On the Fly: Fishing banker’s hours

Will Sands
On the Fly
Meddy Hogg with a Fryingpan rainbow trout,
Brandon Soucie/Special to The Aspen Times

Winter fly-fishing offers some unique opportunities that cannot be had at other times of the season.

Several of our favorite reasons for winter fishing are banker’s hours, ease of locating fish and the visual excitement of being able to stalk your quarry and sight fish. During the colder months, these factors play a key role for many anglers being more successful at catching fish. There are very few other anglers around, much more so now than during the summer or fall, which is generally the perceived fishing season.

Several key factors affect why winter fishing is often simply easier. Winter water levels, water temperatures and time of day narrow the window of when fish feed; this makes targeting winter fish rather easy in general.

Water levels for certain are the most important factor as gin clear, lower flows during our winter season make locating fish quite easy. Winter trout seek the warmth of the slower, deeper runs and pools now as opposed to being all spread out during the spring, summer and fall periods. Since deep, slow runs and pools should be easy to identify, anglers can expect to find numbers of fish concentrated together, limiting the need to seek out a variety of different water types.

Banker’s hours and water temperatures go hand in hand for the both the angler and trout. With an increase in daily temperatures, water temperatures will also rise. These slight temperature increases stimulate trout to feed and enables anglers to focus on the easiest times to hook up. The combination of being on the water during the warmest part and most productive part of the day certainly maximizes an angler’s comfort and enjoyment level!

Sight-fishing tops off the excitement of getting out in the winter to go fishing. With the ability to easily determine where and when trout are going to be found and are most active, nothing seals the deal more than being able to watch trout react to your fly. The gin-clear water during the winter allows anglers to stalk and sight fish to pods of fish or pick out and target individual fish. Often times this allows anglers to single out some of the larger specimens and hook up with some of the season’s biggest fish. For hot tips on where and when, check in with local guides and local shops for insights and advice.

This column is provided by Taylor Creek Fly Shops in Aspen and Basalt. Taylor Creek can be reached at 970-927-4374.