Winter Tenkara Fishing

The weather has been getting colder and colder.  Sections of streams that we fish in the summertime are bitter cold and trout rising to the surface are nearly non existent.  But Winter time doesn't mean you have to stow away your Tenkara rod until the sun comes out again.  Winter fishing can be just as fun as Summer fishing, as long as you know what to expect.  So the first thing I do to prepare for fishing in the Winter time is lower my expectations.  I know that going out in the middle January I am not going to stumble upon a monster salmon fly hatch with fish rising all around me.  For me, Winter fishing is more about the hunt, and I am lucky to go home only catching a fish or two.  I like to carefully select the riffle or hole I am going to fish and be really sneaky, because in my experience, trout tend to be lazier and spookier this time of year.

Winter Fly Selecting: The best part about Tenkara fishing in the winter time is the length of the rod and the ability to keep the line off the water while nymphing, and the fact that you don't have freezing guides.  Typically I either put a heavier nymph on and fish it in a deep hole, or a smaller Tenkara fly and fish it just under the surface on a riffle, all the while keeping the line off the water.  Sometimes a combination of nymph and Tenkara fly will work really well.  Winter time is a great time to hone your technique and try out different things.  You don't always know if there are fish in a particular spot or if they will even eat, so it gives you the chance to switch up your flies, or approach the spot from different angles. 

Selecting the right day to fish is also extremely important.  If the cold breaks and you get a slightly warmer day the fish tend to be more active (not too mention you stay warmer).  It is also wise to check the river flows.  I went fishing the other day before checking the flows only to realize that they bumped up the water level from 300 to 700 cfs.  Such a drastic change in water level spooked the fish and it wasn't a good day of fishing at all.  But the most important part of Winter fishing is just being outside and having a good time.  Because when Summer rolls around and you can fish in shorts and chacos, the fish are eating and active, and you can fish from 6AM to 9 PM everything you learned in the Winter will come in handy and your fishing game will have improved.  So just get out and fish!

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