Guest Post by Ben R. – Stillwater Fly Shop Sales Team Member
The crew at Stillwater Fly Shop answers lots of questions everyday about fly rods, reels, waders and all types of other outdoor gear. Universally; the most common question our sales team gets in emails and on the phone is: “What gear are you fishing right now?”
Periodically Stillwater Simplified will feature where, what and the gear one of our crew is using to give some insight about the fly fishing equipment that we personally use on an almost daily basis.
Ben R. – Sales Team
What am I fishing for this winter? Central Oregon offers unique opportunities during the winter months for fly fishermen. Winter brings unique challenges that anglers don’t experience in other seasons. This means the techniques that I use fishing change from day to day; sometimes hour to hour. Normally, change is not experienced so randomly during the rest of the year. Taking advantage of these continually varying factors that impact a day on the river has greatly impacted my love of trout fishing.
Winter can be tough for trout fisherman, conditions are nowhere near close to ideal. Most of the rivers and lakes that I fish are closed. Water levels are constantly changing, almost as much as the weather.
Water temperatures, lighting and weather dictate whether I find myself stripping buggers in pools and eddies or casting Blue Wings or midges during the occasional dry fly hatch (but don’t ever expect it to happen). Nymphing the edges of seams or where the current drops of at the end of a run tends to be where I find most of my success.
This myriad of constantly changing conditions requires patience and forward thinking. Winter brings lower water levels with unenergetic fish that require very specific methods to catch them. In my experience this requires moments of delicately precise casts, long slack line drifts, lengthy swings with a sink-tip line. But most of all, you need strong will and be able to improvise.
I find moving with a consistent pattern and covering more water with a plan keeps me from not wasting time on fish that are not willing to eat or that aren’t there. In these low water conditions fish can be easily spooked. Careful movements with precise casts are a must during the brief windows that hatches do appear during the day. But is the ability to adapt quickly that will make your day successful and what makes fishing through winter so fun, frustrating and rewarding.
Remember: You may only get one chance at that fish before he gives up for the day.
- Cortland 20# Micron Backing in Chartreuse
- Airflo Super-DRI Elite WF5F
- Occasionally with a Rio Trout Versileader
- Wulff Triangle Taper – TT4F – Olive
Patagonia Rio Gallegos Waders have finally been perfected by Patagonia. There are a lot of great wader manufactures out there these days and I have tried them all. I have found the new Rio Gallegos to be comfortable and durable with some great features.
Simms G3 Guide Boots with mixture of Hardbite Studs and Alumibite star cleats. The Simms G3 Guide Boots are unquestionably one of the best boots ever made. These are my boots of choice because they are built to be fished in. Lightweight, durable and comfortable, with the industry leading technology.
- Socks: Simms Exstream Wading Socks
- Base Layer bottom: Simms or Sitka Merino
- Outer Layer bottom: Simms Coldweather Pants and if it’s really cold outside the Simms Exstream pants
- Base layer top: Simms or Sitka Merino next to skin. Simms Guide Midtop or Sitka Heavyweight core if really cold outside
- Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whispper down jacket [40+ degree]
- Sitka Kelvin Hoody [Sub 40-20 Degree]
- Simms G4 Pro Jacket [Rain]
- Patagonia [+30’s]
- Kast Steelhead waterproof gloves [Sub 30’S]
- Insulated beanies or trucker caps to show my brand support
- Smith Parallel Max lightweight with a perfect fit, can’t go wrong!
Have your questions answered by Ben, Bryce sure to call Stillwater at 1.877.598.7322 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.