Winter Fly Fishing Revised – Again


Winter is upon us again, and it seems to have arrived earlier this year.  Every year I put together a box of flies that I really like to use during this season, and every year I change it up a little.  This year’s box is made up of some dependable flies that I have used for quite a while, some other regular patterns that I have refined a little, and a few new patterns that I have found or have developed at the tying bench.  All have been working well so far this season.

CJ’s Sparkle BWO, sizes 18 – 20

Patterned after the Parachute BWO, this one uses olive Veevus Iridescent thread instead of dubbing for the abdomen.  It gives the body a little bit of flash.

BQ Baetis Nymph, sizes 18 – 20

After receiving a sample of Veevus Body Quill, I looked online for some ideas of how to use it in my tying.  It earned a spot in my Winter box this year.

Radiation Baetis, sizes 20 – 22

I tied this pattern a couple of years ago for one of my customers, and have had a lot of success fishing it myself since then.  The tungsten bead gets it down quickly, and the orange collar is a great hot spot on the fly.

Griffith’s Gnat, sizes 18 – 20

This is a traditional midge dry fly that has proven itself over the years.  It’s simple, easy to tie, and a deadly fish attractor.

Hacklestacker Midge, sizes 18 – 20

This has always been a great dry/emerger pattern for those days when you find some surface action going on.

Zebra Midge, sizes 18 – 20

This year I am sticking with black for the Zebra, and bringing the other colors out in some different patterns.  This fly also sports a tungsten bead.  Red and olive are still great color options for the Zebra.

Poison Tung, sizes 18 – 20

This is the variation that I tie using a black tungsten bead and a chartreuse flash for the abdomen.  It’ simple, it’s slender, and it always catches fish.

CJ’s Tungsten Blood Midge, size 18

I have been working for a while on a weighted blood midge pattern, switching off materials until I developed this pattern.  With a little flash and some UV material incorporated into it, I have had some great days fishing this fly.

CJ’s ULTRAviolet Midge, size 18

After a customer asked if I could do a midge pattern in purple for his home waters, I started working on this fly, working off the success of the Blood Midge.  The first two days of testing it on the water resulted in over two dozen fish being brought to the net.


If you think this sounds like a good combination of flies for the season, I have decided to add it to my shop.  It’s a collection of 32 flies, two flies of each pattern in each size listed.  To check it out, just click here.

Finally, if you get the chance to do some winter fly fishing, stay warm and comfortable, and play it safe.  Dress in layers.  Start with a good wicking layer next to your body that will move the perspiration away from you.  There are lots of good technical materials in different weights that will keep you dry and warm in almost any temperature.  Follow that with something warm but breathable.  Wool is always a good choice, but again there are lots of other materials that can really get the job done.  Finally, the outer layer should be wind and water resistant.  When you are out there, keep some snacks in your pocket or your pack.  It will help keep your energy up and will also help maintain your body warmth.  Also have something to drink.  You will be surprised how much perspiration you give off by being active on a cold day.  And for safety’s sake, fish with a buddy.  Better safe than sorry in this weather.

Tight lines.