Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Deep winter Selective Michigan Tail water Trout- an Underestimated Passion


( Michigan trout are not just for opening day Hendricksons- scuds/midges/caddis are bread and butter all winter)

I love January on our Muskegon River tailwater- today's afternoon indy nymphing . Our Eagle Lake California strain rainbows are so beautiful and avid scud, midge and caddis larvae eating predators- fat footballs that fight like Big Delaware bows even in 34F water temps. These bows took my 'Super Scud': ‪#‎Hareline‬ UV Ice Dub Shrimp Pink,# Kiley's Scud Skin- a killer in winter with great pulsing movement. Our Michigan rivers are all spring creeks cut from a different mold- highly alkaline even though they have freestone and conifer acidic influences. Scuds are everywhere, extreme high protein intake and 'way' too underutilized and fished...cheers!- great weather for winter nymphing and trout are on the hunt!
( a fat healthy Eagle Lake strain Rainbow from yesterday, January /2016)


(If you are trophy "truttasaurus" hunting with streamer meat, February on the Muskegon and Manistee has seen us catch the largest resident and lake-run post spawn browns that are ferocious and hungry!)
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( Fat Bastard!...a Muskegon brown that was floating belly up in February, looked dead!!!- was netted by anglers next to me- was choking on a bluegill that spilled over from the reservoir- we removed the gill, performed CPR, and it swam away- it was this close to snuffing it!- the aggressive gluttony browns will subject themselves to is amazing- that's why streamer guys love their gig!)

TACTICS FOR ICE COLD WINTER TAILWATERS
*Much to your surprise, winter trout can be as selectivity driven even when the waters are 34-36F- even though metabolisms are way down. The excellent supply of scuds/midges/caddis larvae/stonefly nymphs and annelids etc., keep them on the constant move and constant hunt.Keep moving until you find fish and dont go back to the 'Proverbial well: hot spots" too often-FISH ARE CONSTANTLY MOVING WITH THE FOOD SUPPLY!
*Concentrate on slower sucker water back eddies/vegetation areas and inside/outside river bends- shallow spots that deliver bio drift and have upwelling currents and spring seeps.
* Indy or Euro nymphing very slowly and scraping the bottom are the key-winter "holes" are not always the deepest spots- they are the periphery/edges
*Though your hands are cold, keep switching tandem patterns as often as possible- have a Mr. Heater with you for the hands and a little bourbon/cognac
(Zago's meat wagon)

* Big Meaty Game Changers, D&D's , Double D's work well but keep them moving slow and crippled- swing/jerk-drift/strip/lift/stumble your streamers-ESPECIALLY WHEN WATER TEMPS ARE IN MIDDLE 30'F- southern tailwaters are much warmer-White/Holsten- let them rip fast and furious due to higher metabolisms and fast moving bait fish
Good Luck- enjoy winter!
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