Its the last day of the craziest year likely all of us have ever experienced. I really have nothing to complain about other than I didn’t get to travel to Brazil and Belize. This has been my busiest year guiding, also one of the wettest. The Fall was a struggle cancelling and rescheduling do to all the rain. I would love to see a dryer Spring this coming year.
The majority of my trips this Fall/Winter have been fishing for trout. My main focus has been on the Jackson River tailwater section. Fishing was good most days until we got into December and the colder water temps. From my experience when the water temps get 46 degrees and less on the Jackson you have to start working a lot harder for the bites. Having a hatch of some sort is key to get the fish moving for their food. Midges and blue winged olives are two insects you will see the most of during the cold months. You can expect to see the hatches to get going 11am-2pm, so the earlier morning fishing has been tough nymphing until the bugs show. January-March we will start to see little black stoneflies (size 14) on sunny days. Just keep in mind no matter what fishery you are on for trout it will take more drifts to catch them. Trout will not move far for a bug in the Winter, maybe a foot if your lucky. Cover the water well and hit them in the face!
We have had plenty of water lately, higher flows makes nymphing tougher but a better chance to catch “Big Bad Leroy Brown” or “Downtown Julie Brown” (if you watched MTV in the 90’s) on streamers. I have had my biggest brown trout come during the Winter months fishing streamers. Brown trout eat less this time of year so when they do eat, brown trout will go big because they wanna be full and lazy. Don’t blame them, its cold outside.
The other fish of Winter is the musky. Makes my arm hurt just typing the word. If you haven’t done it then you don’t understand it. Early Fall was good the few times I got out with clients, November not so much. December produced some eats but none of them landed. Frustrating to have happen and likely will haunt you until you land your first one. Was blown out for the majority of this month from the weekly rain fronts, so hoping for January and February to be drier and 50-60 degrees would be great!
Looking forward to 2021 knowing in a couple more months the weather will change and different fish species will be available. Happy New Year!