All of us at Picabo Angler hope you had a healthy, peaceful and joyous Thanksgiving. Now it’s time to work off all of that turkey, mashed potatoes and apple pie by hitting one of our local rivers for some winter trout fishing.
Winter in the valley means midges, so your winter fly box (no matter where you fish) should include a robust selection of Brassies, Zebra Midges, WD-40s, Griffith Gnats, Parachute Midges and Tie-Down Midges in size 18–24 are great imitations. For midge larva and pupa, red, black, gray, olive, and brown are all excellent colors.
If you are nymphing rivers like the Big Wood, Big Lost or South Fork Boise, patterns such as Rubber Legs, Girdle Bugs, Copper Johns, and Rainbow Warriors are winter staples.
Streamer fishing on Silver Creek can be particularly effective during the winter months. Let the weather and water conditions dictate how and what you fish. When it’s really cold, you should be fishing your offerings low and slow; swinging a lightly weighted leech, bugger, or small zonker can produce some quality fish. When it’s a bit warmer out, or if there’s an overcast sky, fish a baitfish pattern such as a Sparkle Minnow, and fish it a bit more aggressively.
Typically, the most productive winter fishing occurs during the nicest part of the day; noon to p.m. is a good window. Concentrate your efforts then, when the fish are most active.
It’s important to make safety and comfort a priority when fishing during the winter. Warm layers, gloves and hats are essential for being comfortable, as are waders in good working order. Also, be prepared for winter travel. Have an emergency kit in your vehicle – flashlight, blanket, food, water, cellphone, shovel, tire chains, etc.
Keep in mind that waterfowl season is open, so be aware of hunters and use common sense when on the water.
Be safe, and happy fishing, everyone!