In Utah, there is one mystical practice that transcends all faiths, all social class distinctions, and all political philosophies: it’s fly-fishing. If you don’t believe me, spend just five minutes talking with any fly fisher. Although known as a warm-weather-only sport, winter fly-fishing in local rivers can be even more rewarding with frequent catches during the chilly months.
Near Park City, rivers and streams give anglers a chance to participate in their favorite sport in the heart of ski season. Though cold water temperatures make fish somewhat lethargic, they still must feed throughout the winter. With patience, anglers can catch enough trout to satisfy their sense of sportsmanship. Chad Jaques, owner of Trout Bum 2, loves the solitude of winter fly-fishing. “Even at zero degrees, I’ve had excellent fishing on the Provo and Green Rivers. Midge hatches come off regularly through the winter and there will be fish rising even when the temperatures are below freezing.” He recommends fishing streamers if you’re looking for the big ones, and nymphs, since the majority of the fish will be laid-up in the deep, slower holes.
Dressing for the elements is crucial, and Jaques agrees that every fisherman’s biggest concern during cold weather is getting cold and wet. “It’s important to layer for a winter day of fishing, just as you would if you were skiing. Merino wool is exceptional for outdoor winter layering because the fabric regulates your body temperature by keeping you warm on cold days, and vice versa, while providing excellent moisture management. The number one reason people get cold is because the clothing they are wearing doesn’t ‘breathe’. With Gore-Tex® waders, a good pair of wool socks, and a dependable waterproof jacket, you’re ready for a snowy day on the water.”
Winter is the perfect time to go out with experienced guides. They take all the hassle out of fishing trips by providing everything from rods and reels to lunch. You’re certain to see deer, eagles, otters, and other wildlife who frequent the river during winter. Local fly shops can “hook you up” with guides who know where the fish are biting!
If you find a snow-covered pine tree a marvel of nature, or if the sound of a river calms your soul, you will treasure the tranquility of a winter’s day spent fishing.