Winter is a beautiful time of year to fish the rivers around Falcon’s Ledge. The snow along the river and the blue skies creates some of the most spectacular scenery of the year. Flying insects that live on the river have mostly died and the trout feed mainly under the surface of the water. The insects that are actively hatching on the river are small. In this blog we will discuss the best flies for winter fishing in Utah.
Zebra midges are one of our favorite flies to use during the winter fly fishing in Utah. Zebra midges are effective in black and rust color. When fishing shallow riffles during the winter zebra midges can be dropped off a dry fly about 24 inches. Zebra midges are also effective in deeper bends and holes in the river. To effectively fish deeper runs in the river zebra midges should be dropped off a strike indicator to the desired depth. We like to run a nymph rig with a big heavy nymph and a zebra midge dropped off the heavy nymph about 18 inches. In the afternoons if a midge hatch does come off and trout start rising on midges a parachute midge or a size 20 klinkhammer in black or grey is a great pattern for some Utah winter dry fly fishing.
White woolly buggers are also a favorite winter fly for our rivers in Utah. Big brown trout that are hiding in the deep holes under logs and undercut banks will often be enticed to come out and strike at a white woolly bugger that is placed close to the structure and stripped slowly. It seems that the white woolly bugger bouncing around their hiding spot is too much of a meal for brown trout to pass up and they will often strike.
San Juan worms are another great fly to use during the winter fly fishing season in Utah. San Juan worms in red and purple are both effective and a bead body helps the fly get down into the strike zone quicker. In shallow riffles a dry/dropper rig is effective, but in winter months trout are often spending their time in deeper runs and a nymph rig off a strike indicator is the best bet.
Spanish bullet perdigons are one of the most effective midge patterns you can use year-round. This simple pattern with a black head and an olive body is simple but very effective. Fishing this pattern in the winter months off a strike indicator as a trailer fly with a heavy nymph will catch fish.
Quasimodo pheasanttail nymphs in size 18 are also very effective on Utah rivers during the winter months. These versatile nymphs are a great imitation for larvae crawling on the rocks in the winter.
Winter is a beautiful time to fly fish in Utah. We hope that you get the chance to get out and fish this winter. These five flies are great ones to have in your box when you fly fish this winter. Good luck out on the water!