When people hear the phrase “Winter Fly Fishing”, they might think the rivers freeze over making fishing impossible. Though this is only half correct. Free-stones, some canyons, and lakes all freeze over in the winter. Tailwaters however, do not. Because the water is coming out of a lake or reservoir, where it is warmer than regular rivers and is controlled by a dam, therefore tailwaters do not freeze for a long distance below the original source. These tailwaters offer some outstanding fishing year round but some of the best opportunities may be in the cold winter months.

Now’ when you are fishing in the winter, the water is usually low and there is not as much of an abundance of food like there may have been in the summer. Midges on the other hand, are constantly hatching year-round and become the main food source for at least 3 months, making winter the best time to try your favorite midge patterns. My favorite winter fly is a size 24 Black Zebra Midge. This fly is very efficient for all kinds of trout. I prefer a 24, but sometimes when the bugs are smaller, I use a 28. Another fly I am familiar with is an Emperor Midge. To tie this rocking midge, your body is UNI Stretch Magic wound up to the either gold or silver bead, with Pearl Crystal Flash sticking up emerger style (like a “crown”) just behind the bead, leaning slightly towards the hook eye. You need a size 18-22 curved shank hook to tie this fly. If I had to choose 1 fly to fish with all winter, it would be an Emperor Midge, size 20. 1 more fly I’m going to share with you today is a Blood Midge.This is a great pattern with a glass bead and size 20 hook. You can make up all kinds of midges to fish in the winter. Things like the Pink Zebra Midge shown in the picture below are fun to experiment with and prove to be quite successful. I have lots of faith in these flies, and once you fish them, you will too. Have fun, and make the most of your time on the water. See next weeks blog about fishing pocket water.

Tight lines, Tyler.