Winter Fishing | Bozeman Fly Shop – Fins and Feathers Bozeman
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Winter Fishing | Bozeman Fly Shop

Fishing in winter can be productive and peaceful with little fishing pressure on the rivers. Tailwaters like the Madison and Missouri are good choices during winter, but freestones like the Gallatin can also be productive. Don’t bother heading out bright and early during winter because afternoons are usually when fish do most of their feeding for the day. You will find trout holding in slower, deeper water during winter, and once you find one fish there will usually be more. Work a spot thoroughly when you get onto a fish because chances are you can catch more out of the same hole. If you aren’t getting anything in a spot then move on to a new spot. When the water temperature gets cold the trout become more lethargic and will not go out of their way to chase food. Dead-drifting your flies is very important as is getting your flies down deep. Using a strike indicator with weighted flies and splitshot will help to get the best drift. Dry fly fishing can be good at times during winter when the midges are hatching. Look for rising trout in slick water or anywhere that has protection such as eddies and behind boulders. Our Bozeman fly shop has found that dry fly action will be best during the warmest part of the day, but sometimes is good throughout the day when the weather is calm and cloudy. Some people prefer to swing flies with a sink-tip line during winter. The best way to do this is to throw a mend in as soon as your line hits the water so you can get a slow and deep swing. Midge nymphs and dries are a must have on any river during winter. When fishing tailwaters it is a good idea to try flies like worms and scuds while on freestones you might want to try a small stonefly. Having a good layering system for under your waders is the best way to stay warm in winter. I’ve been wearing the Patagonia Nano Puff Pant under my waders which have been awesome as I hate being cold when I’m fishing. There have been plenty of warm days so far this winter, so don’t be afraid to hit the rivers on one of these nice afternoons.