Winter Fly Fishing Tips - First off, we are assuming that you live in a state where it is legal, and potentially productive, to fish for trout in the winter. Always confirm your state's regulations and seasons... 

  1. Gear up - Be prepared with warm gloves, a warm hat (see some options there below), waders that do not leak, wool socks (see our Trout Socks) , and wear some good moisture wicking base layers (try a RepYourWater Performance LS tee). Keep in mind that hypothermia is a very real concern when trout fishing in the winter. If the water is in the 40's or even 30's and the air temps are in that same range, if you fall in you may have minutes, not hours, to get dry and warm. So wade carefully.
  2. Handle with Care - It is always a good idea if you are practicing catch and release fly fishing to keep the fish in the water through most of the landing and releasing process. But if the air temperatures are below freezing this becomes even more important. Trout gills and eyes are fragile and can start to freeze very quickly. Also, make sure that you do not handle trout with your gloves on...
  3. Fish Deep & Slow - Typically in very cold water trout will congregate in the slower, deeper pockets in a river. Their metabolism will be moving much slower with the lower temps, so they usually do not want to sit in faster water that requires more energy output.
  4. Ditch the Indicator - If you are looking to branch out, try researching and utilizing some european style nymphing techniques without an indicator. This will allow you to detect subtle winter eats much more effectively.  We highly recommend "Modern Nymphing" featuring Lance Egan. This method is incredibly efficient if you are fishing relatively close to you...
  5. Fish Small - Yeah, I know it is not ideal to be dealing with a size 22 midge when your fingers are numb. However, winter is the time when tiny bugs shine. Try some sparse flashy midge patterns or very small mayfly imitations...
  6. Fish Late - Typically the best time to fish in the winter is during the warmest time of the day. So don't stress about getting to your favorite run at the crack of dawn. When that late afternoon sun is rolling will usually be best.
  7. Fish Light - Low, gin-clear water is the time to whip out your stealth tactics. Try fishing really light tippet and if you are fishing under an indicator try using an "oldschool" light yarn indicator instead of a clunky bobber.