As we finish a wonderful fishing season, we are quickly finding ourselves facing the long winter ahead, and adapting to changing weather patterns and trout habits will definitely help in one’s success on the water.  Colder nights and shorter days mean the fish will be eating much of what is put in front of them, and as food sources grow fewer, and trout’s metabolisms slow down, it becomes a factor of more casts and less debating on what patterns to throw.

   A good example is found now on the Henry’s Fork of the Snake where the colder temperatures are ushering in the baetis during the warmer portions of the day, and we have been seeing good hatches of blue wing olives and fish rising readily.  Don’t try and make a living strictly on the dry fly presentation, but have blue wing olive dries in the size 18 to 22 range, and concentrate on presenting emergers and baetis nymph patters until the fish decide to show themselves on the surface.  Streamer fishing should be very productive until the water temps drop significantly as well.
   The Teton River here in the valley has also been good with more of the same.  We received several reports during the past two weeks of many large fish eating streamers such as wooly buggers, sculpin patterns and clouser minnows in bright colors.  The blue wings will also be on the Teton for the forseeable future, so look for the afternoons to produce fish eating on the surface and eating emergers as well.
One of my favorite locations to fish the early winter is on the South Fork of the Snake, and the water levels have dropped to the standard winter flows of around 1,000 cfs.  This enables anglers to find excellent walk-n-wade opportunities throughout the system, with brown trout beginning to spawn.  Nymphing zebra midges, rubberlegs and stonefly patterns should produce for the hungry fish out there!  Streamer fishing will also produce formidable strikes, so look at nymphing or streamer chucking in the slackier water, as the colder water temps will force the fish to move out of the faster water to conserve energy.  As always, the Crew at any of our Three Rivers Ranch locations are eager to provide information, gear and flies to help you enjoy a fantastic winter fishing season.  Thanks for your continued support and we will see you on the water!
by Dave Heib in our Driggs Fly Shop
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