|Typical Stillwater Winter Conditions|
|A Single Nymph Rig|
|What Fly To Use?|
|Freshwater Shrimp Pattern|
If you are fishing a typical Stillwater, walk around and explore the terrain. Look for silt beds, bays, and land that sticks out a bit because these are fish holding areas. This will allow you to cast across the wind and permit your fly to drift across feeding positions. It may seem counterintuitive, but casting into the wind can be very productive indeed. Submersed insects will be drifting toward the windward shore, and you will be surprised how close-in the fish can be. Of course, there is always the worry that you will get tangled, or worse still, the fly will blow back in your face. So use common sense, wear protective eyewear, and make sure the wind is not blowing so strongly that you can't keep your balance. Also watch out for icy banks and avoid high bankings with deep drop-offs in windy conditions.
|Always Take Care When Winter Fly Fishing|
|Cast Low Into the Wind|
|Fluorocarbon Tippet Material|
Regarding nymph selection, start small and imitative. Don't be afraid to go down to a size 16 or 14 because if you get pulls right away; you have just received some valuable feedback. If you are not having any success, try a size 10 or 12. Also, be conscious of the depth that you are fishing. If it's a sparsely tied fly, or if the fly is weighted, there will be very little buoyancy; therefore, it will slowly sink below the surface. So experiment; vary the times you let the fly drop. Common patterns to use when nymph fishing in winter include Apps Bloodworm, Weighted Hares Ear, Micro Midge, Corixa and Freshwater Shrimp.
|Weighted Hares Ear|
|The Diawl Bach|
Lastly, if all else fails, it's time to bring the big stuff out. In winter, the fish are looking for an easy Protein meal and prefer not having to chase about for their dinner. However, sometimes it can be as effective to trigger their aggression and curiosity by pulling a Cats Whiskers, Zonker or Blobs. Just remember that casting bigger flies requires heavier lines, leaders, and a wider loop to allow the fly to turn over and not catch the bottom of your leader. Or if you just haven't got the energy anymore and you fancy a bit of fun, stick a 4 Leg Squirmy Green or Okey Dokey under a Fario Fly Bung, chuck it out, wait for the bung to go under, and lift into the fish.
|Fario Bung Fly Set|
When winter fly fishing, the possibilities are endless. Wrapping up warm, doing your homework, asking questions, stocking up with the right flies, and a willingness to explore the water can make for a very successful day. Persevere with the imitative approach. You might just surprise yourself how effective a technique it is.