The Winter Solstice has ushered in the winter trout fishing season. For some anglers this signals the beginning of beer drinking and fly tying season. However, for those that want to brave the elements, winter can be a great time to target larger trout on streamers.
Light tippet and midges characterize winter fly fishing. Sizing your flies down to 18, 20, 22 and even smaller is key to success when bug fishing in the winter. The wintertime diet of a trout is primarily made up of midges and other smaller macroinvertebrates. Most people do not think of winter as a great time for streamer fishing because trout become more lethargic as their metabolisms slow down in the cold water and are less likely to swim very far for a meal. Trout are opportunistic feeders by nature and winter provides ample opportunity to eat with the influx of midges in the water. If trout are less likely to move for food then how should you target them using streamers?
Your streamer presentation during the colder months of the year is critical to getting an eat. Let’s examine some of the variables to consider when winter streamer fishing. First is fish location. During colder months expect larger fish to be holding in large deep pools, undercuts, and beneath log jams. These locations offer trout food and security without much effort to stay there. Streamer depth and speed are also important. Low and slow is usually the name of the game during this time of year.
Either use heavy streamers, sink-tip lines, or even full sink lines to ensure you are hitting the correct depth. The correct depth is either on the same plane as the fish or just above the fish. As far as streamer speed is concerned, the slow swing or longer slow strips will help make the streamer more visible as well as look more obtainable to the trout. Trout are opportunistic so consider these aspects of streamer presentation in order to emulate an easy, larger calorie feeding opportunity. One fish can feed a trout for days. This is a low-risk high-reward feeding opportunity, particularly when compared to the alternative of gorging on hundreds of midges in a day.
So what streamers to use? Mini Dungeon, Head Banger Sculpin, Full Size Dungeon, and Peanut Envy are some of our guides’ favorites.