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A Beginner’s Guide to Fly Fishing in Winter

a close up of a tree covered in snow

Because fishing during the winter is usually considered more difficult, many refrain from fishing during the season. Well, many are unaware that the same factor can be used to your advantage! Of course, there will be fewer people out there fly fishing during the winter, but that is not the only advantage we are referring to here. Many do not know that it is the time of the year that many freshwater fish group together and are concentrated in number in one place. So, if you know your spots and tricks well, you can go home with plenty of fish without spending much time. Here is a beginner’s guide that you can use for effective fly fishing during winter.


Know Where to Fish

This is the first and primary factor to keep in mind for fly fishing during winter. Opt for bodies of water with a stable current and avoid those with elevated currents. Trout stay in water that doesn’t move much during winter. Tailwaters are the best suited for winter fishing because they are filled with freshwater species that prefer warmer waters during winter. Slow water near faster currents ensures that the fish get a steady stream of prey. Deep pools, slow water regions between fast riffles, and soft water on the edges of fast current streams are the likely places you can target because these are spots where trout can get their food during winter with minimal energy.


Get Your Materials Right

From the rod to reels, prey including flies, dehooking tools, hemostats, and baskets, you need to have them all. The rod, reel, and line need to be the right size and weight that suit you best. Generally, the bigger the rod, the bigger the fish caught. Keep your reels lubricated to avoid stiffness during cold weather. Also, graphite rods may break under extremely cold conditions, and hence it is better to opt for fiberglass rods. Choose the kind of fly based on the kind of water you are fishing in. Smaller flies may be required to fish in winter waters and match the hatch. An artificial bait that moves quickly may alert a slow-moving fish in winter, so try to keep your flies slow-moving, which imitates the movement of freshwater species in winter.


Wear Appropriate Clothing

It is very important to keep your hands warm while fishing. Adequate clothing for winter fishing is an important precaution that you cannot afford to forget. It is advisable to use a foldover mitt with pockets or insulating neoprene gloves to keep your hands warm. Wear hunting socks that are heavyweight so that they prevent your toes from getting numb with the cold. Ensure that you wear insulating pants and coats and add many layers of clothing to keep you warm.


Watch the Weather and Timing

Did you know that freshwater species are active only beyond 9 a.m. during the winter? This means that you do need to be there early in the morning, unlike in other seasons. Mid-afternoons are ideal. The time before a passing cold front or storm is also a good time to look for active fish in winter.


Go Deep and Have Patience

“Slow and steady” is the golden rule for fly fishing in winter. Fishes are not ready to move easily, and neither should you! Have patience and dive deep. Do not stick to the surfaces because fishes are not going to move many feet upwards for a “fly” during winter. Once you find the concentrated locations, you will catch plenty of them, but till then, don’t give up!



Fly fishing can be a little tricky, especially for beginners. They need practical guidance on the whole process, including casting and handling the rod, setting the prey, landing the fish, etc. At Dvorak Kayak and Rafting Expeditions, we have the best fly fishing clinics to give you learning experiences and memories that you will cherish! For any questions or brochure requests, contact us today!