Fly Fishing Strategies for Winter Speckled Trout

Fly fishing for Speckled Trout here on Florida’s Gulf Coast is one of my favorite pastimes. The winter cold fronts often shut down other fisheries like our Snook and Redfish. While we inshore guides wait for a few days of warming water temps to chase these more sought after species there’s nothing better than to sling some flies at trout. The colder temps actually bring in the larger fish to our inshore waters and often they are hungry and willing to “participate” so to speak. Here are a few tips to help you connect with these fun fish.

-Go Deep-

Well, not too deep. I change out my floating lines and use a moderate sink rate line. No need for the heavy sink rate lines and often an intermediate line will work fine. You want your fly to be between 2’ and 5’ of water.

-Fish near Deeper Channels-

Look for grass flats adjacent to deeper troughs and channels. I simply set up near the Intracoastal Waterway where there’s a flat that has good clean grass and roughly 3’-5’ of water. The deeper pockets will hold the fish during the cooler nights as the water temps will remain more constant there.
Sleep In

Hey, that sounds good, right? Actually, the fish will move up onto the flats from the deeper channels as the midday sun warms the water and start to look for bait. A little wind will actually help oxygenate the flat and bring all the little creatures that trout like out to play. Plus your heavier line will help cut the wind if the breeze picks up some.

-Toss Smaller Flies-

The go to patterns this time of year are shrimp and small glass minnow imitations. I’ll scale down the size of my fly and have found that color doesn’t matter that much, but I always have something in a brown/grey for minnow pattern and pink/yellow for shrimp patterns. An #8 weight set up is perfect for this application, but sometimes I’ll bring along a #5 weight just to test my tackle and skill.

-Vary your Strip / Retrieve-

I like to start with a slow strip of about 1.5’ and see what takes. If nothing is active I will mix it up with some faster strips – pause-slower strip. Often that will work well as the water warms during mid-day.

I hope the tips help you enjoy a day on the water tossing flies to our fun Speckled Trout!

Capt. John Curry

Coastal Angler & The Angler Magazine