Best Choices For Winter Fishing – Fins and Feathers Bozeman
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Best Choices For Winter Fishing

As we all eventually find out, winter fishing can be a challenge at times in these parts. Most of the challenges are purely weather related. We luckily aren’t dependent on runs of fish coming up from the Ocean or Great Lakes so other than moving out of the riffles and into the deep holes, the fish that were there in September are still around in December.

One of the luxuries we have is the ability to run out to a nearby tailwater or spring creek when the urge hits us. These waters keep a pretty consistent temperature, so they only fluctuate a few degrees from the warmest day of the year to the coldest. Obviously the closer you get to the dam or where the creek comes out of the ground, the less the temp. changes. Bottom release dams are a lot better for water temps than top release dams. Both summer and winter.

When it gets cold, Trout are definitely attracted to slower and deeper water. One reason is their food source changes a little. There are not nearly as many Mayfly nymphs or Caddis larva moving around when it’s cold. Midges become the most reliable food source and prefer the slower water because even on the coldest of days, they can hatch, mate and lay eggs in the thin layer of air on the waters surface that will stay just above freezing. In addition to Midges, food like Scuds and Sow Bugs thrive in tailwaters and spring creeks. The weeds are a lot more prolific in these types of water and that’s what those little crustaceans prefer.

A few of the more productive places I can think of include the Missouri around Craig, the Madison below Hebgen Lake and below Ennis Lake. The Paradise Valley spring creeks are ultra productive as well, although there is a small fee to fish these private waters.

Come into our Bozeman Fly Shop for the best selection of flies around.