Fishing Report - February 12th, 2024


February 2024 Fishing Report,

Welcome to the first fishing report of 2024! As in years past the fishing regulations have changed to allow for much more catch and release fishing during the winter months. The state does have several special regulation rivers so be sure you double check that the spot you plan to fish is in fact open prior to wetting a line. 

If you’re like me, my fishing gear has been packed away. Now that the days are getting longer and warmer weather is upon us it’s time to dust that gear off and get out on the water. It’s never a bad idea to go through your gear to check for leaks in your waders, make sure your zingers still retract and the bag on your net is in one piece. Nothing will ruin your first day faster than filling your waders with freezing runoff water.  

In terms of fishing trout’s metabolism slows significantly in the cold winter months. They won’t need to feed as often as they do in the spring. That being said I find if a fish is going to spend the calories to move to feed it needs to be worth it. As fun as it is to see small midges hatch, I wouldn’t hold your breath to see many trout rise to them. I have much better luck with bigger flies. My winter fly selection will usually consist of two weighted flies that are opposite in appearance. Maybe a big bright stonefly and a dead muted colored egg, or a tan squirmy and a bright colored blow torch.    

The winter months are also a time I tend to fish more split shot and indicators. Trout will often hold in deep slow moving water. I find suspending my flies under an indicator allows me to stand further back which hides my presence and also keeps me warmer by standing on the bank. I prefer to fish a right angle rig. I will cut down a 9 foot 4x leader to about 5 feet long. Using the stouter butt section of this leader allows me to roll cast and turn over heavier rigs. False casting these rigs can and often will end in a big tangled mess. I will put a larger tippet ring at the end of the leader and fish level 6x or 5x fluoro tippet down to my flies. I keep my indicator just above this tippet ring to keep it from slipping on that thinner diameter tippet. Another great winter time option is fishing streamers tied on jig hooks. We have added some new patterns for this year like Egan’s poacher, Weiss’ UV jig, and simi seal leaches. All of these are tied with a 4.6mm tungsten bead, dead drifting these can work. You can also use your rod to add a jigging action to them, the heavy weight will keep them close to the bottom and that vertical action in slow water can entice a fish to eat without having to chase it down like it would if it was swung or actively retrieved. I would also encourage you to size up your tippet if you plan to fish a streamer. Having a little more power to set the hook with a thicker gauge hook is never a bad thing. We have started to slowly bring some fly fishing gear back over in the store. So please stop in to get geared up and see what’s new.

We have a couple important dates coming up 2/13 the New Haven River Anglers will host Ben Wilcox from Maple County Anglers at the Marquee Theater in town at 7PM. We also just announced the 16th Otter Creek Classic tournament will be held on May 4th and 5th. We will have more information to come in the next few days about when and how you can register for that.