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Fishing on a Fly Report - January 2019

Fishing on a Fly Report - January 2019

Fishing Report  January 1, 2019

Happy New Year to the fly fishing tribe!  Let’s hope for a good year of many exciting fishing adventures, good water flows, and happy fish.  We’ll be able to kick things off January 5 with the opening of the Early Catch and Release Trout Season.  No more having to drive to Iowa, we can fish in our home waters. Yeah!

Advantages of fishing the early season are many:  No biting insects, no head high bank grass, no wild parsnip plants, no sweltering humidity, low angler traffic, and hungry trout that haven’t been bothered by anglers for a long time. Now for the disadvantages: Cold temperatures, iced up rod guides, cold fingers, shorter fishing windows. You can work the plusses and minuses to your advantage by doing the following:  dress warm, wear fishing gloves, rig your rod up at home(warmer inside than out), spray your rod guides with PAM or Loon Ice OFF, and plan your fishing day around the 9 A.M. - 2 P.M. window. Getting on the stream later gives it time to warm up a couple degrees and by 2 P.M. the afternoon “melt” kicks in making the stream off-colored and a few degrees colder turning the fish off the bite. Pick your day - if it’s below 25 degrees don’t go out because it freezes a fish’s gills when you take it out of the water.  It’s also hard on your gear-no sense losing flies on a frigid day when the fishing is mediocre at best. Try to spend as much time fishing from the bank as possible to protect spawning redds and to prevent an accidental slip or dunking that can put an early end to your outing and cause hypothermia.

Here are the recommended layers for winter fishing: Base - Smartwool mid-weight bottoms and mid-weight top (crew or zip T); Insulation layer - Patagonia NanoPuff jacket or Simms Coldweather Shirt, Bottoms - Simms Coldweather Pant or Marmot Powerstretch fleece pant; Outer layer - Simms Guide Jacket or other Gore-Tex rain jacket; Socks - Expedition Trekking or Wader Socks from F.I.T.S. or Smartwool; Head - Simms Exstream or Chromer hat, Stormy Kromer HatSmartwool Beanie.

With the exception of an occasional midge or winter stonefly hatch, primary fishing will be subsurface with either nymphs or streamers.  Indicator nymphing with scuds, pink squirrels, and small prince nymphs using a zebra midge or a size 18-20 pheasant tail nymph as a dropper will do the trick.  Any of your favorite streamers in sizes 6-10 fished slowly thru the deep pools can produce some big fish on warmer days.  Euro nymphing and indicator nymphing with a Tenkara rod are good techniques to help abate the problem of iced up rod guides.

For those who need to thaw out and fish in warmer climates now is a good time to visit Belize, the Bahamas, and the Yucatan Penninsula of Mexico for bonefish, permit, and tarpon.  If you are planning on heading to these destinations, we have rods and reels, tropical fly lines, saltwater leaders and tippet, and saltwater flies to outfit you for your trip.  Craig has fished these destinations extensively, knows what works, and is happy to assist you with your trip preparation-give him a call or shoot him an email at with any questions.


Upcoming Events:

SWTU IceBreaker:  January 26, 2019 American Family Training Center.  Featured Speaker-Rich Ostohoff

Badger Fly Fishers Spring Opener:  February 9, 2019 American Family Training Center.  Featured Speaker - Pat Dorsey

Fly Fishing Film Tour-F3T:  March 7, 2019 7:30 P.M. at the Barrymore Theater.  Join us for a night of exciting fly fishing films, and camaraderie in Madison’s unique east Isthmus neighborhood.  With the Barrymore Theater venue and the diversity of dining options, this makes for a great date night. Advanced tickets are NOW available at both Fontana Sports locations.