Alice’s Angle: January

1 comment / Posted on / by

By: Alice Tesar

It’s cold out there and mid-winter fishing is reserved for the intrepid angler.

If you get skunked in January most of us would not return home and say, “eh, it was a great morning standing in mostly frozen water and icicles only formed on half my nose hairs.” Let’s talk about getting into fish without learning too many new tricks so you can be efficient on the water this time of year. If you live in Northwest Colorado you’ve been waking to sub-zero temperatures and the air rises to zero degrees around 9:30 AM. Pick a day when temperatures are warming, say above 15 degrees. As I’ve mentioned before within this series, trout are slow moving in the winter and their metabolisms are slow too causing them to eat less. Consistent with low bug activity they will often look for easy bait fish meals over hatching midges. That’s right, these bitter and cold months are the only times I really enjoy fishing streamers. I’ve been told I’m not normal before.

Why is fishing streamers different in mid-winter than mid-summer?

One hyphenated word: dead-drift.  Dead-drifting streamers under an indicator can be effective in shallow water and deeper pools throughout the winter. However, I lean toward fishing deeper pools this time of year. If you catch the bottom a few times you’re fishing the correct depth. Deep and slow is key. I prefer olive and copper zonkers, mayers mini leeches, and will often add a trailing copper john or bead head midge. I find that in this set up, a small streamer in a slow drift with minimal action is eaten more times than the trailing nymph.

My final tip is to remain on smaller tippet regardless of fishing a streamer. The water is crystal clear this time of year and I encourage you to be stealthy. Trout will not attack your streamer like they do when you’re stripping it across a pool in October. You don’t have to get crazy, I like to use 4x flouro and then 5x flouro to my nymph.

Remember, when fishing in January, it isn’t about quantity. The fish are not in big groups eating, so when you’ve spooked one or caught one, move along to increase your chances of getting into another. Bundle up and get after it!

Alice Tesar
Alice guides for Steamboat Flyfisher in Steamboat Springs CO.
Gink & Gasoline
Sign Up For Our Weekly Newsletter!

Follow Gink & Gasoline on Facebook:

One thought on “Alice’s Angle: January

  1. I have a 20/20 rule for winter fishing. The air temp must be > 20F and the wind must be < 20mph Otherwise the guides ice up to much and it is more hassle than I want to put up with. I just turned 60 years old, and 5 years ago I wouldn't have cared about iced up guides but I'm getting fussy in my old age.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Captcha loading...