Swinging Flies to Jingle Bells

The Winter Solstice is just around the corner and I’m still swinging flies and catching trout. I purchased a two-handed switch rod and have been practicing Spey casting the last couple of weekends. It’s going to be my winter project. The casting movement is certainly much easier on the shoulder especially when fishing a big wide open windy river.


sw alberta brown trout


I was hoping to get away to somewhere exotic like Patagonia (check out First Cast Fly Fishing) or NZ this winter for some dry fly angling but I don’t think that I’ll get the time needed for a DIY trip. So, swinging flies it is.


sw alberta tailwater river


All I need is the temperature to be somewhere around zero and it’s quite comfortable out there, even with the sun just barely arcing above the horizon. From noon until 4:30 works well. The fish seem opportunistic then. I keep the menu real simple: a small leech like pattern (black, dark brown or olive) with black rubber legs. Maybe it’s the wiggle; maybe not.


Three weeks ago some trout were feeding in the riffles and hanging out in shallow drop offs. They were quite active. Lately most have been down deeper. I hauled one up the other day in cold weather and it had mittens on its fins.

no nose

brown trout


Since I’m not heading to the southern hemisphere I’ve been researching winter steelhead opportunities. There is an intriguing river ten hours from my home. It’s a bit of a hike but maybe I’ll get a chance to put a big bend in the two-hander. In the meantime I’ll keep practicing my technique.


rainbow trout



road home to the rockies









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