Q: What flies are best during winter months?
A: Just like any other time of the year certain rivers demand certain flies. Unless fishing tail waters (and even there most of the time) your fly choice will be of the nymph variety. Most of our bug hatches have teetered off and the nymphal stages are in full swing. There are many flies for different rivers so I will give you a few of my favorites across the board. When looking through your fly box you should have several varieties of Stoneflies and Caddis Larva. These are the two most abundant food items to trout in our streams. My favorite Stonefly pattern (along with most of WNC) is the Boss Hog. Tan is my favorite but brown has its place. These flies are very heavy and will sink in the water very fast. The rubber legs on this fly are probably the most appetizing part. For fishing Deep or quick current the Gummi Stone is a great choice as well. For the Caddis family I prefer to use the Rock Worm Caddis, The Dynamite Pupae in olive or tan, or the Grand Poopah in olive or tan. Although nymphs are the name of the season you will see some small Black Stoneflies flying on some of the colder days. They are sometimes referred to as Snow Stones. A small Elk Hair Caddis (size 18-22) will also do the trick. One rule of thumb that I live by in the winter is “If you are not hitting bottom go deeper”.
Josh Garris ~ CWO Professional Guide