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Winter Fly Fishing Lures

With the winter months being upon us now and the brown trout season finished its time for the small waters and the Rainbow trout to keep the keenest cold weather anglers occupied. Given that rainbow trout definitely thrive in fresh cold waters, the winter season can be as fruitful a time as any to go fishing.

Across the central belt of Scotland and around my area Edinburgh, there are a few spring fed waters which become a lot fresher and crystal clear, an environment well suited to the cold blooded trout. I find that it becomes more of a challenge to tempt a trout with the usual top of the water fly’s and small imitation wets, and therefore, if the conditions suit, I bring out the big guns, the larger, flashier lures.

There are so many to choose from in the tackle shops these days, a wide range of various bright colours and combinations of bead heads and flashings, but here is a small overview of the favourites I like to launch out.

Hot Head trout flies with the glow beads are my main favourites, and I fish these lures on all densities of fly line with a varying retrieve. The movement in the water with the marabou tail makes it a very successful choice for me on many waters, with the 2 examples below being a big hit on Rosslynlee Fishery especially.

Mini Green Beaded Lures with Tinsel Flashing

Mini Green Beaded Lures with Tinsel Flashing

Fritz Gold Head Trout flies are another top choice and probably one the most widely used and popular lures on the market. I find the black and green fritz versions on many waters catch return sheet and on my own experience have bagged a few on it this year, most success being at Loganlea Fishery. Loganlea is a deeper, darker water than most waters that I fish on and I would always recommend the luminous bead head lure shown below. I have fished this lure off the dam-head and found the trout go mad for these glowing lumi head lures, often smashing in hard with the takes.

The fact that the fish can often hit these lures hard can take its toll and i’ve found many of my lures to be useless and beyond repair after catching one trout on it. The hard take and the tussle have caused on a few occasions the body of the lure to become unraveled and the gold head sliding down the hook. Needless to say I never returned to these tackle shops to re-purchase new ones. It would benefit to shop around for good quality, sturdy lures that will stand up to a good fighting fish.

These larger flashier lures will usually be more expensive than the smaller imitation wets and dries and therefore you don’t want to be replacing them after every single fishing trip. I find better quality lures are available at most on site fishery shops rather than street tackle shops, although there are a few dotted about that are an exception so best to shop around and keep the options open. I’m lucky to have a good friend that does his own fly-tying and makes up a lot of these skimpy bead head lures. The attention to detail with the knots and the varnish and neatness of the finish is the best I’ve seen and never have they fallen apart after a good fight with a trout.

Skimpy Lure with Luminous Shell Coating

Skimpy Lure with Luminous Shell Coating

Nomad lures are another top choice for me and the Fritz bead head Nomad is especially good on Tweedale Fishery, near Gifford, East Lothian. On many a winter outing down that neck of the woods I’ve bagged a brace or more of trout on the orange, black or green fritz nomad’s.

Winter trout fly fishing and the chances of success definitely benefits from a change in tactics now and then and it pays to adapt to the chillier climate. A few of my friends and fellow fishermen are staunch advocates of top of the water fly-fishing and often frown upon the use of lures and stripping these big fluffy, flashy blobs through the water down in the depths. I myself, like so many other anglers, love nothing more than the visible take of a dry on top of the water, but when all else fails and the conditions just don’t suit it, go down a bit deeper with fritz, a blob, a nomad or a hot head streamer and see what happens. It might not be too pretty to some fly-fishermen but if it results in a good hard fighting winter trout then I certainly won’t be frowning.

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One Response


Kal / James, how about I cover these flies and give the patterns and instructions to our visitors in step by step format?

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