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Deer and Trout on the Same Day?

I recently came across an interesting story in an outdoor publication; a guy at hunting camp killed a deer in the morning and then when out and caught some trout later in the day. Certainly not an impossible task but it surely is a fairly rare occurrence. I suspect it’s rare because trout fishing is far from the minds of those who are focusing on bagging a buck once the deer season is underway. The truth is that after the first few weeks of trout season, fishing for trout begins to fade from the minds of most fishermen quickly and they begin to pursue other species like bass. As summer fades and fall begins to creep in our thoughts turn to turkeys, deer, and small game hunting and fishing take a back seat for many.

While I have never taken a deer and a trout on the same day a number of years ago, I did succeed in tagging a nice spring gobbler in the morning and then adding a successful afternoon of trout fishing. Granted, the deer/trout combo during the winter months is more difficult; there are less trout available, and feeding activity is likely curtailed. Trout fishing can be at its best in the spring of the year so getting a spring gobbler and some trout on the same day is just a matter of deciding to go after both on the same day. That being said, however, trout can still be taken from any number of our local trout streams, and it’s still possible to bag a buck with your muzzleloader and then head out for some trout fishing the same day.

Admittedly trout fishing with spinning or fly gear in the dead of winter on a stream is not likely to be as pleasant as a spring day of trout fishing, but trout can be successfully taken even when the white stuff coats the ground. Certainly, some kind of bait and light spinning gear will work — wax worms, mealworms, maggots, minnows and a variety of other baits will take winter trout. I must admit though that when it comes to trout fishing, I prefer to go with a flyrod. I keep careful written records of all my fishing excursions and last year I caught 137 trout, and all of them were with a flyrod and artificial flies. Of the 137 trout, 96 of them were taken on some kind of nymph, wet fly or streamer and many of those same patterns will work during the winter months.

In what little stream trout fishing I have done during the winter my greatest success has been with some kind of nymph pattern like a bead-head, gold-ribbed hares ear, bead-head pheasant tail or some other small pattern nymph. That’s not to say that a larger pattern like a wooly-bugger or a streamer wouldn’t produce; if the nymphs aren’t working the larger pattern may be the ticket. I have also had some success with an egg imitation in a pink or yellow color. I like working with the bead-head patterns because of the added flash. Trout do feed — even during the winter — months, and on occasion, some great catches can be had, but that’s most likely to take place during a warm period.

More often than not your winter catches will be more moderate, but there is a great satisfaction to catching trout under winter conditions. Because of the time of year, it’s also very likely you will have the stream to yourself — a great plus in and of itself. Also, this year has the added benefit of higher water levels due to the exceptional amount of rain; usually this time of year streams are low and clear, and trout are exceptionally spooky.

While it may be more challenging, a winter stream trout fishing venture might be on my agenda; there is still even time to add a deer to that equation but I’m not counting on it.

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