I often get asked, “When’s the best time to go trout fishing”? My standard answer is “anytime you can find time to go”!

This includes the winter time. This might be my favorite time of year to go jig fishing for trout. The water flowing in our local rivers seem to be more consistent and the fishing pressure is greatly reduced. I have been fishing many times from December until the end of March where we were the only boat on the river. It’s my belief that the fish get to stay in the river longer so you generally catch bigger fish in the winter. I also believe that the trout bite better in the winter too. I’ve been on the water when the air temperature was around 35 degrees and the fish were biting great.

We fish the White and Norfork Rivers in north central Arkansas.  These are both controlled by the flows from hydro electric dams. Often in the winter when conditions get just right, there will be shad kills on Norfork and Bull Shoals lakes and the shad will get sucked through the turbines at the dam and come through the generators by the thousands.

This makes for some of the best trout fishing of the year. ALL the fish in the river gorge themselves on the shad!! It’s an endless buffet and all the fish take advantage of the easy food. This is the best time to catch the larger fish that live in our rivers; a white or white/gray jig that imitates the shad is the best lure to use. Clicking on the "shop" tab above, you will notice that I make several different varieties of white jigs. Some days the trout like the ones with some krystal flash or silver tinsel, other days they like the solid white one, other days they like the gray/white. The Zig Jig is a perfect lure for fishing the shad kill. No matter how many generators they are running, I have a jig size to effectively fish that flow.

The same techniques and principles I have outlined above will work for your local rivers and streams.

I have many customers who fish all over the country and whether they have shad kills or not, they catch a lot of quality trout on the winter.