Winter Bow – Flathead River

The weather looks tolerable for a little fishing this week. Highs near 40 are as good as you can ask for this time of year. Still haven’t heard of any midges coming off yet but it should happen soon. Maybe this week?

If you have a winterish type spot that you can get to it will probably be worth a toss this week. What is a winterish type spot? Deep and slow pretty much sums it up. Close to your vehicle is good too. Creek mouths are also worth exploring if they are open to fishing. Some are closed so check the regs.

Swinging streamers deep and slow with a nymph of some sort off the back is a good way to search. A RIO Versileader  12ft with a sink rate of 7IPS is just right. Tandem nymph rigs work too of course. You might try to add some shot and lengthen the leader a bit to keep it moving slow and low.  RIO Indicator Leaders are great for winter nymphing. They are longer and taper faster allowing the fly and leader to sink quicker. Try one.  Flies of choice are your typical freestone winter Turd(stonefly nymph) or SJW  as the lead fly with a size 12 beadhead flashy peacock somethingerother attractor nymph off the back. Just about any beadhead nymph will work. Here is a few we like.

Winter Nymphs
Red C-Johns
Prince Nymph variations
Eggs / Glo Bugs / Beads
SJ Worms – The Pink Glacier Eel
P-Tail Flash backs
The Turd / G-bug / Rubber Legs / Girdle Bug / greatest nymph ever created
20 incher stones (tungsten cone = sink fast)

Winter Dry Fly Fishing
If you see midges, look in the flat water and back eddies for sippers. Small H&L Variants and Royal wulffs work well for a visual and are great midge imitations in sizes 16-20. Small para adams and Purple Haze work over midging fish too. In another month or so fish will start to eat the foam skwala stuff if they are up on midges.

Spring is around the corner according to the Ground hog. For now, winter fishing is a reality for another month or so. It can be pretty good so don’t be scared. Our Flathead River winter special is a great way to get out and explore the river in the winter months.

Jason Lanier
Latest posts by Jason Lanier (see all)