I have learned numerous new winter angling skills in the last eight seasons which compliment my 22 previous winter trout seasons. These skills have afforded me the pleasure of successfully and comfortably angling for stream trout in freezing temperatures. I recall that my first try at winter stream trout angling found me in the creek, balls deep, wearing two pairs of jeans while casting a five-foot fiberglass ultralight tipped with a panther martin spinner.
I have come a long way since then.
Justin and I left Winona in temperatures that keep some of the best outdoor adventurers home. We had studied the weather pattern closely for the week. We planned to fish the warmest part of the day, to try and beat the cloud cover expected around noon, and to find active trout to fool with a fly.
I tied an 8-foot leader to match my 8'-3 weight Winston Rod. I tied a #14 tungsten bead head adams onto the leader to which I attached 6-inches of 5x-tippet and a #20 bead head miracle nymph.
We did not beat the clouds to the creek. We knew before looking that we would not be able to sight fish trout today due to the overcast. We hiked, in less than 10 degrees F, less 30-yards from the car and proceeded to catch fish immediately.
Justin and I are comfortable with the casting lane that angling the pipe provides. Further, we always expect to see at least a few midge about and rising trout.
By 3pm the sun had begun to slip behind the bluff to the west. The air temperature plummeted several degrees over several minutes. We each brought at least a half a dozen fish to hand. We released many fish without handling. By gently handling the trout in this creek we can expect to catch them numerous more times over the next few months.
The drive was 90 miles round trip. I fished for less than two hours. I counted three flying midge throughout the day.