With cold weather settling in it's the time of year that I rely heavily on a creation of mine called the Lickety Split, particularly in the black and pink variation. The success of this pattern during the winter months can better be understood when contemplating the behavior of trout in colder water temperatures.
As water temperatures drop a trout's metabolism slows down significantly. They congregate into deeper water with less current to help conserve the energy they have. Lethargy settles in and it can become hard as an angler to catch numbers of fish while they are in this state. To combat these behaviors I have found through my experience a few critical characteristics that I deem necessary when selecting flies to fish this time of year. This is where the Lickety Split comes in handy.
First off, the fly needs to descend quickly through the water column to get to the depth of the fish. The Lickety Split is fashioned with a tungsten bead, and is designed with very little material outside of the body of the hook to slow down the descent of the fly. In other words, it sinks very quickly to trout holding in deep winter water. Second, a trigger is often handy when persuading a trout to expel enough energy to eat your fly. The Lickety Split has a bright wing case that can grab a trout's attention and convince it to react. Third, and lastly I fish this fly in sizes 14-16 which is considerably larger than many winter selections by other anglers. I have found that downsizing to small midge imitations is not always necessary as is the custom with many fly anglers. Mayfly nymphs are present in river systems all year long, and although they are not as active during the colder months, they are still available to trout at times.
By combining these characteristics on a fly pattern, I have found more success in the winter months fishing the Lickety Split than when I used to follow the tradition mentality of downsize my offerings to small midges.