January 1, 2018

Patterns for Winter

For the waters I fish during the dark and cold months of winter I generally use bead head nymphs. Of these, I generally prefer competition-style flies, as they seems to out fish more traditional patterns.

These flies usually don't seem to represent anything in nature, but the trout are attracted to them and take them readily.

I was fishing the other day using a San Ron Worm. I chose this pattern since it has produced for me in the past and I haven't used one for a while. I took nothing. Maybe it was my presentation. Maybe it was just one of those days. But the worm didn't produce for me as it had in the past.

After a short while (I have very little patience when not catching fish) I changed to one of these competition bead head flies. On the second drift, through the same water I had worked the worm, I hooked into one of the largest browns I had ever taken on the stream I was fishing.

Was it the pattern? Was it the drift? Beats me. But what I do know is that over the following minutes I hooked more trout than I had done the previous same length of time while fishing the worm. At least on that day, in that reach on river, the competition flies worked better.

Here are a few patterns I've been tying and fishing lately:

Grey Mop

Red Dart

Blushing Vader

Crimson Prince

Napoleon's Dynamite

Happy New Year, and happy fishing!


  1. Is one of the nymphs in the images the one you are referring to in this post?

    Thank you!

    1. Many thanks! Any reason to think this may not be as effective int he Driftless reason? (Pardon me if this is a no-brainer to you; I am new at this!)

  2. I love these pictures, Tom - almost as good as a blow-by-blow tying instruction. One question: where do you find a nice, neutral colored mop? All my local places have day-glo orange or a putrescent bright green?

    1. I'll be writing a blog post soon regarding this topic.


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