According to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, we have a very cold winter ahead. That’s not all bad. This year’s tropical storms pushed a lot of bull reds back in the marsh. In cold water those fish become opportunistic feeders. On calmer days when the sun is out, they’ll track and attack a variety of flies.

Darker patterns rule the winter days. Bottom flies like LaFleur’s Charlie, Bissett’s Cajun Crustacean, Haleys Comet, and Borski Slider — all in purple or mostly purple — are highly effective.

Then there’s the days when redfish will explode on Perch Float Poppers, Bubblehead Poppers, or Foil Pencil Poppers. Again, darker colors will generate more topwater strikes. 

Keep those poppers tied on when you go after speckled trout. December might be the best month of the year for topwater trout action.

There’s another trout we focus on this month, that of the “rainbeaux” variety. Sometime before Christmas, ponds in East Baton Rouge, Ascension and a few other parishes will again be stocked with rainbow trout.

Nothing is as exciting as hooking these colorful fish and watching them make multiple jumps. And it’s a great way to introduce youth to fly fishing.

Tackle-wise, all you need is a 5-weight outfit and a box of size 10 or 12 Woolybuggers. And maybe some size 14 Parachute Adams for those late afternoons when the trout are rising to bugs. 

Crappie will be schooling this month. For suspended fish, use a long, fine leader — 8 to 9 feet in general — and countdown a sinking fly like Fluff Butts and Crappie Candies. Then strip up in small strips. For fish on structure, try either of these flies under a tiny float. Best colors will be black/chartreuse, blue/white, olive/olive, and the “Gray Ghost” (gray/gray).