Sitting here watching it snow outside, wind about 40 mph out of the north. Hard to imagine, but my mind still turns to fly-fishing. It may be nasty now but in a few days’ temps are supposed to soar into the high 30s, low forties. That ought to clear the ice out of the water, and might even be enough to get the fish “sparking.”
You have to be on the watch for the correct conditions, but some good fishing can be found in the winter months. Usually nymph fishing down deep and slow. There is not a lot of food available for the fish, and when they go on the bite they can really turn on. Winter fishing often seems to be all or nothing - you go in and catch 10 fish in an hour or you don’t even get a strike.
Read More Montana Fly Fishing Trip: Planning for Different Seasons
Fishing in the cold is not usually a boat situation. Unless you're using it for transportation to get to the “sweet spot." Winter fishing usually amounts to posting up on a good spot with some slack water, and then pounding one good spot.
I like to change bugs often when fishing one spot 8 or 10 runs through the hole, then change it up. Frozen guides and frozen fingers might lengthen that time out a bit. I also like fishing from my truck, that way I can catch a couple fish, then run back to the truck and warm up.
Gear to Use for Winter Fly Fishing
Our main bug thing this time of year is Midges. Any of the dozens of different midge pupa patterns will do. But I like the classic Zebra midge in an 18 or a twenty, with a tiny tungsten head to get it down. Afternoons with a small rise in temperature can bring on the adult dries.
Dry fly fishing in January, now that’s cool. No pun intended. I usually fish a griffus gnat 18 or 20 which is usually impossible to see, so use a “flag fly,” like a 14 parachute Adams. Then watch for a nose anywhere near it.
January is not exactly prime time, but if you get a warm day and a little free time to check out your local waters, go catch a fish. It will be good for your mental health
Read More Ennis, Montana - Where to Fly Fish When It's Windy