Winter Rainbows

January 22, 2009


I pose a question, why do I catch more Rainbow Trout in the winter?

Now this just might be my experience and maybe due to where I fly fish the Provo River but the majority of the fish in catch in the winter months are Rainbow Trout compared to the opposite the during the other seasons.  According to a study done in 2000 on the lower Provo Brown Trout make up about 78% of fish population while Rainbows are at 12% and other species make up the additional 10%.  Now I know that this study is 9 years old but I am sure that the numbers haven’t changed to much.  So again, why do I catch more Rainbows in the winter, looking at the numbers you should always be at about a 7 to 1 ratio.  These fish are are also shaped like footballs and have unbelievable colors, why is this?  I know I could take the advice from one of our last posts, Get Better at Fly Fishing, and research more my question but I wanted to ask the Fly Fishing Frenzy crew what they think about it.  I would love to get some great feed back and follow this post with part 2 about Winter Rainbows.

Makes some comments and educate me.

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8 Responses to “Winter Rainbows”

  1. Dr Gillespie Says:

    I’m not going to come out and ruin your research…but i’ll give you some hints to help with your question.

    Where you find rainbow is usually different than browns, cutthroats,brookies, whitefish. Why? Where are rainbows/browns native to? What kind of water do each species perfer? Are certain fish more active during certain seasons? (Extra hint…Why are white fish easier to catch in the winter?) Why is Lees Ferry so popular for rainbow fishing from Dec-Feb?

    All these questions will help you with your answer to why you catch so many more rainbows than browns during the winter. Also studying fish behavior (each species) will help you understand why certain fish act the way they do.

    After you do your research you could go to the lower provo on any given day and catch only browns or rainbows if you wanted to. Its really is just a matter of knowing the fish and what they perfer to call their home. Good Luck!!!


    Big Hoss Reply:

    love the advice thanks for the tips.


  2. Dr Gillespie Says:

    PS that first pic is awesome! I love the deep coloration!!! One more hint—Why are they so colorful in the winter, oppesed to the silver slimers in the summer?


  3. Ron D Says:

    Watch for rainbows to have very different coloration ranging from very silver or chrome-colored to very dark
    deep red. These color variations occur naturally from genetics, gender, time of year, and food source. Notice how the browns change color from time of year and gender as well, they are much darker and vivid in color during the fall and during the spawn than in the spring and summer months.

    You will have fun doing your own research on Rainbow trout, this is exactly why you will “get better at flyfishing” (last post), thats why we all love this sport because there is always something new to learn! Have you been out on the river latley Brent? can you say chironomidae, cdc emergers have been the ticket.


  4. Tyler (TroutBumZ) Says:

    I have enjoyed the comments just posted, but can someone suggest a good book for research on this topic?


  5. Ron D Says:

    Native trout of western North America is one resource, also ther is a ton of info on the web about rainbow trout behavior


  6. Dr Gillespie Says:

    The problem with researching fish is that there is very limited resources specfically for fly fishermen. Most writers talk about flies, places to fish and their experiences. But only a few talk about fish behavior. My advice is to hit the libary if you have time and see what you can find. Also the WWW is full of helpful info that will keep you busy for years.

    Here’s a starting point: listen to the podcasts by Norm Albestin on (He gives great info on how trout see, feel and hear their world)

    Also I read a book back 10 years ago called “All About Trout” It was helpful for me back then.


  7. Troutdawg Says:

    Great day out! Nice colors also, can’t wait to get out more myself in the next few weeks~


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