Animas Lunch Report – 12/5/16 – Snapping Ice
Fidgeting with small flies, threading tippet, twisting knots, plucking said flies from trout mouths, and snapping ice from fly rod guides. Fingers get worked the on the river in winter. The rest of the body just stands there, a roll cast here, a mend there; but the fingers really carry the team. Even if the fishing is good, finger health plays a large part in the stamina one has for standing in icy waters. When it gets too cold to re-rig, it is usually time to head in.
So yeah, it is getting colder with each passing week; but fishing has still held up quite well in fact. Fish the small stuff with the heavy stuff in the deep stuff. Transition zones are good spots to consider (deep drop offs and troughs, fast/slow water seams, scum lines, etc). Double nymph rigs are the common denominator that binds most of us lately…but there are still a few that hold fast the old streamer ways.
If you do get out and you do happen to throw a nymph rig (be it a single, double, or even triple nymph rig), remember this one thing if you retain nothing else: shorten up your rig elements. Now I don’t mean shorten the depth of your rig, you need to be fishing deep. What I mean by that is you need to shorten the distance between all your flies and your split shot. This time of year, I rarely have a distance of more than 12″ from my spit shot to my top fly, and then to my second fly, (or third). The reason is that fish are hanging right on the bottom this time of year. You want those flies on the bottom with your split shot. If that tippet distance between your split shot and your first fly is too great, you are not in the zone. A good rule in cold weather is to keep the distance from your split shot to your bottom fly (in a 2 fly rig) at 1.5 feet.
Another option is to try out a drop shot rig, but keep that distance at 1.5 feet from top fly to shot (in a 2 fly rig of course).
Oh yeah, and if you catch one fish, stay in that same spot. Trout will stack up in the winter. Finding a fish or two indicates that you have found a good spot with good depth and cover for wintering fish.