Put away your 6x tippet, #20 thread midges, micro-indicators and tiny split shot. Walk past that slow glide and toe-up at the start of a long riffle. Tie on a Dirty Mop and swing it through. Swing it slow, twitch it, jig it, let it sit there for a while.
|This chunky Bow took a Dirty Mop like it had no choice.|
To be fair, this attitude may simply reflect the warmer winters we’ve had over the past couple of years. Last year was remarkably warm and fish were commonly moving long distances to chase down streamers in January, February and March. While this year has been substantially colder than last year, we haven’t experienced many nights of sub-zero temperatures and most days have reached the upper 20’s (at least). Yesterday, Dan H. and I were finding fish (both browns and rainbows) in the riffles and getting them to follow streamers into the shallows.
Dan and I have spent a lot of time fishing the winter season in Minnesota. Back in the day we fished in some very cold conditions (highs in the upper 20’s) during cold winter seasons (these were typically the warmest days of the winter). It seemed like all of the fish were hanging out together in large groups in the slow glides and deeper pools. It was pretty easy to see them and take them on a midge fished deep. In the last couple of years I just have not seen fish hanging out in these large clusters. Has anyone else experienced such a shift in fish behavior and distribution during the winter? Have you modified your tactics? Is this one silver lining of climate change?
|Dan working a run with Charlie|
Or, will fish take streamers day in and day out regardless of temperature? A fish should not have to move long distances to eat a slowly swung streamer, so this is possible. The problem here is that neither Dan nor I have any interest in fishing when the daily high is below freezing (to old for this), so we probably won’t be testing this hypothesis any time soon. Is there anyone out there willing to fish streamers in very cold temperatures and during cold winter seasons and report back (Justin)?