Best Winter Trout and Steelhead Flies
Our top 20 pick of the best Winter flies for Trout (and Steelhead) fishing includes famous dry fly patterns, a beadhead variant of the universally acknowledged ‘go to’ streamer for wet fly fishing, and a number of nymph patterns including one specifically for Stonefly.
More about Fly Fishing in Winter
Best Flies for October, November & December
Hatches are still taking place, but our pick for this time of year involves fewer specific Mayfly imitations and more generally representative patterns: flies that are the best ‘all-rounders’ for Trout because they also bear passing resemblance to Caddis, Stonefly and Midges (don’t forget, Midges hatch even in mid-Winter). To these, we’ve added one of the most iconic dry flies; one which really comes into its own when many land-based insects are nearing the end of their life cycle and ending up in the water.
Our Dry Fly pick for Winter: The Royal Coachman
Part bee, part wasp or hornet, part flying ant, part Mayfly, and yet none of these: all you really need to know is that this is simply one of the best attractor or search patterns for Trout.
First tied in New York towards the end of the 19th Century, it was a variation on an existing wet fly called The Coachman and was initially fished as such. To the existing design, creator John Haily added the now famous red thread wound tightly around the body (primarily for durability) as well as a tail made from duck feather. The story goes that his new – and highly successful – pattern was named the ‘Royal’ Coachman for being, as one of his contemporaries said, “so finely dressed”.
Lee Wulff is recognized as instrumental in establishing The Royal Coachman as one of the all-time great dry flies nearly fifty years later, with his adjustments to the materials used for both body and wings. Today, it is most commonly fished to represent a struggling or dying terrestrial insect.