On The Fly: Silence key when it comes to winter fishing
On The Fly
This time of year brings our lowest and clearest fishing water, and this can cause trout to become more “spooky” than selective.
Stealth and accuracy become quite important during low-flow months, as the fish can see and feel more than they will in the high-water levels of summer.
The insect menu in winter is dramatically downsized from the summer buffet of caddis, stoneflies, mayflies, hoppers, craneflies and so on. This doesn’t mean the fish go on hunger strike, but feeding behaviors change and sensitivity to predators takes center stage. There are a few tricks you can employ during these skinny water days to increase your success.
First off, lengthening your leader and tippet (especially on dry flies) will increase your chances on spooky fish.
Most trout, regardless of time of year, don’t tolerate fly lines slapping the water anywhere near them, so a longer leader will help out in these cases.
A longer leader takes a while to unfurl in the current, so in turn you will get longer drifts with your fly. Downsizing your tippet and even the weight of your rod adds a bit of finesse, also.
A four-weight rod will land flies on the water much more softly than your six weight.
Being on the right side of the river really pays off during winter, also.
Keeping your shadow away from the water is a great way to sneak up on wary trout, and walking “Indian style” in the water is paramount when staying out of the water isn’t an option. This means stepping quietly with your toes first, creating as little splash and wake as possible. False casting should be kept to a minimum in winter.
Find your fish, see if it has a feeding rhythm, and present your fly once at the appropriate moment. Casting over and over tends to put winter fish off their tea.
Cast rarely, and when you do, make it count. The fishing here in the Roaring Fork Valley is superb right now, especially if you get a little sneaky.
This column is provided weekly by Taylor Creek Fly Shops in Aspen and Basalt. Taylor Creek can be reached at 970-927-4370, or on the Web at http://www.taylorcreek.com.
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
Readers around Glenwood Springs and Garfield County make the Post Independent’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.
Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.
Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.
Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.
User Legend: Moderator Trusted User
Born in New Castle, Alice McKennis Duran learned to ski at 2 at Sunlight Mountain with her father and older sister, Kendra. She also had a brief stint training with the Aspen Valley Ski & Snowboard Club prior to joining the national team.