It is almost that time of year when summer fishing spots begin to get a little icy. If you are lucky enough to live in an area with winter steelhead opportunities we are very jealous and hope you take advantage of them. If not, you may have some winter fishing options available through tailwaters. These dam fed rivers will not freeze over and offer year around trout fishing. Winter fishing is often a little slower due to the fish being cold blooded which results in a slower metabolism but fishing is always better than not fishing and the cold often leads to uncrowded riverbanks so we will still be strapping up our waders. Success on these tailwaters often requires a change in approach, here are 4 tips to help you get the most out of your winter trout fishing.
- Go small. Midges make up a large percentage of the available food source on tailwaters. During the wintertime, trout feed almost exclusively on midges. Often times the difference between having success and getting skunked is tying on a #24 as opposed to a #22.
- Downsize your tippet. Going small isn’t just intended for fly selection. You also need to downsize your tippet. The flies will drift more natural on lighter line which will also be more difficult for the fish to detect in the low flows.
- Slow down. Winter flows on tailwaters are often low. This will lead to some spookier than normal fish. Don’t be in such a hurry to step right in the river. Keep unnecessary movements to a minimum and always be aware of your shadow.
- Fish with your eyes. The colder water will cause the fish’s metabolism to slow down. They won’t move far for their food. You may have to do multiple perfect drifts and bounce the flies right off the fish’s face to get it to eat. If you can spot a specific fish and cast at it, you will see your success rate quickly increase.
We’ll be back going over some of our favorite winter tailwater fly patterns later this week!
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