THE LEAVES are mostly gone and despite the 70F temperatures thoughts of winter fishing come drifting in.
We think of winter as the time for the hardcore, the serious and obsessive: it takes a certain level of commitment to climb into your waders when sleet is stinging your face and there is a crust of ice on puddles at the put in.
The real secret of our White River winters of course, is those magic days when the sky is blue and 50F+, even shedding a jacket is life freedom and you have the river to yourself.
Personally I like them all, the days you know you are going to earn every fish, when its cold enough to make thinking an effort, and the easy days when a patch of sun, a gravel bar and watching your buddy catch fish is enough.
Winter fishing isn’t all big water, big streamers and busted shoulders. You would be suprised at the long windows of low flows the streamer guides work around. Look for the warmer days, watch the water flows on our app or call the guys at the shop.
Be smart, take extra dry warm clothes, a winter buff, gloves and beanie, a flask, a camera: give winter a chance you won’t be disappointed.
FIVE FLIES FOR WINTER:
THE RUBY MIDGE: True David Knowles’ pattern, and its relatives, the Camel and Redneck Midges are ubiquitous. But the Ruby has always been a winter pattern that works the other 9 months as well.
THE SUNDAY SPECIAL: Hare on a hook, the Sunday Special is the epitome of a guide fly. Quick to tie, its just an oversize copper tungsten bead with hare’s ear or rabbit dubbing. Try it with and orange tung bead.
IRON LOTUS: I tend to think of this pattern, plus the Dark Lord and the Frenchie as variants on a theme. I had used a lot of small mayfly patterns during winter months, (Micro Mayflies or PTs) until I tested these 3 with some PA competition fly fishers a few years back. Heavy for their size and all 3 make a great lead fly for the Ruby.
MUZ’S MESSY PARACHUTE: You can find decent surface action on most warm days in those corners where the adult are concentrated by the current. A Parachute Adams will suffice but Murray Wilson’s Messy Parachute is better. No Joke.
TAILWATER SOFT HACKLE: So I’m biased where this fly is concerned but if you can’t get them to eat a regular Parachute then the soft hackle is a good bet, particularly if you are seeing dorsals and tails. And you can run it as a trailer behind a heavier fly. Red or Yellow.