By Dennis Breer, Trout Creek Flies
When the Green River is in the clutches of winter’s cold air and lower water temperatures, the fish still need to eat - are still biting.
One of the more closely held secrets for many of us that live in the Mountain West is that January and February, most years, have more blue-sky sunshine days in them than there are days with miserable weather. So, while the rest of the country thinks we are bombarded by snow and cold, we know that there are considerable stretches of weather suitable for us to spend time doing a variety of outdoor activities, including fishing.
Now I know many anglers who hang up their fishing rods in the fall not dreaming to fish until the next spring, some of them not even until summer arrives. But there are also those year-round die-hards that will fish under any conditions, anytime, anyplace out there somewhere. While we might like to change the minds about what a fishing season is to the first group, their absence does allow the second group lots of solitude when and wherever they fish. Hummm! Maybe I should not mention that! Oh well! The point I am trying to make: There are some great days and great fishing available this time of year. Take time to enjoy the shoulder seasons on the Green River when it is less pressured.
During most of the day the sunlight plays hide and seek through the canyon sections of the river, making it very cool wherever the sun doesn't touch. So visitors need to be prepared mentally and physically for whatever conditions or weather Mother Nature deals them. The sunniest area throughout the day is around Little Hole. Consequently, most of the midges and winter Baetis hatches occur there, but it collects the most anglers as well.
If the weekend weather forecast calls for warm and sunny, there will always be a few hardy anglers about. Skiers from the nearby resorts in Utah and Colorado often take a break from their skiing vacations to take in a little winter fishing as well. But in contrast to the rivers other seasons, this is a quiet time of year.
The brown trout continue their spawning activity well into January most years; some of the really "big" fish expose themselves and are often more vulnerable than normal during this time.
Nymph and streamer fishing are the most effective ways to approach the river, but anglers should always be on watch for those small pockets of midging fish. Their subtle rises will announce the few best opportunities to surface-fish small sparse midge patterns in olive, black or grey.
For nymph fishing, I prefer to fish large, brightly weighted scuds with midge trailers. Pink and orange are my two favorite colors and have great attractor qualities. I fish them as large as size eight but no smaller than size 14.
Other anglers prefer using Glo-bugs in the same colors but often add chartreuse to the arsenal.
For midge trailers, I use a number of patterns ranging from Brassies to WD 40s in the smaller sizes ranging between 18 and 22.
If I was to single out one important tip for fishing during the winter period it would be to locate the fish before spending time fishing the river. The fish will tend to "pod" in certain areas and vacate others. So, locating fish should be your first priority when reaching the river.
Dress appropriately, think layered clothing that is easy to adjust.
Finally and most importantly, have fun!
Copyright Dave Webb, 2005