Winter can be a challenging time for fly fishing but extremely rewarding too. Whether targeting Grayling on the river or fishing for stocked fish on a still water any success will mean overcoming the conditions and having a basic understanding of the behaviour of the fish in the winter months. Below are some winter fly fishing tips to get you started.
The predominant species active in the winter months is the midge which exists in most bodies of water in the UK. A variety of midge patterns from bloodworm to small dries such as Griffiths Gnats will help imitate the stages of the midge. Here are 3 great midge patterns that represent each stage of the lifecycle.
The biggest show stopper for winter fishing is the cold and it’s your fingers and toes that really take a battering! Toes can be insulated with layers of socks with thermal socks on top however it’s normally the hands that are difficult to keep warm, especially when wet. Over recent years there has been some excellent innovation in these areas with neoprene gloves. Lots of varieties are available including fingerless through to whole gloves. No one likes fishing in gloves but these will keep you out on the water and warm even with wet hands!
If you are one the river targeting Grayling over the winter then you will need a good stash of heavy bugs and czech nymphs. Deep and slow is the key here let those bugs trundle nice and deep and look for the slightest of takes. Remember that Grayling are more likely to shoal in the winter months so if you get into a fish, keep fishing in the same spot as it’s likely that there will be a few more down there! Here are 2 cracking heavy bugs that work brilliantly for Grayling:
Pick Your Spot & Time
Anglers are notorious for early starts however you may as well have a lie in on a winters morning as the fish activity is more likely to be during the warmest part of the day which tends to be around 1 o’clock.
Don’t play chase
In the colder weather Trout are not likely to be chasing their food so use patterns that can be fished slowly such as buzzers on a still water. While targeting Grayling on the river look for the longer deep runs and ensure nymphs get down deep – use shot or leader putty to the get the required depth if you have to.