Winter and Early Spring Bull Trout Fly Fishing

Winter and Early Spring Bull Trout Fly Fishing

Winter and early spring Bull Trout fly fishing is one of my favourite past times. These fish are extremely fun to target on single hand, switch or light spey setups using nymph indicator techniques or a traditional swung fly methods. There are plenty of opportunities throughout the Lower Mainland to chase this fine quarry. The average sizes of winter Bull Trout is 16 inches to 26 inches or 1lbs to 6lbs. But, It’s not uncommon to hook into larger ones in the low teens.

Lower Mainland Winter Bull Trout


Winter Bull Trout is fishing is best during December to March. Bull Trout roam the clear coastal rivers in search of leftover salmon eggs, salmon flesh, sculpins and juvenile fish.


Some of the best locations to target winter Bull Trout is the Squamish River system and it’s tributaries, Harrison and Lillooet River system, Chilliwack/Vedder River and the Upper Pitt River. Winter Bull Trout utilize long broad runs, stream inflows, deep dark pools, and side channels.

Rod, Reel, Line Selection

Single hand, switch and spey rods are all good options for winter Bull Trout. If you are using a single hander then I’d recommend a 9’ to 10’ fly rod in 4wt to 8wt range. For switch rods a 10’10” to 11’9” in 4wt to 8wt will do the trick. If you are a spey angler then 12’6” to 13’6” in 6wt to 7wt rod will serve you well. Any good click and pawl or disc drag fly reel (Dragonfly DX large arbor, Okuma SLV large arbor disc drag, Galvan Rush, Islander IR4). My preferred fly line for single hand setups is the Rio VersiTip II fly line using a type 3 to type 8 sink-tip will work well for Bull Trout. For switch and spey rods the Rio Skagit or Rio Short Belly lines.

Chartreuse C.O.D. – Catch on Delivery

Fly Selection

When venturing out for winter Bull Trout make sure you have stocked your fly box with a good assortment of woolly buggers (size 10-1 in olive, white, chartreuse, black and pink), intruders (2.5” to 5” in olive, white, black, pink, and chartreuse) and egg patterns and Trout Beads (dark pink, light pink, peach and orange). One of my go to flies is the chartreuse C.O.D. (Catch on Delivery) intruder.

Andrew Redmont with a winter Bull Trout caught on a swung chartreuse C.O.D.


Winter Bull Trout fishing is a great way to get out and swing a fly and enjoy what our coastal rivers have to offer. If you’d like more information about fly fishing for winter Bull trout please send Andrew Redmont at 604-931-5044, by email at or stop by the shop at #110-1140 Austin Avenue, Coquitlam, BC.

Tight Lines,

Andrew Redmont


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