Winter fishing is tough, rewarding
On The Fly
Fly fishing in winter requires adjustments on the part of the angler, but many of us will tell you that fishing in these colder months can be some of the most rewarding days of the year.
If you have ever perused the “grip and grin” pictures of guides and clients on the wall in Taylor Creek, I’m sure you noticed the biggest fish pictures usually have snowy backgrounds.
Bigger trout can be had this time of year for many reasons.
Lack of angling pressure is the primary reason for such success in winter.
The fish are simply not as paranoid as they are during the August green drake hatch, when every angler in the state seemingly is casting a fly in their direction.
This time of year generally offers up low and clear flows, which simply gives big fish fewer places to hide.
Stepping into the river is a last resort in winter, and the act of doing so can alert every fish in the county to your presence.
This is the time for stealth and “hunting” your fish, stepping lightly and using your “visual aids” (polarized lenses) to put fish in the net.
Another factor lending to superior fishing days in winter are the lack of heavy hatches beyond midges, causing the fish to expand upon their dietary resources.
Crayfish, mysis shrimp, stonefly nymphs, eggs and baitfish can help round out the skimpy food selections facing trout in winter.
Keep in mind that colder temperatures and lack of food make the fish lethargic, and presentations must be accurate and “quiet.”
Trout rarely expend more energy chasing down a meal than they will receive from the food source, especially so this time of year.
Sure, fishing in the snowy months can be tough.
Line guides get frozen, your hands go numb, and the trout won’t move more than an inch to eat your fly.
On the flipside, I feel the benefits outweigh the costs when you have an entire run to yourself, cooperating fish, and a thermos of hot coffee back in the truck!
— This column is provided every week by Taylor Creek Fly Shops in Aspen and Basalt. Taylor Creek can be reached at (970) 927-4374 or taylorcreek.com.
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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.