December 8th 2023
Happy Holidays, folks. Hope everyone is enjoying December and looking forward to the forthcoming holidays and new year. There are still plenty of great angling opportunities available to local anglers as we continue to move through the month…
Steelhead fishing has been consistent enough for the folks who have been getting out and looking for them. However, as I am sure some have noticed, this hasn’t been the greatest fall run by any stretch. Playing with a fish or two can be considered a good day at the present time. Swung presentations and indicator tactics have been the best way to chase our great lakes visitors. On the swung fly front, it is best to slow the swing speed down as the water is starting to get cold. The big water folks should be considering intermediate skagit heads, while the small river folks will be fine with a floating head just so they consider the mend as their friend. Don’t be afraid to switch flies up if you find a non-committal player. Do so by either dropping fly size or picking a different fly option with less bling. Flies like Feenstra’s grapefruit leech, Senyo’s Stray Dog in black and Senyo’s AI in Copper/Green are great go to options.
If you’re heading out with the big nymph rod it is time to consider packing the box with some larger sized trout nymphs. As the egg buffet dwindles our fish will resort to more of a trout based diet. Large hares ears, pheasant tails, stoneflies, hex nymphs and flies like copper john’s are great consideration. Don’t give up on the egg entirely as it is a great fly all winter long, just don’t be afraid to mix it up. Clown eggs, pale pinks, white, pale yellow and chartreuse (in low light periods) are good ideas to have readily available. Local streams like the rogue do not see gigantic numbers of fall fish. So be on your A game, these fish are pressured constantly. I’ve been pushing 4x cortland fluorocarbon a lot lately as I feel confident in its strength and durability on these pressured steelhead.
In regards to trout, this is a fun time of year as there are many fun and exciting ways to target them. Be it czech nymphing, streamer fishing, sight nymphing, indicator nymphing. There is no better streamer color in clear winter water than a black fly. Jiggy options like circus peanuts and peanut envy’s are winter confidence patterns that no streamer box should be without. The czech fanatics should consider tungsten weighted eggs, attractor patterns such as the red dart and natural options like the walt’s worm or Pat’s rubber leg.
As we move into winter, consider that 90% of the fish are going to live in 10% of the water. As the temperatures continue to drop, trout and steelhead will commonly be found in the slower pools in any given body of water. Even though the lip of the pool may have been your best friend a month ago, start to focus in the slower portions of the pool, even the tail out.
The shop is stocked up with plenty of great gift ideas, tying materials and plenty of awesome gear and flies. Hope to see you soon. Have fun on the water!