Winter fly fishing | SierraSun.com

Winter fly fishing

Bruce Ajari
Gone Fishin'

With the Truckee and Little Truckee rivers open for winter seasons since March of 2007, anglers in the Truckee-Tahoe area can wet a line in their local waters.

The special regulation water ” which requires barbless hooks and artificial lures, or fly angling with a zero bag limit ” begins from the confluence of Trout Creek to the Glenshire Bridge and from Prosser Creek to the Nevada state line. In this section, only barbless artificial lures or flies are permitted.

The section from the Glenshire Bridge to Prosser Creek is a bit different in that only barbless flies are permitted in this stretch of water. Most of this water is also private, belonging to the San Francisco Fly Casters.

The Little Truckee between Stampede and Boca reservoirs is a much longer trek since the road is usually only plowed to the Boca dam. You will need to either snowmobile, cross country ski or snowshoe after storms. When we get long breaks in the weather you may be able to get a 4-wheel drive vehicle close to the inlet area.

Fishing this winter has been pretty good during the early months. January was a particularly good month when there was a break in the weather. February has proven much slower as the water temperatures have gotten colder.

In spite of the cold conditions, trout must periodically eat during the winter. Since their metabolism slows down with the cold temperatures, the fish do not need to feed as often.

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Winter tactics should include working the water thoroughly since a fish will not move very far to take your fly. You must put the fly directly over the fish. As a result, the angler should work a likely spot with a number of casts trying to cover every square inch of the area fished. If you do not get a bite after covering a stretch thoroughly, move on to the next spot.

Nymphing is the typical method employed during the winter, but occasionally you will find fish feeding on the surface. If this happens, I consider myself lucky and fish a dry fly. Fishing a dry fly is a very pleasant experience.

If you are planning a winter outing, be sure to consider the difficulty in accessing the river. Parking will present a major challenge for the winter angler, particularly right after a storm. Keep in mind that access may be better closer to the Nevada state line because of the decrease in elevation, and therefore snow.

Even if you do find an area to park, you may need snowshoes or cross country skies to get to the water’s edge. Once down there you can either stash the snowshoes or skis, or carry them on your back while you are fishing. The former is a much better option for fishing.

Finally, be sure to wear sunglasses and use a liberal amount of sunscreen while you are out fishing during the winter. The reflection of the snow can be damaging to the eyes and skin. If you have done a lot of spring skiing you will know just how intense the sun can be during the winter.

Also take some water with you because it is a lot of work just to get stream-side. You will need to drink lots of water.

While catching fish is nice, a winter outing can bring great solitude, some wonderful scenery and a little exercise. Catching a fish is just a bonus!