Saturday, December 18, 2010

Winter Fishing = Small Flies & Midges

Winter fishing here in Colorado means fishing small flies, mostly midges in the 20-26 range. No surprise that a lot of inventive midge patterns were developed on Colorado Rivers such as the South Platte.

This is an excerpt of my arsenal of midges and small flies:

Sunday, December 12, 2010

One is better than None

It's this time of year where I get my butt kicked on-stream. Each Winter I am struggling catching trout. I could blame it on the cold temperatures, fish keying on small midges (I don't fish flies smaller than size 20), the wind, the ice, the slush hatch etc. but I think I just haven't figured out how to approach fishing in Winter. I mean, the trout are still there (even more so if they have stocked about 5,000 fingerlings per mile) but I just can't find them or if I do, I can't make them take my offerings. I think it is just as when I first started nymphing: couldn't figure it out, didn't know what I was doing wrong but kept at until it suddenly "clicked". Maybe I just need to spend more time on the water in the Winter. Or I just shouldn't care and go skiing. Also a tempting alternative.

Today I drove up to my home stretch of the South Platte just to find "my spot" almost iced over with a sludge hatch coming down stream. It was 10am and the outside temperature read 19F... I decided to get back into the car and drive upstream to find some more open water. 10 miles later I pulled into the parking lot on the South Platte between Deckers and Wigwam Club. That is some highly pressured water and the trout have supposedly have PHD's in this stretch. Interesting that just those 10 miles resulted made a difference in almost 10F; it was an almost balmy 28F when i got out the car and checked out the river. 

That's my SP on a "slushy" day (the white stuff in the water is the slush hatch):

I rigged up my Amago with a no 4 fc level line from Troutbum, a size 18 black CJ as the point fly and a Krystal Flash Midge (black glass bead and a Krystal Flash wrapped body). There were as always some guys already fishing and I was able to find a spot to squeeze in. 10 minutes in my roll-on indicator stopped and I thought I got bottom again since nothing happened when set the hook. I tried to wiggle it free when the indicator suddenly started moving upstream. I guess those cold temperatures make trout sluggish as well. A beauty of a brown trout gave me a bit of a fight but was easily subdued into my net. 15"-ish, beautiful colors. I thought that's a good start - little did know that this would remain the only one for the rest of the day. But still better than being skunked like last time. 

18 Black CJ:

20 Flash Midge:

Oh, and I almost forgot, the main character of today, Miss Brown Trout:

River Notes:
South Platte River, between Deckers and Wigwam Club
Flow: 60cfs-ish
Water Temp: almost solid
Air Temp: 19F @ 10am, 49F @2.45pm
Weather: Sunny in the morning, clouds and wind moving in after 1pm

Have fun out there & Tight Lines, -K