It may be cold outside, but Danny North reckons that doesn’t mean you should stop trout fishing… find out why in this winter trout fishing post!
So many trout anglers pack away their rods in October and there they sit, gathering dust, until the following spring!
Some of you may head off to do a bit of tropical saltwater fishing, others may spend a few days throwing lures after predators, as highlighted in a recent Sportfish Post lure fishing feature by top Savage Gear team member, Andy Buckley. But, given that global warming seems to have become a reality and average temperatures are creeping up, there is no reason to stop completely and if you keep an eye on the conditions and choose the right water to tackle you can just keep on catching.
Fly Fishing for Winter Trout
When you are fishing for trout in winter it is important to remember that the cold water slows the metabolism of the fish right down and so they are not willing, or indeed able, to chase their food as quickly as in warmer conditions. For this reason, an intermediate or sinking line is needed to get your fly down to where the fish feel comfortable and you need a slower retrieve, to give yourself more of a chance of a take. A figure-of-eight retrieve to steadily inch your fly through the water is the way to go.
Just where the fish feel comfortable is not quite as clear cut as you may think as the thermal dynamics of stillwaters is a complex subject. Many anglers head straight for the deepest water during the winter, thinking this will be the warmest, but very often it isn’t!
Factors such as the size and depth of the water and the degree of mixing due to wind and wave action all have an impact. Deeper water tends to offer a more stable temperature regime and you should certainly explore it, but the warmer water often tends to be shallower and on a warm, sunny winter day shallow areas of a lake will warm up relatively quickly, deeper areas will not – and fish do take advantage of this.
Maximum water temperature for a given day is likely to be early afternoon – so time your fishing accordingly. Conversely, on chilly days, when a northerly or easterly wind is cooling the water the shallows will be quickest to cool down.
Winter Trout Fishing Depths
You should explore all depths but also remember not to stay too long in one spot if you don’t have any action, keep mobile and keep searching. You will, however, often find that fish may be shoaled tightly during the winter so if you do get a take it may pay to spend a little more time exploring.
Winter Trout Fishing Flies
As far as winter trout flies are concerned the natural aquatic invertebrates tend to be small at this time of year. Chironomids are still active so think small and dark buzzers but, as always, don’t be afraid to experiment – a slowly fished garish blob takes a lot of winter trout too!
Finally, do remember that it is important to be warm and comfortable when you are fishing in cold weather and with the superb modern materials and garments that are available there is no reason not to be, so layer up correctly, and don’t forget a warm hat!
For the first time, Haywards Farm Lake at our Sportfish Game Fishing Centre is staying open all winter so if you want some great winter fishing and top cold water trout advice from the team at Reading give them a call on 0118 930 3860 or mail them at: [email protected]
Now get out there, and keep on trout fishing!