Saturday, February 1, 2020

Winter in the South




It’s winter in the south. Winter here means the weather patterns can change as quick as speed limits heading into a small southern town.

Just the other evening I did a presentation about winter fly fishing. As I went through the presentation, I realized that even with the big releases on the tailwaters, there  still a whole-lot of opportunities to go catch a trout and keep your skills sharp. You can’t keep your skills sharp or even learn new skills without fish...right. (That my story and I’m stickin to it)

Some folks let their fly rod and other fly-fishing accouterments sit idle during the colder months. Scary I know! They wish they were fishing or worse yet watch it on TV and sometimes even on YouTube. It’s just better to get out on the water. See, in Tennessee, and several other southern states, there are winter trout stocking programs.

In Tennessee, the TWRA winter stocking program stocks trout less than 10 minutes from my house. I know, I know, there are some pretentious “anglers” reading this and looking down their nose. I’m not talking to those folks and in reality fly fishing next to them on a river makes me look toward TV or even YouTube to get a fishing-fix. I’m talking to anglers who want to get outside and enjoy some fly fishing while sharpening their skills.

If you want to get your wintertime trout fix you can “search The Google” to find map after map and even dates when the streams will be stocked. Stick with me for just another minute... I said it will give you the map and dates, I didn’t say show-up and help unload the fish from the truck and into your net. The location and date are just a starting point. You still have to catch them.

This year I am looking at winter stocking as a way to get out on new water and keep my euronymphing skills sharp. Yep “highsticking” is all the rage right now and I’m getting inquiries about techniques in this style of fishing. While I started highsticking in the Smokys 2 decades ago, I have to admit until last year they have sat dormant. Highsticking takes a different set of skills than my usual winter streamer trips. And don’t tell anyone but I’m using that as a reason to keep my skills sharp. OK really, it’s just another reason to get outside and step into a river.

Working on your skills- When states stock trout for their winter stocking program they will put a fair number of fish in several locations. Once you have done your homework and you are dialed-into what they are eating, the numbers of fish can give you just enough repetition to keep those skills sharp.

Want to work on a new steamer pattern, highsticking, indicator fishing or just about anything else? Winter is a great time to try something new.  Whether you are developing new skills or keeping rust off your old skills, the winter stocking programs around the South might be a good program for you.

So, instead of wishing you are fishing or worse yet watching fishing on TV or even YouTube, layer-up, grab your fly rod and take some new ideas, then head to the rivers and streams and work on those skills. Just watch those speed limits heading into small towns...


If you are a seasoned angler or have never picked up a fly rod and want to set up a day on the river call/text 615-796-5143 or email david@southeasternfly.co to book a day on the water. For additional booking information see our HomepageTo sign up for the latest edition of Southeastern Fly News Click Here

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