True anglers will find a way to get on the water, no matter what the weather is like, but it’s not as simple as just heading out to the river and floating downstream. Here are a few simple, but helpful tips that will give you an edge on the river this winter.
Some fishermen either fail to factor the moon into their fishing, or are just too overwhelmed by it to think much of it, not realizing that lunar cycles have a huge impact on fish activity. Fish behavior slows down so much in the winter, and the days get shorter. You’ll want to be on the river when the trout are most active during these months, which means you’ll need to be on the water when the moon is either rising or setting.
Now that we’ve touched upon the fact that, like most fish, trout become increasingly sluggish during the winter, this brings me to my next tip: slow down and think small. Much like ice fishing, you’ll want to downsize your baits and lures and slow down your presentation, in order to give the fish time to strike. Instead of using spawn sacs, I’d switch to mealworms, wax worms, or maggots, and in the case of lures, keep your spoons in the tackle box and utilize smaller inline spinners. With the spinners, reel them very slowly and allow the current to give the bait its action.
Lastly, with all these small lures and baits, you’ll undoubtedly be tying and fidgeting with knots and swivels here and there, so you’ll need to take care of your hands and keep them warm so that you don’t drop any hooks or lures, or accidentally hook yourself. There are several types of gloves that are designed for ice and fly fishing that possess index finger and thumbs that can be folded back. This enables you to work at your leisure, exposing to the cold only the two fingers you need to get the job done.
Sometimes it’s easy to get so caught up in the exciting prospect of reeling in some trout during the winter that we forget to take certain elements into consideration on the river. As long as you remember to keep an eye on the moon, keep winter fish behavior in mind when you choose a lure or bait, and take a few simple measures to keep your hands warm, then you’ll be fighting your share of trout in no time!