The air temps have been well below freezing for the last few weeks, but there have been a handful of anglers out fishing. If you’re able to tolerate the cold temps, and have the right January flies, winter fishing can be very good.
January Flies – Nymphs
With the exception of some midges, nothing hatches during the winter months. The fish are eating scuds, sowbugs, midge larvae, and aquatic worms on the bottom of the river. Eggs from fall-spawning brown trout and mountain whitefish become important diet items.
To be successful throughout the winter, anglers must be prepared to imitate these food sources. A large variety of flies is not necessary to do so. Some anglers fish a Rainbow Czech Nymph trailed by a Pink Lightning Bug all winter and have great success. Other anglers get bored with this static approach and are constantly experimenting with various winter fly patterns or tying their own to give themselves an edge.
Most effective winter flies share several characteristics. They are often beaded or weighted to get near the bottom where winter fish lie. They often have a bright orange firebead or a fluorescent hotspot. A lot of them incorporate pink materials. Flashy materials help entice sluggish winter fish into striking.