Well, the leaves are down, and we are now to Thanksgiving. Before I talk about winter trout, I want to share one of my father’s favorite verses from a poem by William Cullen Bryant. It was composed back in the mid-1800s. Anyone who has spent time in the outdoors in the Midwest or East will probably quickly identify. So, here goes…
The melancholy days have come, the saddest of the year.
Of wailing winds and naked woods and meadows brown and sear.
Heaped in the hollow of the grove, the autumn leaves lie dead;
They rustle to the eddying gust, and to the rabbit’s tread.
The robin and the wren are flown, and from the shrub the jay.
And from the wood-top calls crow, through all the gloomy day.
Wonderful poem! Hits home to many. But, hold on…don’t be sad, be thankful! For we live in Colorado, and we have winter trout. By winter trout, I mean that we have trout that continue to eat through December, January and February. And when they eat, they can be caught. As stream flows have slowed, these trout are most likely to be found now in the deeper holes on the river.
Their table fare now consists of much smaller insects. Small emerger patterns as well as small midge patterns seem to work the best. I like #s 22, 20 and 18. If you have better vision than I do, you might even fool around with 24s and 26s. For the most part, the fish are deep. Plan on weighting your line near the flies with some shot to get to the deeper part of the hole. There are sometimes exceptions when the fish will come near the top and sip bugs in the film. That usually happens about midday when the sun is out.
So, it is time to dig out your cap with the earflaps, put on some long johns and fleece leggings and climb into your waders. And yes, you will probably have to wade through some snow to get to the river. Speaking of the river, the waters that freeze up last are those tailwaters below reservoirs. Make them your first destinations.
Melancholy. Gloomy. Not hardly!
Feature image: 21″ Brown Brian caught on a #22 midge in January 2015