We've been blessed with a mild winter which has extended our trout escapades deep into December (a month longer than usual). This week we (a group of four amigos that don't get to fish together that often) decided to head out on a snowy, calm day to see what the trout were up to. The weather setup one of those classic, beautiful snow days for fishing. Big, fluffy snowflakes gently falling. Perfect peaceful quiet, no wind. Just the occasional tromping of our footsteps in the snow or the screech of an eagle reminding us whose house we're in. For those that get out in nature in the winter you know what I'm talking about -- there's just something magical about being out in a beautiful winter landscape, and it's even better when you're chasing beautiful fish. If you've never been out winter fly fishing you've got to give it a try.
You'll see in the pics below what an incredible contrast the colorful fish were to the drab gray and snowy white surrounding us. It was like everything was in black and white except for the fish. Every time we pulled one up we couldn't get over how amazing these fish looked -- just nuclear oranges, reds and golds.
Nymphing was the ticket. The fish were hungry and seemed to alternate between a larger stonefly pattern (#8) and smaller pheasant tails (#14-16) and Baetis nymphs (#14-16). We found them true to winter form, holding in slower buckets, runs and couch water. The takes were subtle and lethargic (can't blame 'em with 34 degree water). The browns were all healthy size 14-18 inches, there's much larger in this water but we didn't touch any. The rainbow surprised us all, she was a girthy 21 inch fish that has been in this river a long time.
Our trip also started with a first cast fish - by me, yikes - I don't know about you but for me catching a fish on the first cast is bad mojo, I mentally prepare for zero fish after and plan just to enjoy the scenery or whatever beverages I packed. Lol :) Fortunately, the rest of the day was fantastic, I landed a few more and in total the group brought 12 nice fish to the net.
Thanks for giving us a read. Please feel free to drop us a comment or question below. And if you're interested in trying out some amazing Upper Peninsula fly fishing give us a shout. We chase steelhead, smallmouth and trout in our U.P. home waters near Escanaba, Michigan.