With over 200,000 flies and over 1,600 fly-bins, sometimes special patterns get lost in the mix and don’t get the attention they deserve! We decided to highlight our seven favorite Umpqua winter patterns that often don’t get the same attention the everyday staples do.
Mercer’s Micro Stone Tungsten - All winter we think of eggs and worms for lead flies, however stoneflies are often ignored once the weather gets cold. Sure, you rarely see the giant stoneflies in the winter we are used to seeing all summer, but a downsized stonefly is an excellent option that the fish aren't quite as used to seeing. Think of it this way- rather than having to eat 100 little midges, the fish can eat a couple stoneflies and be just as well off! Why work harder than you have to, am I right? Luckily Mike Mercer and Umpqua did all the work for us, next time you are out there give the Micro Stone a shot!
Egan’s Jigged Frenchie- Throughout the winter fish push deeper and deeper into the water column to preserve energy. Egan’s Frenchie is one of our favorite summer dry-dropper flies but I've been running the jigged version more and more in the winter. That heavy slotted tungsten bead helps get your flies down into the strike zone quickly and running it in a size 16 is my favorite for the winter and spring as baetis start to show themselves again. While its bigger than you’d normally run in the winter, we’ve been pleasantly surprised by the number of fish willing to take the risk! We’re gonna take Lance Egan's pattern and run with it this winter!
Dorsey’s UV Scud- Scuds are overwhelmingly one of the most underutilized food sources in fly fishing. As weed growth formed over the summer dies off, the scuds lose their “homes” and are forced to flee, providing an excellent protein source for the trout. Size down to a 16 in the winter and try this fly on your favorite winter stretch next time you are out! When pressured fish see the same leech, egg or worm pattern all winter long, you’ll sometimes be surprised by how happy they are to see something different! After all, it's no secret that Pat Dorsey knows a thing or two about fishing in Colorado.
Valdez’s Master Windu- Ivan Valdez tied this baetis pattern specifically for his favorite Northern New Mexico waters, however, I’ve been fishing his star-wars themed Baetis in Colorado for the past few years and it has found its way into my arsenal consistently. Purple and Blue color-ways make their way into my flies more and more in the winter and this purple baetis in a size 18 has become one of my favorites for late winter and early spring as Baetis start to show themselves again. Tied with a black bead, the extra weight will help get your flies down when it's most important!
Gomez’s Desert Storm- One of our favorite winter midge patterns has become the desert storm in Fluorescent Orange. I run this fly as my lead fly on tailwaters like the Blue when fish shy away from bigger bugs. A small flashy midge has become one of my favorite alternatives for when this happens and my favorite is the Desert Storm. With a black bead, orange body and mirage tinsel there is plenty to take in with this fly and our local tailwater trout have been aquanting themselves with this pattern all winter long.
Craven’s Blue Jujubee Midge- While Charlie Craven’s Jujubee Midge certainly is no secret, the blue colorway has become one of our sneakiest go-to flies! Trout tend to see darker colors better in deeper water (https://fishcolorado.com/505/cutthroat-anglers-blog/trouts-eye-view-mike-wallace) and because of this I have been fishing more and more blue when fish are in the deepest holes mid winter. Charlie Craven has long since proved the effectiveness of his patterns, next time you are out there try the Blue Jujubee Midge and we have faith it’ll find a way into your daily rotation.
Wedge Head Streamer (Brown and Yellow)- If you are lucky enough to find yourself on some bigger water this winter try the Brown Wedge Head. This articulated streamer moves A TON of water and is an excellent pattern to mimic small brown trout. This streamer has become my go to on bigger water where I am looking for “the one”. Tied on incredibly stout hooks, once you hook the fish you are looking for you won’t have to worry about losing it.
Gomez’s Desert Storm Chartreuse- BONUS ROUND BABY! Sticking with Gomez’s Desert Storm this round but this time in Chartreuse. After all, if it ain’t chartreuse it ain’t no use! I’ve started using this fly on sunnier days as I find fish have been keying on the brighter green hue when the sun is at its peak.