7 Best Cold Weather Flies


7 Best Cold Weather Flies

Fly Fishing in the colder months poses multiple challenges that typically cause most to bow out and tie flies.  For those willing to venture out here are a few of my confidence flies that I fish regularly during the winter months!

Hares Ear

The Hares Ear nymph is one of my favorite winter go-tos. Try a variety of colors until you find the one that’s working for your conditions.

Walt’s Worm

The Walt’s Worm is the Hares Ear’s ugly cousin.  This is one of the most bland flies I fish, but it’s effective.  The walt’s worm is tied without a bead head and looks like dubbing on a hook...or a dried dog turd. If the Walt’s Worm is a little to bland for your taste, check out a Sexy Walts Worm.  These are effective in a size 14-20.

Mop Fly

The Mop Fly really imitates nothing.  Naturalists hate it, perhaps because it works so well.  I have converted many fishermen over to the Mop Fly when they realize its effectiveness. The Mop Fly can be tied in various colors with a small collar of dubbing and a tungsten bead head.  In the winter I will tie up a few different colors and change out flies till I figure out what’s working.

Midge Patterns

I could fish midges year round, but in the winter months I find them to be very effective.  In the South, where the water is softer and bug life dwiddles in the winter time, a midge is a go-to for a cold day of fishing.  The three patterns I use the most during the winter time are the Top Secret Midge, Zebra Midge and the Ballistic Bugs Mighty Midge.  


Whether it is a peg egg or a tied egg, you will be hard pressed to hit the water with me and not see me pull out an egg or two throughout the day.  Eggs are great for adding some color to your rig as an attractor fly even if the fish aren’t eating on eggs that day.

Pheasant Tails

Pheasant Tails are another time tested nymph pattern that have won the hearts of many fly fishermen.  With or without a bead head, the Pheasant Tail is a very effective fly. I typically fish a Pheasant Tail in small sizes (18-22).  In my home waters, a Pheasant Tail tied with spikey dubbing can imitate a mayfly clinger. Pheasant Tails are an excellent choice on a dry-dropper rig, drifted under a BWO.  Another variation of the Pheasant Tail is a Frenchie.  


There are too many variations of a Stonefly Pattern to name but they key is to keep it simple.  Go with a black Stonefly in a size 12-16. During winter, my go-to is a size 16.