“Nymph fishing on a winter morning will certainly hone your skills for nymph fishing other times of the year. The sluggish metabolism of winter fish means their takes are softer and subtler than ever. It also means they won’t go as far out of their way to take your fly. Thus reading the water and being able to detect the softest takes is critical if you hope to hook some winter trout. I find a strike indicator essential for such nymph fishing. I also find that casting as short a line as possible to effectively fish a piece of water improves my odds of detecting a strike and setting the hook quickly – seems fish can spit out a nymph just as fast in the winter as in the summer. Also keep moving and fish new water. Since many fish won’t be actively feeding you need to cover as many fish as possible to increase your odds of finding one ready to take a fly.”  (Hafele’s Laughing Rivers)

Short sleeves are gone in the Pacific NW. But, with some diligence and thinking, Trout can be had. Like Hafele, that idea of hammer smashed finger tips (the sensation) requires some serious mind control. Identify which streams might be open year round and then contemplate what might hatch in the Winter and after that what searching nymph patterns to use. Presentation, holding water, short lines, soft bites. Caught/Released.