Trouts Journal

GEAR GUIDE || Eleven Picks for Early Winter Fly Fishing

Ivan Orsic / Dec 6, 2020

Every season has its perks and there's a certain satisfying pace to a winter day spent on the water. Sure, there's less daylight to fish, but nothing's happening fast. It's deliberate. Find the fish and chances are you're going to catch quite a few. When you're properly layered and prepared for the conditions and you find a pocket or pool filled with feeding trout, it's hard to beat.

With that in mind, we've put together a collection of gear that will help you get ready to start picking apart your favorite winter fishery.

Scott Flex Fly Rod

The Scott Flex is a great all-around stick. For winter, we'd suggest picking up the 10 foot 4 weight. Whether you're nymphing with an indicator rig or you're trying your hand at Euro Nymphing, the 10 foot 4 weight variety is well suited for a day spent high sticking. A responsive tip and powerful butt make it perfect for protecting light tippet and bringing that winter trophy to the net.

Nautilus X Series Fly Reel

A frozen drag is the enemy of light tippet. Not only does the Nautilus X Series sport a sealed drag that won't seize up when the reel gets a little wet, but the frame is super ported and lightweight. That means it's less likely to experience a case dreaded frozen frame when that wiley winter rainbow tears off downstream.

Simms Exstream Jacket

Comfort is key, especially in winter. During the upcoming months, warmth is key to comfort. Enter the Simms Exstream Jacket. The Exstream Jacket features PrimaLoft® Silver Thermoplume Blowable 120g Insulation (body), 100g (Sleeves and hood), with stitchless quilt construction featuring Cross Core Technology. That means it's warm...and it fits really well underneath your waders.

SIMMS Exstream Core Top

Early morning missions and cold temps go hand-in-hand come winter fishing. Staying warm is the trick to staying out all day, no matter the weather. The SIMMS ExStream Core Top features a two-layer weave to trap the heat close to your body. Cut for a free range of motion, it features thumbhole cuffs to keep your sleeves in place as you cast and reach. An integrated hood and neck gaiter design helps seal out the cold, so you can settle into your cast.

Simms Freestone Tactical Hip Pack

You don't need to bring your chubbies and your big summertime freestone nymphs with you in the winter. For many of us, winter means we're paring down the number of boxes we carry. If you're looking to keep things minimal this winter, the Freestone Tactical Hip Pack is a terrific option. It's a lightweight, minimalist hip-pack for when you need to carry fishing essentials and nothing more.

Scientific Anglers Amplitude Smooth Infinity

If you're winter fishing, there's going to be plenty of roll-casting in your future. The Infinity handles roll casts with ease, but it's also ready at a moments to notice to play with that pod of risers eating midges off that slick next to the far bank.

Rising Stubby Lunker Net

With a shorter 10" handle (compared to the standard 24"), the Stubby Lunker net from Rising lets you keeping netting those massive winter fish without taking up too much space on the pack or back.

Umpqua UPG LT Midge Fly Box

A slim, durable box with plenty of space for the countless midges and small bugs you'll need for the day, the Umpqua UPG LT Midge Fly Box is the perfect companion your upcoming winter on the water.

Umpqua Phantom X Ultra Fluorocarbon

Fluorocarbon is a must during the winter. More often than not, you're nymphing and it's probably to a picky trout in low flows. With never seen before strength, sensitivity, and invisibility, Phantom X is a five-layer Ultra Fluorocarbon. To put it simply, it is the strongest and most invisible fluorocarbon tippet on the market.

Simms Single Haul Cap

The argument could be made that we should have picked a warmer hat for early winter fly fishing. Yes, we agree. Warm hats are good. But, we also wanted to talk about the low angle of the sun during the winter. Sight fishing is your friend, especially during the low flows. When the sun gets low, you'll need to block it out with a solid bill and the Single Haul Cap's got one.

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