Podcast: Winter Fly-Fishing Tips, Part 1, with Tim Johnson

Written by: Tom Rosenbauer


Interview begins at 38:41.

I’ve begun a series of winter trout-fishing podcasts with various experts around the country. I think it will be interesting to see how their approaches compare, what flies and leaders they use, and how they keep their hands and feet warm. This week’s guest is Tim Johnson, whom you probably know more as an artist on Instagram or for the Orvis Artist Collab series of H3 rods. Tim is also a longtime guide and experienced angler and has spent many winter days on his local waters in Utah.  (He’s recently re-located to home state, Arizona.) He’s also one of the best storytellers I know, so I think you’ll enjoy the interview.

Tim Johnson with a glorious Utah brown.

In the Fly Box, we have a great collection of questions and tips from listeners:

  • How much difference is there between a 9-foot and 10-foot 8-weight rod, and which would be best for both steelhead and bass fishing from shore?
  • Some people say always strip in a trout and others say always get a fish on the reel. Which method is correct?
  • A tip on using a bicycle tire patch for fixing waders.
  • How much damage will I do to a nymph hook if I bend it slightly?
  • I got skunked on a spring creek when trout were jumping for adult midges. What should I do the next time I see this?
  • Where can I go on the East Coast for some decent fishing but with lots of tourist attractions for my family?
  • In a cutthroat stream I fish, the brown trout are invasive, and I want to kill them. Is it true that brown trout are not very good for eating?
  • A listener’s take on the parallels between music and fly fishing.
  • A listener’s complaint about tasteless fly names.
  • When should I use a parachute fly, and when should I use a traditional hackled fly?

If you don’t see the arrow above, click here to listen.

2 thoughts on “Podcast: Winter Fly-Fishing Tips, Part 1, with Tim Johnson”

  1. Suggestions for East Coast for some decent fishing but with lots of tourist attractions for my family;
    Hershey PA – Hershey Park, lots of museums, good food at all price points, Amish , Boiling Springs and tons of trout streams, both fresh water and spring creeks.
    Manchester VT – just a cool little town with lots too see. Tour Orvis! And the Alpine Slide at Bromley!
    Laurel Highlands PA – Seven Springs, Falling Waters, Flight 93 Memorial and rafting at Ohiopyle, Fish the Yough and tons of wild trout streams.

  2. Lots depends on what you count as “tourist attractions.” Think about your family’s interests, identify a range or a destination. Then compare the highlights in the maps from state tourism agencies and fisheries agencies along the way. Research further about places where those maps converge. The main route through them can be the spine of your trip. Consider, too, how much time/distance do you want to travel away from that spine?

    If you don’t have a destination or route in mind, drawing circles on a map can open eyes to possibilities to explore. (Try , a free tool that overlays Google Map.)

    Just as a simple example from a part of the East that Tom didn’t suggest to the questioner from Pennsylvania: a trip 400 miles south of Harrisburg along I-81 will take you, in fishing terms, from the Letort in PA to the South Holston tailwater in TN. The solid, independent fly shops along the I-81 corridor for there for good reasons. Along that entire distance, within an hour either side of the interstate, you’ll see a lot of historical museums and sites from the first European-American settlement west of the Blue Ridge Mountains. (Daniel Boone started in Pennsylvania. Many followed his route.) Plus a big swath of US Civil War sites are within an hour of I-81. Plus a lot of the history of US industrialization, starting with railroads and coal mining. Roanoke, the biggest city on the Blue Ridge Parkway, has interesting museums, some excellent restaurants, lots of outdoor activities, and grand hotel. Harrisonburg and Blacksburg have the amenities and vibe of university towns. If your tastes run to country music and/or auto racing, you can find both in Bristol, straddling the VA-TN border. You won’t find much Fifth-Avenue shopping along the I-81 corridor, but you can find many galleries and farmers markets reflecting strands of Appalachian craftsmanship — and foodways. There are wineries, breweries, meaderies, and distilleries.

    I use a single highway for simplicity. There’s nothing, of course, to keep you from turning east from 81 on, say, I-66 toward DC, or on I-64 to Charlottesville, Richmond, and Tidewater, or south on I-77 toward Charlotte

    I’ll leave it to you to ponder opportunities you could find in a 400-mile radius _north_ of Harrisburg on 81 and connected routes.

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