This winter I decided to pursue traditional spey flies and their methods. I made this decision because our local Great Lake tributaries are finally void of crowds, and I've never stuck to the swing in the winter before. Below are 5 ways to keep you tying and fishing all winter.
1) Try it. Don't be afraid of a slow day. So far my friends and I have not been skunked this winter fishing in every possible weather condition and temperature. Stick with the swing and you will be rewarded! You may not hook as many as you could on an egg/nymph, however, you will cover more water and increase your chances of finding a fish that is really hungry!
2) When the temps have been in the 20's and 30's fish will take medium sized flies in the 1 to 2" range. Best methods are a low and slow swing in medium current... and don't forget to strip slowly through the side slack waters!
3) When the temps are in the Zero to Teen range (which usually coincides with low water flows) use small and sparse patterns. Old school traditional spey flies work, just stay confident and keep the flies low in the water column and with the slowest possible swing.
4) When temps are warmer high 30's and 40's, tie on the big stuff! Still try to keep the swing slow but don't be afraid to give them a real meal. The slightest warm up can really turn the bite on. Don't forget you can tie spey flies on any hooks, I use 'cheap' bronze finished straight eye streamer hooks, and they still catch fish!
5) Introduce a new person into the world of tying and fishing (especially kids)!
Want to see some more... Check out some of my photos from the last few weeks of winter fly fishing.