Frozen Waders, Heavy Stoneflies, and Wild Browns

"Grip and Grinning" one of the nicest fish from the day. Photo taken by Jake Villwock
Photo taken by Jake Villwock

Yesterday warranted the first wild browns of 2016. With this winters first shot of 20 degree weather and a dose of bitter wind, you would think that it would be a good day to stay at home.  Sometimes it pays to disregard the weather forecast, string up the rod, and just go fish. Yesterday was certainly one of those days.

I thought about spending the day tying flies, but when Bryan called and asked me to go fish with a few of his buddies I couldn’t turn down a good time. We met up and fished with Jake Villwock from TCO Fly Shop and his friend Rob.

Despite tough January weather conditions, the fishing was really everything we could have asked for. Good friends, a couple craft Busch Light beers, and plenty of cooperative fish to go around. From all the rain last week, the water conditions were ideal, particularly if you like to fish heavy stoneflies. Ahhhh, the joys of catching trout on big flies never gets old. I would say about 65% of the fish I caught ate stonefly nymphs, and the rest fell victim of a Frenchie in size 12. Although I think that the larger bugs were important, I think fishing the right water type was more important.

Winter fish behavior has truly set in, and the browns we found today were definitely in the winter water type such as slower, deeper riffles, large pockets, and soft glides. Low and slow was also the name of the game as far as where the flies needed to be. The fish were relatively podded up together in the winter water, and tight to the bottom.

As always, it’s much easier to brave the cold weather with a couple buddies. Dealing with frozen waders, cold weather, and getting on the water was far worth the effort yesterday. Along with more than satisfactory numbers, I was able to put several browns in the net in the upper teens. The pictures were all taken on Jake’s camera so you will have to hang tight for them.

If you are itching to get on the water I would do it soon. Looking at the long term forecast here in Pennsylvania it looks like it’s only going to keep getting colder the next few weeks.

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