The fact of the matter is this: there’s no better way to search the bathtub-sized bucket beneath that half-exposed root wad, or that frothy piece of pocket-water that is the bane of all dry fly drifts. You know there’s a big cutthroat down there that’s just been waiting—almost begging—for some tasty morsel to drift three inches from its head. It would almost be offensive if you didn’t try. As we all know too well (sometimes, admittedly, to the point of frustration) trout do most of their eating under water. So pull out that bright pink bobber you’ve been hiding in your pack all summer, or drop a pheasant tail off that sad hunk of foam that no trout has looked at in months. Let your freak flag fly—and catch "that" fish.
You can fly fish in the winter? Iced up guides, frozen fingertips, and fresh powder don't exactly scream trout fishing to the masses. However, to a select few winter fishing is a chance to escape the ski crowds for solitude on the river. No matter what Mother Nature throws at us, one thing is for sure, you need to pump the breaks a bit. It's cold, and so are the fish. Take your time, slow down your drift, and don't miss those impossibly subtle winter eats.
PERFECT SETUP | WINTER NYMPHING
“My perfect setup for the Truckee is an easy one. The 10 foot 5 weight R8 CORE is how I make a living. Period. Unless I'm fishing a small creek, a 10 footer has always been my go-to. The extra length allows for effortless water loads, perfect mends, and ideal line control. This stick pairs well with a #5 RIO Indicator line on the ARBOR XL 4/5/6 reel. The extra mass allows for efficient casting when lobbing multi-fly rigs, heavy split shot, and bobbers... classic "junk rigs". When it comes to leaders, I keep mine pretty simple. I typically run 6 feet of 12 lb RIO Fluoroflex Plus to a tippet ring. From there I'll add a few different sections of tippet, 4-6 feet long, based on conditions. Then big fly, little fly, done. Easy." - Matt Heron / Truckee, CA Fly Fishing Guide
There are days when you just want to sit by the river and let the fish come to you. And then there are the days when you want to move, to see some country, to see how many miles you can push it while still making it back to the car before dark (because of course you forgot the headlamp in your other pack). It would be hard to argue that there’s any better way to cover ground than with boots in the water (or in the snow) and a pair of nymphs at the business end of the rod. Drift fly, catch fish, change pools, repeat.
PERFECT SETUP | WADE NYMPHING
“When wade nymphing, a longer rod is extremely beneficial to maximize your reach and line control capabilities. The 10' 5 weight R8 CORE offers just that, while still maintaining the necessary sensitivity to protect light tippets and small flies often used throughout the winter months. Paired with RIO's Elite Indicator WF5F fly line and balanced with an ARBOR XL 4/5/6 reel, this setup offers the ultimate in drift control and turnover of heavy nymph rigs - whether roll casting or overhead casting."
It doesn’t always have to be hard. Doesn’t have to be work. And though an argument can be made for the value of a fish caught after a five-mile bushwhack uphill through stinging nettle-ridden bear country, an equally persuasive case can be made for the trout caught five miles from the boat ramp, from the comfort of a padded seat, with dry feet, and with the added benefit of a bubble of plastic to let you know when it’s time to lift the rod. It’s a matter of values—some prefer to pay in cash, some in crypto, and some in trade. The payoff is almost always worth it—unless you’re the one on the oars.
PERFECT SETUP | BOAT NYMPHING
When drifting down your favorite trout river, having a setup that can easily control the line - keeping it tight to the indicator – is extremely important. Additionally, having a powerful fly line to easily lift and reposition a nymph rig is equally as important. The R8 CORE 596-4FB paired with a TROUT 4/5/6 and RIO Xtreme Indicator WF5F line will allow you to be the most successful when fishing nymphs while in a drift out of a boat.