Interview with The Outdoors Podcast + "Junk Season"
Recently, I had the chance to sit down with AJ over at the "Outdoors Podcast. We had a blast and talked about finding a great fly fishing guide no matter where you are going, how to be a great fly fishing client, what makes New Mexico special and the importance of fishing where you are. You can check that out here
Winter. It's cold, trout are eating midges and small mayfly nymphs and if I forgot to mention, it's cold. While this time is also synonymous with fishing small midge and baetis patterns (#18-20) you have a choice to also not do that. Winter is a great time to also throw junk. Junk is a common slang amongst fishing guides for things like eggs, leeches, worms, and red hooks (seriously). While bugs like stoneflies may be presently active in your local river, usually winter fishing is synonymous with tailwater fishing. In most tailwaters, the bio mass of insects is going to be midges and baetis, aka small bugs. With this being said, many a tailwater fish will also eat higher protein packed items when they see them drift by in winter a la leeches.
Eggs can also be highly effective in the winter tailwaters, especially if the system has brown trout. Brown trout are fall spawners but because tailwaters have a very consistent river temp the spawn is prolonged, brown trout will often times spawn into January. What this means is that eggs are washing out of their redds from September through the winter and opportunistic trout, both browns and bows, will eat the eggs drifting down river. It is important to note NOT TO TARGET actively spawning trout. If you see fish paired up on a redd( fish nest) leave them alone and let them bring forth the next generation of trout.
(a redd, or trout nest. Even if you don't see fish on them, be mindful of their presence as wading over them can kill off the eggs or alvin in the gravel)
On your next tailwater outing this winter don't be afraid to throw "junk". Tis the season and I will fondly look back on it this summer when running double #26 midges high column on the San Juan. Until then, junk it is , until the fish let me know they're not having it anymore.