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Winter fly fishing advice

PostPosted: Dec Tue 15, 2020 12:16 pm
by Wansi
Hey folks - relatively new fly fisher from CO front range. Taking a shot in the dark here for winter trout fishing tips. I'm pretty clueless on what to do. I'm guessing dry flies are pretty much out unless you're actually seeing rises. Otherwise, what's your strategy? Nymphs? Streamers? Time and place (generally speaking - not looking for specific locations!)? Fly size or type? Effects of temperature? Basically, when you're planning out a trip for the weekend, what comes to mind?

Re: Winter fly fishing advice

PostPosted: Dec Tue 15, 2020 12:41 pm
by FlyFlinger
Howdy! I just registered on this site as well. To address your question RE: Winter Fly Fishing, 45 degrees is the magic number that I look for when heading out. There are more miles of trout water than you could cover in a lifetime in the Driftless Region of Southwest Wisconsin. Early Catch and Release Season opens on January 2, 2021. Temps will be COLD but catching is possible...I would suggest starting out with a nymph rig under an indicator and dredge the deep / slow pools you come upon (If they're right below a spring, even better). Midge patterns and baetis nymph patterns are my go to in the winter. Using a thermometer is also key, fish rising temps...as soon as you notice a decrease in temps, catching usually comes to a standstill.

Thanks for inspiring me to join! Hope this info helps...tight lines.

Re: Winter fly fishing advice

PostPosted: Dec Tue 15, 2020 2:33 pm
by RonG
Thanks Fly. Good info for all.

Re: Winter fly fishing advice

PostPosted: Dec Tue 15, 2020 2:41 pm
by Rambler
Welcome to both of you. Not much trout fishing to be had in IL but Orvis says there's more trout stream miles in WI than in CO. Good luck!

Re: Winter fly fishing advice

PostPosted: Dec Tue 15, 2020 6:43 pm
by BrookeT
And, don’t overlook all of the fly fishing opportunities around Chicago. The Des Plaines River is much closer than any trout stream in WI. Plenty of spots to wade fish for northern pike, bowfin, largemouth, and smallmouth bass. You can catch pike all winter on a fly rod as long as the rivers not frozen.
The Kankakee River is about 1hr south of Chicago and it is a good to great smallmouth fishery. The DuPage and Fox are even closer than the Kank for smallies.
If you time it right, you can catch steelhead, kings, cohos, smallies, and lake run brown trout right on the lakefront and in the harbors. Google world record brown trout MI to see pics of a 41 pound 7.25 oz brown trout caught on Big Manistee River. That fish came out of Lake Michigan.
A great resource for the Driftless and all things fly fishing is Chicago Fly Fishing Outfitters ( http://www.chifly.com ).
Get a kayak and have fun exploring!

Re: Winter fly fishing advice

PostPosted: Dec Wed 16, 2020 3:01 pm
by charliebravo77
I'm very interested in this too. I have gotten bit by the fly fishing bug bad this year and have a new pair of waders and a pile of rods to put to use. One of my goals is to catch a pike on a fly (or at all, never gotten one before) and have a few pikey flies to try. I'm in Northern Cook County and the Des Plaines here is not legally wade-able from what I've seen and read. There are a couple of spots that theoretically could be, but others it seems like the bottom is quicksand and I'd get sucked in real quick.

Seconding the Kankakee - I went on a guided fly trip for smallies with Austin Adduci and had a great time.

Hell, I might go wade the DuPage this weekend if it looks decent enough outside. What's the cold water recommendation for smallmouth? Slow streamer retrieves?

Re: Winter fly fishing advice

PostPosted: Dec Wed 16, 2020 3:07 pm
by Rambler
I have an 8 weight, 9' rod for sale in case anyone's interested. Flylogic. $100.

Re: Winter fly fishing advice

PostPosted: Dec Thu 17, 2020 9:50 am
by brownbutterperch
BrookeT wrote:And, don’t overlook all of the fly fishing opportunities around Chicago. The Des Plaines River is much closer than any trout stream in WI. Plenty of spots to wade fish for northern pike, bowfin, largemouth, and smallmouth bass. You can catch pike all winter on a fly rod as long as the rivers not frozen.
The Kankakee River is about 1hr south of Chicago and it is a good to great smallmouth fishery. The DuPage and Fox are even closer than the Kank for smallies.
If you time it right, you can catch steelhead, kings, cohos, smallies, and lake run brown trout right on the lakefront and in the harbors. Google world record brown trout MI to see pics of a 41 pound 7.25 oz brown trout caught on Big Manistee River. That fish came out of Lake Michigan.
A great resource for the Driftless and all things fly fishing is Chicago Fly Fishing Outfitters ( http://www.chifly.com ).
Get a kayak and have fun exploring!

Thanks for this info. I'm starting to get into fly fishing and, quite frankly, there quite a bit to it. Thanks for the resources.

Re: Winter fly fishing advice

PostPosted: Dec Sun 20, 2020 9:27 am
by KankRat
Wansi wrote:Hey folks - relatively new fly fisher from CO front range. Taking a shot in the dark here for winter trout fishing tips. I'm pretty clueless on what to do. I'm guessing dry flies are pretty much out unless you're actually seeing rises. Otherwise, what's your strategy? Nymphs? Streamers? Time and place (generally speaking - not looking for specific locations!)? Fly size or type? Effects of temperature? Basically, when you're planning out a trip for the weekend, what comes to mind?


So you are currently living in Colorado or recently moved here? If the former maybe you are not aware "Windy City" refers to the city of Chicago, which is in the state of Illinois which hosts a total of zero trout streams. It's kind of an odd question for this forum given that that closest trout in a stream is about 4-5 hours away and would be a completely different type of stream than one would encounter in Co.
Previous post was asking about saltwater water casting reels.