FIND THE FEEDING DEPTH
There’s no shortcut to determining at what depth trout may prefer to hold at, and some sort of game plan is now required. While trout seldom cruise close to the surface in winter, it’s as well to start high up and gradually go deeper. With a 12-foot leader and two-fly rig (diagram 5), begin by making speculative casts, fanned out in front of you. Seconds after the flies land, start a slow retrieve. If there’s any interest from fish, repeat the process. If not, use the countdown method of adding two to three seconds on each cast before inching back the flies. In the absence of any takers, rather than start swapping flies, lengthen your leader to say 16 feet and add another fly (diagram 6), or use a polyleader (diagram 7). Once the holding depth is found, refine the leader set-up. For instance, if fish continually fall for the middle dropper fly then shorten the distance between point fly and middle dropper (diagram 8), hopefully bringing the point fly into play. Another alternative is to swap the point fly for a lighter nymph, fishing the team higher in the water.