Saturday, December 15, 2007

Winter Steelhead Fishing Tips

There is no doubt that by now we are winter fishing. Just because it is cold and snowing out does not mean it is time to put away the fly fishing gear. Winter time can provide us with some wonderful opportunities; we just need to know how to take advantage of it. Here are a few tips to help cope with the unique challenges of winter fishing.

Dress warm
This may sound obvious but many fishermen forget how quickly the cold water can suck the heat out of you. Leave your breathable waders at home, boot foot neoprene waders are the only way to go.

Winter proof your gear
The cold weather has a tendency to cause you reels to gum up. Clean the grease out of your reels. Also it's a good idea to consider changing your fly lines. The older style Courtland 444 lines handle the cold water far better than the newer style fly lines.

Fish banker’s hours 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
I have talked about this many times before. Over the years I have discovered that the best time to be fishing daring the winter is from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. There is no reason to start fishing early in the day, all you will do is freeze up.

Stay in the pools
During the winter the fish are not as interested in migrating up stream as much as waiting out the winter. All of your fish will be concentrated in the sheltered water of the pools. This is where we will obviously concentrate our fishing efforts.

Break the pool down into smaller bites
Breaking the pool down and using the high stick style of presentation will have two vantages for you. The first you can more precisely fish the pool, the second of vantage is you are not constantly polling wet fly line in to your rod guides. Any little trick you can use to keep from constantly icing up is a big help.

Slow down
You need to thoroughly fish out the pools before you consider moving on. The fish are cold and reacting very slowly. I believe at times they need to see the fly a few times before they decide to take it. It is winter and everything takes longer than normal.

Use a strike indicator
Winter fishing means fishing the pools, this is a perfect situation for a strike indicator. Using a strike indicator will help you to more precisely cover the water and detect the very soft strikes that are so typical during winter time.

I hope the cold does not discourage you from taking advantage the fishing that still exists. We are at this time running a winter time fishing special, if you are interested please feel free to call the shop. The number is 585-352-4775

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