top of page
Riverfeet Fly Fishing Home

Stalking Mountain Trout in December

The cooler months can provide some of the best fishing of the year, especially when it's a balmy 46 degrees in the mountains! There are multiple reasons for this, including the simple fact that there are far fewer people around, which, let's be honest--holding true to the idea that there's more to fishing than catching fish, a huge part of an enjoyable day is the solitude, taking a break from our busy lives, and submitting ourselves to a quiet natural landscape.

Of course, catching fish while learning something new also enhances any day on the water. Which brings us to the second reason that fishing in the colder months can be some of the best each year. It's no secret that trout prefer cold water, they're metabolically designed for it, and even though these streams are high up in the shady mountains, the summer water temps do tend to increase beyond the trout's normal comfort range. This makes them a little more cautious in general that time of year, so they typically resort to hiding in the deeper, cooler pools, rarely leaving that comfort zone; but it also means that there's higher mortality rates with catch-and-release fishing. During the cold months they are more comfortable, so they have one less thing to worry about, which enables them to inhabit and feed through a larger range of their natural ecosystem. This means we are finding fish in shallower riffles and runs than we would in the summer, but they are also much more easily spooked in the lower water, so it's important to stalk them -- imagine you are an archery hunter stalking an elk when you approach a winter trout stream. Accurate and delicate presentations are even more important this time of year. And while we all love the excitement of dry fly fishing in the spring and autumn, winter provides an excellent opportunity to focus on building your skills in the nymphing game; which, when learned and applied correctly, will catch you the most fish throughout the year--that's true of any trout stream on this continent.

43 views1 comment

Recent Posts

See All


My husband and I spent a half day on the water recently with Dan. We never saw another sole and only one house quite a ways down from where we launched. Dan educated us about the water, its inhabitants, and the surrounding area. He is very knowledgeable and just plain old fun to have as a guide. We will go back for sure!


Guiding Southwest Virginia and Eastern Tennessee.

bottom of page