Tips for catching trout this season

Photo credit H. Earl Evans

Everyone who wants to fish for trout in the winter clearly loves to fish. It’s cold and windy, but what’s the alternative of staying inside? When the water is open it’s time to go. Here are some winter trout fishing tips that can help you get fish into your net.

1. Low and slow, that’s the pace. When water temperatures are between 55 and 65 degrees, a trout will metabolize a stomach full of food per day. When the temperatures are higher or lower, they burn the same stomach full of food every four days. Move your flies slowly and on the ground.

2. Target hatches. Some rivers and streams have excellent winter mosquito hatches. If trout take advantage of the easy harvest, you definitely want to be on the water.

3. Dark colors … right? As a rule of thumb, natural, muted colors apply in winter. That is, if the fish don’t respond, throw them a lighter colored spoon, spinner, or fly.

4. Supply room service. Precision casting means the trout doesn’t have to move far to eat. Trout hang in slower water, so tuck yourself around large rocks, along banks, and in deeper pools and runs.

5. Watch your step. Trout fishing in winter can be slippery. Studs provide additional traction on snow and ice. A wading stick transforms your two-legged body into a tri-pod. Additional stability keeps anglers upright, vertical and most importantly, dry.

6. Warm up. Tips for fishing for winter trout include clothing. Base layer, middle layer, outer layer, shell. Use Silk, Poly Pro, or Performance layers near your skin to help wick moisture away from your body. Staying dry means staying warm. Then you have the choice between fleece or wool layers. Add a seashell to keep the wind out. Fingerless gloves provide warmth and dexterity.

7. De-ice your guides. Almost freezing temperatures and air freeze the stripping guides of a fly rod. Some companies make special pastes to keep the guides from icing up. You can also use aerosol cooking spray like Pam. Chapstick works pretty well too.

Of course, you can catch fish in the winter and it doesn’t have to go through the ice. Fishing for winter trout from the bank is certainly better than indoors. Find open water, dress warmly, and catch them up.

Tom Keer

Tom Keer is an award-winning writer living on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. He is a columnist for the Upland Almanac, a contributing writer for Covey Rise magazine, a contributing editor for Fly Rod and Reel and Fly Fish America, and a blogger for the Take Me Fishing program of the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation. Keer is a regular contributor to over a dozen outdoor magazines on topics including fishing, hunting, boating, and other outdoor activities. When not fishing, Keer and his family hunt highland birds over their three English setters. His first book, a Fly Fishers Guide to the New England Coast, was published in January 2011. Visit him at or

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