Top 3 Flies For Catching Winter Trout

top fishing flies for winter

Its easy to sit at home and think of how great it would be to be out there setting the hook on a big fat toad, listening to your spool screaming, your friend is running over to you with his net because even he knows its a lunker…. then you open your eyes and realize its 40 degrees outside and the water at your favorite fishing hole is probably somewhere in the 30’s. That’s why I put together my Top 3 Flies For Finicky Winter Trout. 

Lets take a step back into reality for a second.

Yes its cold, but that’s not to say that fish wont eat. They have to eat in order to replace calories just like us. The question is not are the fish even gonna eat? The question is, what are they gonna eat?

When are they gonna eat? 

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Trout Are Cold Blooded

Trout are cold blooded meaning their body temperature changes with that of its environment.

Cold water means slower fish, not paralyzed fish.  Therefore I typically tell people that water temperatures below 40 degrees is where I notice the biggest difference in the trout fisheries that I fish.

The bite is going to change, we have to adapt with that. If you want to learn more about adapting to cold water conditions check out 3 Winter Trout Tips To Catch More Fish. 

3 Go To Winter Flies

Alright enough about all that. Your here because you want to know my top 3 flies for finicky winter trout. Well here you go….

1. Midge

zebra midge

The most productive fly I have when the going gets tough is a midge or chironomids.

I will say that one can get very in depth as to what midges, colors, sizes, and what stage of their life cycle they are currently in.

For this post I will keep it simple. Earthy colors are optimal for finicky winter trout. Start with sizes 16-22. 

2. Stone Fly

black stone fly

If I happen to be on the water when the bite is good, then my go to fly is the Black Stone Fly.

Although most productive in the spring and early summer, fish don’t want to consume more calories than necessary.

They would much rather eat one good looking stone fly than god only knows how many midges. Stay with black or dark brown, sizes 12-28. 

3. San Juan Worm

brown san juan worm

Now I know what your thinking, that’s a springtime thing. Well your not wrong it most definitely is. However, here in Northern California sometimes we get well into winter without experiencing much, if any, rainfall.

Thus our first rains may be late November or early December.

The rains will bring higher than normal water levels. This will inevitably allow worms to be a food source.

Here is one of my favorites pictured above. 

More Great Fishing Flies

Here are some other options  that didn’t quite make my list of top 3 Flies for Finicky Winter Trout.  

Bead Head Pheasant Tail Nymphs

bead head pheasant tail nymph

Bead Head Nymphs represent a wide number of aquatic insects on which trout feed and should have a home in every serious angler’s fly box.

Bead head Buggers

bead head woolly bugger

Bead head Buggers have the stuff to catch fish in almost any body of water, from big, deep rivers to small streams. A very universal fly that I will always have on hand.

Crayfish Flies

crayfish fishing fly

Offering a large meal in the dead of winter is sometimes just what the doctor ordered. Trout want the most bang for their buck. Throw them a crayfish and they will have no choice but to take a bite.

What Are You Waiting For?

At the beginning of this post I asked you to imagine how great it would be to be out there setting the hook on a big fat toad.

My top 3 flies for finicky winter trout may or may not be what does that for you. But, If you don’t get out there and at least try for yourself then how are you really gonna know? 

3 winter flies for finicky trout image

I would love to hear form you. Drop a comment below and let me know what your favorite winter flies are? Whats your go to in the winter? 

Want to read some of my other top post?

10 Great Fishing Gifts Under $10

5 Killer Trout Lures That Crush Fish

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