Had a nice breakfast with Steve Gossage this morning. He was thinking about heading up to Deckers with his son, Kevin, a little later this morning. Now, Steve is big on streamer fishing. I think he'd throw them whenever he can. And he loves to take a fish on a dry fly. So I wanted to know what tip he'd offer for winter fly fishing.
His first response was "head down to Pueblo. All the work they're doing on the tailwaters is making a difference."
He paused for a minute and thought more about my question. "You know, people will tell you to fish deeper holes, use plenty of weight, and basically hit them in the nose with a good nymph. And that's all good and makes sense. The thing is, though, you can hit different water and try different patterns like you would the rest of the year."
I told him about the time I caught a nice Rainbow on a tiny Blue Wing Olive on MLK's birthday a couple of January's ago. It was like in slow motion, watching that fish come up from about three feet below the surface, and take the fly.
"Kevin and I were fishing in that first big hole beneath the dam at Elevenmile a few winters ago. February. We caught about 25 each -- a small midge hatch happened, fish start looking up, and we had a great day."
"The thing is, people get locked into thinking they have to fish just this way. Like fishing nymphs real deep. Fish are still active in typical parts of the water. They're not all real deep. And a warm day in winter ... conditions change. So mix it up some. Try different patterns, fish different kinds of water."
I asked him if it was cold when they were in Elevenmile (great question when you're talking about winter fishing).
"Catching a lot of fish made it seem warmer."
Interested in a winter guide trip, maybe down to the Pueblo tail waters? Call the shop.
Orvis 101 Introduction to Fly Fishing
Orvis 201 Streamside