Fishing

Weiss: Advice for wintertime fishing while on foot: Go low and slow – PostBulletin.com

Summary

Trout are cold-water fish because they need cooler water than panfish, bass and walleye. Streams around here are fed mainly by springs where water is approximately 48 degrees. Hence, cold-water fish.

But there’s the thing — in winter, relative to the Mississippi or the Root and Zumbro rivers, they are warm-water streams because those springs are still releasing 48-degree water, while the others are barely above freezing. The bes…….

npressfetimg-7568.png

Trout are cold-water fish because they need cooler water than panfish, bass and walleye. Streams around here are fed mainly by springs where water is approximately 48 degrees. Hence, cold-water fish.

But there’s the thing — in winter, relative to the Mississippi or the Root and Zumbro rivers, they are warm-water streams because those springs are still releasing 48-degree water, while the others are barely above freezing. The best trout streams stay open year-round (OK, there may be a bit of ice around the edges), though water temperatures do drop to the upper 30s or low 40s.

In the past few decades, the Department of Natural Resources gradually allowed more and more trout fishing in winter — all catch-and-release. It’s legal through the end of the year in Whitewater, Forestville and Beaver Creek state parks as well as in Chatfield, Lanesboro, Preston, Spring Valley and Rushford. As of Jan. 1, all streams are open, catch-and-release only, until the regular opener in mid-April.

RELATED:

Weiss: Though weather has turned cold, it’s no reason to stop fishing

John Weiss: Buck-ing the norms: More girls are becoming hunters

When asked their advice for how to catch winter trout with fly rods, John Stoeckel of Rochester and Dean Flugstad of Lake City, said the best advice for where to find trout, and how to approach streams, is think: Low and slow, low and slow, low and slow.

Around now, trout get lethargic and seek places away from current and predators, he said. That usually means deeper, quieter, pools instead of fast-moving shallow riffles.

Anglers should also move low and slow because trout in riffles can’t see us easily in summer, but those in calmer winter water, which is usually also clearer, can see us easier.

“Winter is a great time to work on your nymph fishing” because of the fish being low and slow, Stoeckel said. He likes to fish with orange scuds and imitations of cased caddis. Baetis nymph patterns or midge larva are great all year as are zebra midge or miracle midge. He often fishes a scud with a midge dropper.

He wears waders but “if you can fish out on the banks, that’s better.” It’s warmer on the bank and lessens chances of spooking fish or ruining a redd (scooped out area where females lay eggs).

The bite might be very subtle. Stoeckel likes to fish with a shorter tight line; if he has to cast farther, he uses an indicator. He also may uses strike indicators as a bobber, letting line slowly drift across a pool while held up by the indicator.

Lower your expectations, he said. Yes, at times you can really get into some fast fishing but chances of super days are slim.

Some of his final thoughts:

• He only fishes …….

Source: https://www.postbulletin.com/northland-outdoors/7292824-Weiss-Advice-for-wintertime-fishing-while-on-foot-Go-low-and-slow