Are you looking to head out to the lake, pond, river, or stream to chase some winter trout? In this article, we are going through the top five winter trout fishing tips to help you be more successful in catching trout during the winter.
As an angler chasing winter trout you have the opportunity for some epic trout bites on the water hooking some trophy even lunker-size winter trout.
Tactics for going after trout in the winter are much different than in the spring and summer time frames.
The water is getting colder, the days are getting shorter and the trout start to change their patterns dramatically from what they will and will not bite. So before you head out for some winter trout fishing incorporate these winter trout fishing tips.
Top 5 Winter trout fishing tips
1. Find slow waters for trout fishing in winter
Find slow waters and fish close to the bank. When fall transitions into winter fishing, trout start to hang out in the slower-moving waters in creeks and rivers, and in ponds and lakes the trout start to move from the cooler, deeper water in the summer to the shallower and warmer water towards the bank.
Whether fly fishing or gear fishing, creeks and rivers, trout tend to hang out in slower-moving waters. A trout’s metabolism slows down dramatically in the winter and they want to spend less energy which the slower water moving provides.
So target slower water in streams, creeks, and rivers.
And for fishing lakes or ponds, fish close to the bank. As water temps drop, trout move from the deeper to shallower water looking for warmer water.
The trout will keep close to the banks so start plunking bait or cast some spinners. Then it won’t be long before you hook into a trout or two.
2. Bring extra warm clothes
Some of the best trout fishing I have experienced has come in super cold snowy temperatures when the snow is sticking to your face.
So if you plan to head out to chase trout in the cold temperatures bundle up and make sure you have enough layers to keep warm out trout fishing.
My rule of thumb is always to layer up more than you need and remove layers as the day warms up and I always take a waterproof rain jacket because you never know when it’s going to rain, hail, sleet, or snow.
And if you stand in the water with breathable waders those extra layers will keep you warm and a pro tip is always to have an extra set of clothes in the vehicle.
I’ve had too many instances of falling into a creek or river with my waders and the next thing I know there’s water in my waders all the way down into my boot and that water is cold or you might even run into a leaky wader.
Nobody likes to drive home after a day of fishing and wet clothes, so pack an extra set in case you get wet or have leaky waders, trust me don’t ask me how I know.
3. Fish more spinners
Over the last few years, I’ve had some epic trout bites on spinners as the temperatures drop. From creeks and rivers to lakes and ponds trout have a tendency to make a reactionary bite towards that spinner.
From blue fox spinners to panther martins and rooster tails that annoying spinner coming by can annoy the trout and you can get some really good reactionary bites in areas of the water when you might have thought that there wasn’t a trout there.
I like those darker spinner colors like dark blue, green, brown, black, and red as winter goes along. But try a subtle pink or orange and you might be surprised how many trout you can catch.
Another pro tip, have a variety of spinners too. Sometimes hitting the same spot on the water with a different size is all you need for some epic hookups.
4. Sleep in, fish later
Conventional wisdom would say to get up early and fish in the early morning for trout. Well, that might be true in the spring and the summer when temperatures are warmer, sleeping in can actually be effective when chasing trout in the winter.
When temperatures drop into the 40s, 30s, and even the 20s you’re better off hitting the water later, say 11 a.m to 3 p.m.
Trout tend to bite less in those colder waters as their metabolism drops but over the course of the day, the rising sun can warm the water and give the trout that jolt to start moving and looking for food.
That’s why waiting for the sun to be higher in the sky and warm up the water can be more productive in producing bites.
Plus you can sleep in, have a nice cup of coffee in the morning, cook some breakfast, and take your time getting to the fishing spot.
And there’s nothing I like more than showing up at 12:30 in the afternoon and catching three trout right away while everybody else is looking at me like dude who’s this guy that just showed up and is hammering all these trout what the heck is he doing right that we aren’t.
So sleep in and hammer those afternoon trout kids
5. Go small and light for trout fishing in winter
When temperatures start to drop into the 40s and 50s start downsizing your fly, your power bait, or your spinner presentation. Winter trout are more known to bite smaller presentations.
As their metabolism slows down in the cooler temperatures they tend to bite less and stay in calmer water. Smaller presentations will be more attractive to the trout than those big presentations you might use in the spring or the summer.
Having a variety of flies bait and spinners of all sizes will give you an advantage. You can either start very very small and get a little bit bigger with your presentations or start with a medium-sized presentation and go smaller and smaller.
Fishing over the same water with bigger presentations than going to a smaller presentation could just be the difference between an epic bite and going home with no bites.
So in winter trout fishing go small and make big hook sets.
And that’s my top 5 winter trout fishing tips. Hope you enjoyed the article and comment below on your favorite winter trout fishing tip. Now get out there and catch some winter trout and just know you can’t catch them from the couch.