Nymph fishing is the most predominate way to have success during the winter and watching your indicator closely and setting the hook on those slight ticks will result in more hook ups. When casting you may need many drifts through a particular area before you have success. Fishing slowly and thoroughly through the prime water will get you more action then covering lots of water at this time period.
  7. Keep your eye on the surface for a midge hatch. Midges hatch every month throughout the year but are most prevalent in the winter when there aren't any other insects hatching. Hitting a good midge hatch in the winter is not only rewarding but the equivalent of winning a small jackpot. Throwing dry flies to hungry trout will make anyone's day.

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