Water Clarity: Clear
Water Temperatures: 35-40
Suggested Patterns: Girdle Bugs, Eggs, Kaufman Stone Flies, Copper Johns, Squirmy Worms, San Juans, Wooly Buggers in White or Olive, Hot Head Bugger in Black, Zonkers
We hope everyones still been able to get out with the new regulations! We’ve been out a bit and still getting into fish. The biggest change that we’re seeing is accessibility to the river and lots of waters are starting to freeze up. With the snow, its much harder to park so keep that in mind when going out over the course of the winter. Don’t be the angler that parks in the middle of the road. Bring a shovel or be prepared to walk a ways from the closest plowed parking area! As things continue to cool off (hopefully) lots of the smaller to mid-sized streams are going to start to freeze up to the point where fishing them may not be all the effective. As that continues to happen focus your efforts below dams where the water might be a little cooler and there might be enough water fluctuation and current to keep things open. Fish will often stack up in these areas and they’re going to be your best bet at finding good holding water that’s not frozen from shore to shore.
In most of those areas your best bet is going to be to nymph or dead drift streamers. Euro or tightline nymphing is our preferred method as it reduces the amount of ice build up on your leader, guides and fly line but it’s not always the answer. Lots of the fish will be holding in the deepest parts of the pools, which are often unreachable by tightline nymphing. This is where a bobber rig will come into play. Last year we caught more fish in the dead of winter with a somewhat traditional bobber rig than anything else. We’d start off with a 7.5ft 2x leader tied to a raven microswivel. In super deep water we’d opt to run a 9ft 2x leader. Off the micro swivel we’ve run anywhere from 2ft-5ft of fluoro carbon 5x then our flies. Due to the nature of most of the fish being in quite slow water, we’d ditch the split shot and just run rather heavy flies. The lack of split shot made it far easier to detect the subtle strikes of winter fish. It’s not the easiest set up to cast if you end up in a super deep spot where you have 10ft of line between your bobber and fly but it did seem to work, plus it’ll allow you to carry drifts much further which should in theory put a few more fish in the net!
Good luck to everyone getting out! Give the shop a ring if you’ve got any more questions!! Merry Christmas!!
The Fly Rod Shop is Northern Vermont’s finest fly fishing guide service and fly fishing gear retailer. Visit our shop on Route 100 in Stowe, VT or shop our online store to find gear from Simms Fishing Products, Redington, Loon Products, Montana Fly Company, Lamson Waterworks, Winston, Sage, Rio, Scientific Angler, Thomas and Thomas and more!