Thursday, December 4, 2008

Fly Fishing the Northeast in December

December is a difficult month for fly fishermen of the Northeast. Trout will rise to a fly, but the conditions must be perfect: i.e., forty degrees (at least), sunny, midge hatch, etc. It can be cold in December, but it can also be exceedingly mild on the right day. Therefore, December lures fly fishermen like myself out to shivering cold creeks with virtually zero chance of success because it is still possible, if not likely, to catch a trout or two.

However, it is possible in the colder months to encounter a trout feeding frenzy. This occurs when fish recognize the coming winter inactivity and respond ferociously to an available hatch.

If you are curious and brave enough to give it a try, take in consideration the ten-step process I've listed below:

1. Find a mild December day, preferably sunny.
2. Dress warmly and keep an extra set of clothes in the car (in case you get wet).
3. Go to a familiar river (why risk going somewhere new? You may fall in and regret ever leaving the house).
4. Seek out a well-known hole or pool replete with slow-moving water.
5. Check the riparian vegetation for evidence of midge hatches (small, microscopic black or white insects) and tie on an imitation of whatever you find.
6. Scan the water for a few minutes and keep a lookout for rises (trout will sometimes feed sporadically in cold weather, rising only once every five minutes or so).
7. If you can reach the spot of the rise from the shore, do so. If not, wade in carefully.
8. Repeat your drifts again and again. Trout move slower in colder weather. Keep that in mind and don't get discouraged.
9. If all else fails, tie on a flashy streamer and slowly drag it across obvious trout lies (you'd be surprised how many hits you will receive with a wooly bugger in December).
10. Give it a try because it's better than sitting at home dreaming of May.


rk said...

Where are you in Jersey? I'm in Princeton. Your Millstone river post was great.

Anonymous said...

I just wanted to let you know that I really enjoy reading your blog. I've been in Iraq for the past 10 months and still have a while to go, but you're blog gives me hope that when I return back to NJ someday, I'll be able to catch beautiful trout on the fly. I grew up in NJ, but never knew that it has quality streams so I always went north to upstate NY or out west to colorado.

Matthew Bruen said...

RK: I live over in Plainsboro, on the other side of Route 1. I love fishing the Millstone and the DR Canal. Jersey fishing is vastly under-appreciated.

Anonymous: Thanks for reading, and I also can't wait until you get a chance to fly fish when you return to the United States. If you ever want someone to fish with when you do get back from Iraq, hit me up with an email. Until then, be safe and look forward to cool waters and tight lines!