Winter Fly Fishing
By Bill Leuchten

These two pictures were taken by Bob Krumm, a well known fishing guide, author, biologist, and photographer on the Big Horn River in Montana. The bottom picture depicts a tricorythodes (Trico) mayfly encased in ice.
When thinking about winter fishing, we think tailwaters: those rivers that miraculously respond to the modern marvel of the dam, creating a nice consistent temperature and flow conducive to good fishing. Colorado has 11 tailwaters, making it one of the better winter fishing destinations in the nation. Your chances of landing the largest fish of your life is best at this time of year because the cold water make the fish a little more lethargic meaning the struggle when they are hooked will not be as intense. Moreover, there are not as many fishermen pounding fisheries this time of year so they are relatively un-pressured.

Here are a few winter fishing suggestions:
1. Because bug life is reduced one box of midges is all you need.
2. Nymphing is the most effective technique for winter fishing. Although I know many purists who will throw dries all day, the angler who catches fish on dry flies in the winter is both stubbornly persistent and quite skilled.
3. Fish may be holding in that slower moving "frog water" that you normally would wade through to get into position to hit the main pool. Cold water is full of oxygen and the fish don't have to be in the faster current.
4. A common problem with winter fishing is icing of the guides on your rod. There is a product called Stanley's Ice Off Paste that does works reasonably well for a period of time.
5. That sweater your grandmother knitted you may not do it on a cold day at the Williams Fork - look into layering options afforded by more technical clothing specifically designed for cold weather