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Winter Trout Streams

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  • Winter Trout Streams

    Quite a few changes recently to our trout-fishing regulations, including the opening of all streams for catch-and-release year-round. Previously there were only select streams and stretches of streams open outside of the regular season, and then only until certain dates.

    How would you fish a wintertime trout stream? I'm thinking it wouldn't be much different than the springtime opener, since April is still pretty much winter around here. I'm thinking slow presentation, small presentation, and fishing when the sun has warmed the water a degree or two. I know it doesn't take a lot to trigger some life, such as it is.

    Any suggestions? I might or might not fly-fish, but don't know what bugs if any are in the water over the winter. I know certain nymphs are active but not which ones. Streamers would probably be the better choice there.

  • #2
    I think stoneflies will be hatching soon, if the weather cooperates. I’m not sure what the water temps need to be but I’ll start seeing them once they start to emerge. They seem to be attracted to the tanks for some reason and are easy to spot in the snow.

    The river here is mostly froze over and where it’s open the current would keep me from messing with it. Bridge pools on the feeder creeks might be a good bet.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by fitch270 View Post
      I think stoneflies will be hatching soon, if the weather cooperates. I’m not sure what the water temps need to be but I’ll start seeing them once they start to emerge. They seem to be attracted to the tanks for some reason and are easy to spot in the snow.

      The river here is mostly froze over and where it’s open the current would keep me from messing with it. Bridge pools on the feeder creeks might be a good bet.
      Good to know about the stoneflies. There's some kind of flying bug, also, that I see on the snow sometimes out in the woods, when I'm down in the beaver swamps; usually on 35-45 degree days. Might be worth researching. I doubt I'll go out much, just a "cabin fever" remedy idea I've got for now.

      Oh, yeah, the ice -- I hadn't really thought of that aspect. Ha. But yeah, most of the smaller streams don't get much unless it's a couple full weeks of below-zero.

      Comment


      • #4
        Matt, I believe those are midges. I guess they are a popular winter fly pattern. Not that I ever winter fly fished. Just recall reading about it.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Moose1980 View Post
          Matt, I believe those are midges. I guess they are a popular winter fly pattern. Not that I ever winter fly fished. Just recall reading about it.
          I think you're right; same here, no experience, just recall a couple articles from years ago. Thanks.

          Comment


          • #6
            When ice starts forming on the eyes of my rod, I'm going home!
            🥶

            Comment


            • #7
              I fished Lake Michigan and tributaries for trout in the winter for years. I caught mainly rainbows with some browns and some Skamania. I liked to fish warm power plant discharges, steel yard discharges and fast river inlets. Basically, wherever I could get a fly through the ice or between the ice burgs. If I could get a boat on the water, I trolled 000 red dodgers with a streamer fly 1 foot back. For fast waters, I used an 11 foot noodle rod/spinning reel with 6 pound line and 4 pound tippet. I used a light pencil sinker to hold the line on rocky bottoms with a 7' long tippet. The wooly worm was by far the best in January and February, moving to streamers in March.
              Last edited by DakotaMan; 02-05-2022, 10:32 AM.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by FirstBubba View Post
                When ice starts forming on the eyes of my rod, I'm going home!
                🥶
                Bubba, when you live in the north, you get accustomed to the outdoor temperatures and find ways to enjoy the outdoors in spite of the temperatures. I used a variety of techniques to last in the sub-zero weather in addition to lots of warm clothes, such as:
                1. Pre-tie all leaders, flies, tippets, so I just had to snap them on rather than attempting to tie with frozen fingers.
                2. Spraying reels and line with WD40 to reduce water sticking to line. It made the water drop off more and kept the spools from freezing the whole ball of line most of the time.
                3. Bringing heaters to thaw spools and rod guides.
                4. Bringing extra rods and spools so when one froze up completely, I could switch out equipment quickly while putting the frozen components in the heat.
                5. Stripping line from the spool and putting it in the water when line began to freeze up and accumulate ice.
                6. Multiple sets of pliers and fish holders to get fish off the line without removing gloves or exposing them to water.
                Last edited by DakotaMan; 02-10-2022, 09:48 AM.

                Comment


                • #9
                  D'Man
                  Yes sir, in the south, there are dedicated fishermen that hit the water year round, so winter time fishing is not totally alien.
                  Of course, weather cold enough to freeze the eyes on your rod are rare.

                  My exclamation was more as to my current condition. Wading a slough to pick up ducks used to be, "Meh."
                  ​​​​​​​Anymore, I pick milder weather for my nonessential activities! 😉

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by FirstBubba View Post
                    Anymore, I pick milder weather for my nonessential activities! 😉
                    ​​​​​​​Me too Bubba. I guess we learn as we get older.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      These started showing up the last couple days, it’s been 35 years since I took Entomology so I may be wrong but I believe they are stoneflies.

                      Click image for larger version

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                      Click image for larger version

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ID:	791761

                      Click image for larger version

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ID:	791764

                      Heres what I pulled off the web for stoneflies.

                      Click image for larger version

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Size:	5.7 KB
ID:	791763

                      Midges look similar but the antenna are different.

                      Click image for larger version

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ID:	791765

                      Somebody correct me if I’m wrong, I’d like to know for sure.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        The "midge" looks more like a mosquito than the stone fly.
                        ....but we aren't blessed with trout streams here in south Texas or my area of Oklahoma. Sand and speckled trout are common in the Gulf though! 🙂

                        They release trout in Medicine Creek in the Wichita Mountains every year, but the stragglers that don't get caught succumb to the summer heat or drouth.
                        Corn, salmon eggs and worms are common baits. Fly equipment is pretty much nonexistent.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by fitch270 View Post
                          These started showing up the last couple days, it’s been 35 years since I took Entomology so I may be wrong but I believe they are stoneflies.

                          Click image for larger version

Name:	2CD853B3-1C39-44CC-94DD-A3B28E1AEB39.jpg
Views:	193
Size:	2.20 MB
ID:	791762

                          Click image for larger version

Name:	2AF15C63-2DC4-4D21-855B-CD56B87FF55C.jpg
Views:	194
Size:	1.67 MB
ID:	791761

                          Click image for larger version

Name:	59647B50-D158-4488-865D-F10D03087D1F.png
Views:	195
Size:	3.39 MB
ID:	791764

                          Heres what I pulled off the web for stoneflies.

                          Click image for larger version

Name:	D4AA344A-BCFF-4B7C-921B-36BEADC4C008.jpg
Views:	203
Size:	5.7 KB
ID:	791763

                          Midges look similar but the antenna are different.

                          Click image for larger version

Name:	E00C0CBA-68CE-4924-9684-236EB19E0F46.jpg
Views:	203
Size:	480.6 KB
ID:	791765

                          Somebody correct me if I’m wrong, I’d like to know for sure.
                          Yep, that top one is exactly what I've seen. I didn't doubt midges but did think they were smaller (probably just the word, midge.) I didn't think stonefly because the ones I'm familiar with in the warmer months are a lot bigger, but I just looked it up and they do come in different sizes.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I’d mentioned our weather forecast up in the turkey call thread a couple days ago. It was accurate, ice is out but I doubt anyone will be fishing.😳 Click image for larger version  Name:	8F015C12-623C-4D56-8412-E2672A30736C.jpg Views:	0 Size:	1.58 MB ID:	792170

                            Click image for larger version  Name:	7C131867-F65E-4C81-86BC-2F68DD5510EA.jpg Views:	0 Size:	3.09 MB ID:	792172
                            Click image for larger version

Name:	0B099DB6-351D-4C4B-AAC0-A82DF3FCCDD5.jpg
Views:	0
Size:	0
ID:	792174
                            Last edited by fitch270; 02-18-2022, 11:20 PM.

                            Comment

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