Trout Tips: Winter fly selection

Winter is a tough time to fish, simply because, more often than not, the elements are stacked up against you. And, unless you see trout working an active hatch—usually a midge hatch—on the surface, most of your fishing will be of the "searching" variety with a nymph or, occasionally, a streamer.

Below, Russ Miller from Umpqua Feather Merchants, offers up some great advice. When nymphing likely runs in the winter, consider a two-fly rig, with a larger "indicator" fly on top followed by a smaller nymph—a midge imitation (the Zebra Midge is one of my favorites)—as the trailer on lighter tippet.


The rig Russ chooses in the video above is an ideal "searcher." A heavier, meatier fly (a San Juan Worm or a stonefly imitation), followed by a small midge pattern. Remember, the top fly should be rigged with heavier tippet (say, 3x or so?), and the bottom fly should be rigged on lighter tippet—about 5x ought to do it. I don't really like to go much smaller than that on tippet, simply because I think it stresses fish out, particularly in extreme water temperatures (very warm, or very cold) to fight them for an extended period.

— Chris Hunt


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