Chilling can be fulfilling while winter trout fishin

February 13, 2005|by BILL ANDERSON

I realize that there may be ice on parts of many popular streams, but the trout fishing season is actually here.

For most people, it seems strange to be thinking of fishing when the ground is still covered with snow. But diehard anglers don't always think like most folks.

West Virginia began its stocking season in January, which means the bi-annual and weekly waters were to receive one stocking. There are also many spring creeks that stay open throughout the year and offer great winter fishing opportunities.

Trout fishing during the winter months presents special challenges.

The cold water and air temperatures are the obvious problems, but trout do feed throughout the winter. The key is to adjust your fishing approach to the conditions.


Probably the most important thing to keep in mind is getting the bait, lure or fly down to the fish. With few exceptions, the trout will be holding in the deepest pools found in any stream. Slow and deep are key words to keep in mind when the water temperatures are this low.

I received an e-mail from a West Virginia angler who reported excellent fishing during the period of warm weather we had last week. He said that the recently stocked trout really responded to various colors of PowerBait. Many spin fishermen will use nothing but PowerBait in the early part of the season.

Fly fishermen can also do well in the late winter or early spring.

All good trout streams have good populations of aquatic insects that the trout eat all winter long. As a result, small nymph patterns can often catch nearly as many fish as bait. Fish your flies right on the bottom, drifting them through the deer pools.

Good nymph fishermen can almost always take a few fish.

Fishing the very early season is not without its problems. It's obviously hard to fly cast when the guides are caked with ice. But the trout are there, and the diehards will tell you that even a cold day on the stream beats sitting in front of the tube, wishing for warm weather.

Bill Anderson writes a weekly outdoors column for The Herald-Mail.

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