20 Essential JHFLYCO Winter Fly Patterns

20 Essential JHFLYCO Winter Fly Patterns
Let's face it, fly fishing in the winter is a challenge for a multitude of reasons, starting with the cold weather and a shortage of food for the fish to feed on, but it can also be one of the most enjoyable times to fish. You'll need a proper plan and some skill (maintaining a drag-free drift, proper presentation and setting to everything) and of course the right fly selection. A key to your winter fly box is to keep it simple with a few key seasonal food sources. Here are a handful of our “must-have” flies to keep on hand through these chilly months.



Midges are one of the most important food sources for trout and are the bulk of a trout’s diet from November thru February. They can hatch by the thousands in freezing temperatures and when aquatic insects are less active, opportunistic trout key in on drifting midge larvae.

Nickel Bead Zebra Midge Black

Try incorporating the Zebra Midge within our nymphing rigs as the first nymph followed by a heavier tungsten beaded fly.

Sizes: 18 - 22

Tungsten Bead Rainbow Warrior Jig

One of the most successful searching fly patterns for trout, the Tungsten Rainbow Warrior Midge fly pattern combines a tungsten bead with a bit of flash to produce spectacular results.

Sizes: 18 - 22

Griffith’s Gnat

You can typically find swarms of these gnats over slack water. Be sure to use a light tippet and target the slow-moving water following a pool.

Sizes: 18 - 22


Emergers are great for winter trout fishing because most of the activity is found in slower, slack water. These look great with the tapered segmented body and have an amazing profile from nearly every angle. They also sit low in the surface film, just like the real thing. It's best to use smaller sizes and often add more than one dry fly — a multi-dry fly rig.

Beadhead BWO Emerger

The Beadhead BWO Emerger nymph fly imitates emerging Blue Winged Olive and other Baetis mayflies. It's trailing shuck and beadhead make this a great pattern to cast upstream and allow to drift into waiting fish.

Sizes: 18 - 22

Blue Wing Olive Parachute

Parachute flies make for easier visibility. These flies offer an excellent alternative to the common Blue Winged Olive pattern.

Sizes: 18 - 22

Flash Back Hare's Ear

Adding a bit of flash to the hare's ear dubbing gives this fly a buggy look that is irresistible to fish looking for drifting mayfly nymphs.

Sizes: 18 - 22


The RS2 is an essential tail water fly and a killer emerger. Fish it as a nymph for best results.

Sizes: 18 - 22


The WD40 is an excellent all-around BWO emerger pattern that will imitate a number of insect species.

Sizes: 18 - 22


Trout are ravenous cannibals, and they’ll tend to eat their own young. While November through March might not be spawning season, eating eggs is instinctual for trout, and your egg fly might just present a meal that is too good to pass up.

Orange Glo Bugs

Glo Bugs are highly effective around spawning trout and salmon. The Glo Bug is lightweight and will toss and turn with the water.

Sizes: 10 - 12

Flame Glo Bug

Sizes: 10 - 12

Chartreuse Glo Bug

Sizes: 10 - 12

Salmon Egg Glo Bug

Sizes: 10 - 12


Trout eat aquatic worms on a regular basis as part of their natural diet. They live in the sediment on the stream bed and are present all year.

Double Bead Ultra Worm

The Double Bead Ultra Worm imitates aquatic worms. This pattern is effective during heavy rains and runoff. The Ultra Worm pattern works well for catching both trout and bass in silty rivers, streams, and lakes.

Sizes 14 - 16

Ultra Worm

The Ultra Worm is a productive worm pattern to move fish out of hiding.

Sizes 14 - 16

& Sow Bugs

Trout will eat scuds and sow bugs year-round and can be found in streams with ample underwater vegetation. Trout heavily depend on these shrimp-like insects during the winter months and tend to feed on the more natural colors: olives, browns, blacks, grays.

Colored Scud

Scuds are freshwater crustaceans that are sometimes called "freshwater shrimp". This pattern is a great dropper fly for lakes and still water, especially in alpine lakes.

Sizes 18 - 22

Beadhead Tan Sow Bug

The Beadhead Tan Sow Bug is a great Fall and Winter pattern that imitates a dying sow bug that can be washed from decaying vegetation.

Sizes 18 - 22

Tungsten Bead Duracell

The Tungsten Bead Duracell Jig is a popular and productive nymph pattern. The Tungsten Beadhead means the fly drops quickly through the water. The jig hook allows this fly to bounce on the bottom of the river without concern.

Sizes 18 - 22

Orange Hothead Ray Charles

The Ray Charles is an excellent imitation of a sow bug. The pattern originated as a guide fly on Montana tailwaters. As the story goes, when one of the guide clients asked where the fly's name originated the guide responded because even a blind man can catch fish with this fly.

Sizes 18 - 22

Pink Hothead Stevie Wonder

Like the Ray Charles, the Stevie Wonder‚ is an excellent imitation of a sow bug. The Ray Charles originated as a guide fly on Montana's tailwaters. As the story goes, when one of the guide's clients asked where the fly's name originated the guide responded because even a blind man can catch fish with this fly.

Sizes 18 - 22


During the winter months, trout prefer to exert as little energy as possible and don't usually chase after their meals. If you are going to use a streamer try to refrain from stripping and, instead, dead-drift or swing your fly. Give slight twitches to the line so that it adds a little movement to your streamer.

Beadhead Woolly Bugger

This is one of the best flies in your box and the ultimate streamer. Fish it dead drift in the winter to waiting fish.

Sizes: 18 - 22


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