Feb 11, 2016

Winter Troutin' 2016

Ice on my rod guides and Trout in my hand, Priceless!
Why do I do it? I can give a dozen reasons not to do it like frozen guides, icy cold water, lethargic fish, frozen reels, numb hands, frozen snot and the list goes on. Now clear your mind for a minute and focus on the fishing. You're in a stream with no one else around. The air is crisp and clean. The sounds you hear other than your own can only be of nature. The fish that eat are the strongest in their environment. Just like you, they're not lying around being lazy. Just like you, winter trout have learn to embraced the cold and strive to live a life of solitude and peace even when it would just be easier to rest back in deep holes and sip on midge larvae all winter.

Those words are as much to encourage myself as they are to encourage others. You see I don't need another excuse to not go winter troutin' but when I put it all aside and finally get to release a strong beautiful fish like the one in the picture all of the excuses to not do it are erased.

How to do it
coffee break
I set out on this cold winters day to float about 5 miles of river in my Outcast Stealth Pro. I especially like to float this time of year. It's so much easier to cover water this way instead of trying to access everything on foot. Snow, mud and ice on foot makes trekking very treacherous. It's much easier to float plus I get to cover a lot of water. I'm only looking for the most active eager fish and I find them in current on seams where the water is alive and oxygenated.

On this day I had three rods with me. That's another advantage of floating, you can carry multiple rods.  My tried and true Winston BIIIX 4110-4 Microspey with a Bauer CFX #4 Trout spey reel. I loaded it with the Airflo Switch Streamer line of 330gr and 10 foot of T-7 Sink Tip. I must confess I modified the Airflo line. Everything is perfect about this line except the abnormally large running line part of it. I couldn't take no more so I chopped it at the back side of the head and applied a RIO Braided loop so I could connect it to RIO SlickShooter mono shooting line. I'm not suggesting everyone should do this. Try it first and you might be fine with it. I made it through last year fishing it but winter freezing temps finally made me give up on it. Too thick to work in icy guides and shooting lines such as mono are much better for this cold weather fishing.

Peregrine Falcon

My next outfit is the new Sage ONE 3110-4 Trout Spey coupled with a Lamson Litespeed #3 reel and the RIO Intouch Switch Chucker #3. The Sage rod feels great! I'll be doing a full review on it in the near future once I've had a chance to fish it some more with some different lines and heads. Right away this grip on the Sage feels so great...It just fits me and the rod balances perfect. What I didn't like on this day was the Switch Chucker. I just don't get this line. It just doesn't turn over for me easy. Maybe it's me or maybe I expect too much from it. I started out with 8 foot of T-7 sink tip but backed off to a 10 foot fast sinking polyleader. It still seamed difficult to turn over.  Maybe it needs a 5 foot polyleader or just a regular leader. I will fish the Sage rod again soon with the RIO Skagit Trout Max heads and also try my favorite scandi the RIO Scandi Short VersiTip. I wished I had the VersiTip with me this day. It would have been ideal for some of the slower riffles that were holding fish. The sink tips I was fishing were too much for them.

Mr Brown hammered a streamer in icy cold water
My third outfit was a 9' 7wt unnamed rod let's consider it a prototype coupled with a Bauer CFX #4 Trout Spey reel. For lines I had a RIO 0.024" Powerflex shooting line looped to a OPST 225gr. Commando head and 8 foot of T-7 Sink tip. I can't begin to describe how fun this setup is. Just think about what you want to achieve and do it. Roll cast like a dream, overheads easy and spey is just too fun. Set you anchor and let it rip or perform a touch and go cast. These super short commando heads bring life to single hand rods in ways that one should not overlook. I found myself fishing small micro seams that I used to pass over because my two hand rods were just to much for these little pockets. With OPST Commando heads or the RIO Skagit Trout Max heads I am now seeing new water to fish and it's paying off. The trout on the top of the page came on this outfit on a micro seam.

Towards the end of my float is a long great swing run. Another advantage of floating is I was able to set up on the opposite side of the river of were it could be foot accessed. A nymph angler was across the way so I stayed clear of him. I was backed up tight to the bank and needed to Snap T cast to set up my swing. A minute later the nymph guy yelled down and said "Nice Snap T!" I yelled back and said you are the first person on this river to know what that is. I went on and caught a couple and he also caught a couple. When I left I rowed my boat across river and up the back eddy to the guy. Got out and chatted. Yep he lived in the NW and had been spey fishing for 20 years on the peninsula and BC. He continued to fish as we chatted and I couldn't help noticing the double spey he was doing with his single hand nymph rod setup. The only reason I bring this up is that it doesn't matter what technique you're doing out there anyone can benefit from some two hand techniques. After watching him perform endless double speys I had no reason to doubt any word he spoke of his steelhead experiences. He wasn't thinking about what he was doing, he was just doing it.

So back to the question "Why do I do it?"
 I think the answer to that is somewhere in this article

More articles like this one in Trout Spey Chronicles

BassProGreg



Gorge Fly Shop Internet Sales Manager | Product Specialist


"Fly Fish the World with Us"


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