Helpful Tips for Fly Fishing in the Winter

You don’t need to hang up your fly-fishing equipment just because the temperature drops. Consider these helpful tips for fly fishing in the winter.

Just because the weather gets colder doesn’t mean you have to hang up your fly-fishing equipment until spring. Avid anglers can still enjoy fly fishing as Jack Frost brings the chill; however, winter fly fishing does bring its own set of unique challenges. If you do choose to set out during this time, it’s important to be prepared and plan accordingly. To improve your chances of making a catch, implement these helpful tips for fly fishing in the winter.

Choose the right locations

Deep, slow water is typically ideal for winter fly fishing. To choose the best fly-fishing location, look for one or two large, deep holes where fish concentrate. Ideally, you should also seek out warmer water because extremely cold temperatures will cause the metabolism of fish to slow; they’ll be less likely to feed.

Bring the right flies

Unlike during warmer seasons, fish don’t linger around the surface of the water nearly as much. Instead, they will lurk deeper near the bottom where water flows slower. You want to bring weighted flies and long leaders so that you will be in the right position to attract fish. Since you’ll fish below the surface, you’ll also need a strike indicator, so you know when something bites.

Sleep in

When it comes to fly fishing in the winter, the early bird doesn’t get the worm. Typically, fish don’t start biting until mid to late morning when the air warms up a little and surface activity increases. You should take the opportunity to sleep in a little before heading out on your winter fly fishing excursion.

Go slow

Since the water gets so cold, fish move much slower during the winter to avoid expending a lot of energy. On particularly frigid days, they may only move a couple of feet to strike your fly. You’ll want to fish slowly and thoroughly in small areas where you know fish are present, rather than changing location frequently.

Dress for the weather

Due to the frigid weather, it’s important to dress in warm layers while fly fishing in the winter. Waterproof gloves are especially important to protect your hands in case they get wet. You should also make sure to bring a backup outfit of warm, dry clothing. If your clothes end up getting wet, not only would your fishing excursion get cut short, but you could also put your safety at risk.


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