Fly Fishing in the Colder Months

Bart Beasley winter fishing

If your need to continue fishing isn’t halted by frigid temperatures, ice, or snow, fly fishing during the winter season can be as rewarding as the optimal months. So long as your local river or stream isn’t completely frozen over, many cold-water fish, like trout, tend to appear in large schools setting up an ideal fishing environment. In order to make the most of your winter fishing trip, there are a few strategies to take into consideration beforehand.

Effective Bait

It’s important to remember that the colder water physically slows down a lot of fish. Much like us human beings, their laziness may increase once the snow starts to fall and the temperatures begin to drop. With that said, you’ll want to cast a line with bait that effectively attracts whatever type of fish you’re searching for. Larger, slow-moving lures may appear as easy targets to fish that would prefer to remain immobile, thus inspiring them to at least make an attempt.

Another tactic that may help is keeping the bait warm. Fish need to be convinced that what they’re going after is alive, not a cold piece of rubber. While this may be difficult given the cold water, fish have thermoreceptors giving them the ability to sense a change in water temperature. Warming the lure in your hands, pockets, or heating pads before casting is all it takes for a potential catch to sense a slight rise in temperature nearby.

Know Where to Go

Winter months tend to migrate fish to the bottoms of rivers and streams, where they are willing to stay for long periods of time. This stubbornness, though frustrating, can work out in your favor if you can seek out their hiding spots. Bass and crappies typically shelter themselves under debris in the waterways. Though this does pose the risk of snagging your line on a branch or bundle of leaves, going to them will be much for effective than waiting for them to come to you.

Knowing how to read the flows of these bodies of water can also lead you to larger schools of fish. For example, a stream with very little movement, but just enough, indicates a large pool where fish usually gather. These can be hotspots for catching trout if you haven’t mad much luck anywhere else.

Plan Ahead

This is perhaps the most obvious tip I’ll give. Considering the fact that it is going to be very cold where you’ll be fishing, be sure to wear enough clothing and layers to avoid succumbing to the frigid temperatures. Since fishing does not involve much physical movement, preserving your body heat is crucial, especially when standing in freezing waters. Look into purchasing waterproof shoes, socks, and outerwear in general. Also, a thermos full of any hot beverage or soup wouldn’t hurt in helping you battle the cold.
Fly fishing during winter certainly has its perks. Before deciding to take the icy plunge in your nearby fishing hotspots, take the above tips into consideration to make your trip an enjoyable one. Most importantly, have fun! Chances are, you will have most of the area to yourself, as this time of year isn’t exactly the most popular for fishing. Enjoy the solitude of just you, the water, and the fish.