Winter on a Dry Fly Review

The old adage that lightning never strikes the same place twice just got blown to smithereens by Winter on a Dry Fly by Nate Brumley. Just months earlier publication of Brumley’s Addicted To The Rise became the most iconoclastic book on dry fly fishing since Ernest Schwiebert’s Matching The Hatch in 1955, which steered anglers from “representational” dry flies to precise “imitative” patterns.

The title of Brumley’s new book at first take seems preposterous on its face. Tradition holds that fly fishing in winter involves drifting small nymphs along the bottom where sluggish trout move only mere inches to eat the odd sleep-walker of its legion of essentially hibernating brethren. Except for intermittent meager hatches of “snowflies”—tiny stoneflies, and a few midges, trout ain’t gonna waste precious calories swimming all the way to the surface for a sparse scattering of dinky bugs.

Well, Brothers and Sisters of The Long Rod, we have been wrong. And Brumley’s multi-media presentation proves just how much we’ve been missing.

Like Addicted to the Rise, Winter on a Dry Fly offers not just a printed book, but nearly a decade of blog entries bringing winter dry fly fishing to life and instruction, but also video and audio instruction. All the senses of mind, eye and sound are brought to bear to make beginner-to-expert fly fishers successful winter “dry-fly-guys.”

Much of this remarkable book gifts us with outstanding photos of the best winter dry flies, and tying instructions and recipes for each. Brumley’s company, Dry Fly Innovations offers exquisitely tied flies for those who aren’t tiers. I’ve used them for years now, and they are killers.

While Winter generates enthusiasm and flies, it provides in equal measure fishing methodology. Strategies, tactics and fly delivery unique to winter are vital to success; and instruction is clear and precise throughout. When to fish in winter, considering temperature and weather conditions, angle of the sun, light reflection on the surface, holding water vagaries, hatch anticipation and identification, tackle and gear, safety precautions for deep-freeze fishing—all are seamlessly interwoven throughout.

Most fishermen I’ve known consigned winter fishing to bouncing “mousie” grubs along the bottom for whitefish, or rarely nymphs for trout. Brumley predicts winter fly fishing is on the cusp of an explosion, just as when we baby boomer youngsters back in the early 1960’s discovered fly fishing and fueled the sport into its current glory days. But, read Winter on a Dry Fly and I predict you’ll be riding the wave of a new rejuvenation of our marvelous sport. ~ Ron M.