Pro Tips: Tim’s Top 3 Streamers for Winter in Montana

Written by: Tim Linehan, Linehan Outfitting Co.

When it comes to winter streamer fishing, remember: “Slow and low, that is the tempo.”
Photo by Tim Linehan

Winter fishing can be very rewarding. Here are some tips on winter streamer fishing, including my three favorite Montana winter streamers.

During the winter, a trout’s metabolism slows down considerably, and they don’t need to eat nearly as much. Additionally, insect activity is minimal on many waters during the winter, so trout rely more on baitfish as a primary food source.

Because of their decreased metabolism and colder water temperatures, trout become lethargic and will not move far or work hard to eat. There is no need to jerk and strip streamers with fast action all the time during the cold months. In fact, depending on conditions, slower action can be better.

We often forget that you can dead-drift a streamer much like a nymph, and you can even fish a streamer under an indicator. Regardless of the method you choose, it’s important to get the fly down near the bottom. Trout are looking for an easy meal, not something they have to chase down.

Here in Montana, most fisheries have good populations of mountain whitefish, sculpins, and a variety of shiners as potential food sources for trout. And keep in mind that trout eat trout, as well.

Here are my Top 3 Montana winter streamers:

1. White Circus Peanut

2. Olive Conehead Zuddler

3. Copper-body Zonker

Winter fishing isn’t necessarily about numbers. But streamers will often move bigger fish. Next time you hit the water when the mercury is low, consider giving these patterns a try.

Tim Linehan is the owner of Linehan Outfitting Co. on the Kootenai River in Troy, Montana.

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