Pretty Rainbow caught by Andy Lyons this past weekend. Check the UpCountry bargain bin for excellent closeouts on Greys fly lines, leaders & tippet. Just starting to get into some of the mid-spring hatches- my girlfriend took this pic of a March Brown in the TMA/C&R yesterday, she saw a few, the March Brown/Gray Foxes are just starting up. It was her birthday, and she smoked 'em on nymphs in the morning. Also getting reports in the last two 2 days of #16 yellow mayflies hatching in the evenings in the TMA/C&R- could likely be Vitreus (they have two tails, in the Epeorus family like the Quill Gordon), or it could be the Invaria Sulfur (a true Sulfur with 3 tails). Overcast days are great for Vitreus hatches (and streamer fishing!). Seeing more of the spring Caddis in the TMA/C&R every day, mostly olive/green bodied, but tan also. Average size on Caddis is #16-18. Subsurface I find #14-16 pupa work just fine.
Some monster browns were caught recently- a 29" on a nymph in the TMA, a 26" brown on bait below the TMA, and multiple 20" plus holdover and wild browns in & out of the TMA. Caddis are getting more active every day, so make sure you have some #14-18 patterns in your boxes, both olive/green bodied ones as well as tan. Have both dries & pupa, and if you like to fish Soft Hackles they work great during both caddis emergences & egg-laying too. The pupa are most active in the mornings, and the adults come back in the evenings to egg-lay. Caddis are hatching best downriver toward Canton/Collinsville, but we are seeing a few in TMA/C&R section now, and this warm to hot weather will only accelerate the hatch. The Winter/Summer Caddis #18-22 have been hatching well in early/mid mornings in the TMA/C&R (they hatch pretty much all year long on this river) , and we are seeing some in the evenings too. Flow is very wadeable & fishable 259cfs total in TMA/C&R section, with 207cfs in Riverton, and 52cfs (and rising due to rain last night/this morning) from the Still River. Hendrickson afternoon hatch is over in TMA/C&R area, it is now only in the uppermost river, from from Hitchcock Chair/Riverton Self Storage right up to the dam (coldest water in that section, hatches happen later there) is where I'd wanna be if you want to catch an afternoon Hendrickson hatch. Spinner Falls may extend further downriver, I'm not sure what the lowermost point would be to catch the spinner fall, I'd stay from Pipeline upstream to be safe, but you may see them below that too, even in the TMA- there were a few in TMA/C&R last night. The spinners usually keep going for a good week after the hatch ends. Many days the spinners have also been on the water in the mornings. We are also seeing #18 Paralep/Blue Quill spinners (also rusty brown, just smaller than the Henny spinners).
Depending upon what section of the river and the time of day, trout are being caught on the surface using a combination of Tan & Olive/Green Caddis (sz 14-18), March Brown/Gray Fox (sz 10-12), Hendricksons (sz 12-14), Hendrickson Spinnners (sz 12-14), Winter Caddis (sz 18-22), Blue Wing Olives (sz 16-24), and Mahogany Duns/Blue Quill (sz 16-18). Heaviest angling pressure has been in the TMA, but the double-edged sword is that it also holds the most fish and the most holdovers/wild fish. Outside of the TMA sees less pressure, but still plenty of trout. Most anglers focus on the major pools, so if you fish the "In Between Water" you should also be able to get more elbow room. Trout are currently being caught via all methods: wets, dries, nymphs & streamers with many big fish have been landed recently, both holdovers (and a few wild trout) & recently stocked two years.
A lot of people have a hard time telling recently stocked large Two Year Old browns from true holdovers. These recent intros will range from 14-20" and are unusually fat. They 2015 batch all have a clipped adipose fin, and a orange dye mark (elastomer tag) behind their LEFT eye (they vary the dye mark color from year to year). Coloration will vary, but some have bright, holdover-like coloring, some are paler. The true holdovers will not be so unnaturally fat, and a year from now the recnetly stocked Two Year Olds will have a normal girth to them. Some of the bigger/fatter ones have been 20" & pushing 4 pounds!
I love Caddis hatches, I catch some of my biggest trout of the year during Caddis time by nymphing deep with the pupa. Typically they hatch in the mornings, and egg-lay in the evenings, giving you a second "hatch". This is a general rule, we often see them hatching & egg-laying in the afternoons too, especially if it's cloudy- they are a creature of low light. The big March Browns/Gray Foxes are just beginning, they are nice big bugs in the #10-12 range! The nymphs migrate to the shallows a good week before they begin hatching, so it's not too early to begin nymphing March Brown/Gray Fox patterns. You can also swing bigger wets to imitate this, standing shoreside & casting out into the current and swinging them back toward the shoreline
Subsurface, Caddis Pupa in both olive/green & tan (sz 14-18), Soft Hackles (sz 12-16), Golden Stoneflies (sz 8-12), Pheasant Tails (sz 12-18), March Brown/Gray Fox Nymphs (sz 10-12), Hare's Ears (sz 12-16), Beadhead Soft-Hackle Hare's Ears (sz 12-16), Olive/Green Caddis Larva (sz 14-16), Princes (sz 12-18), and Yellow Sparkle Prince (sz 12-16) have been working well at moments.
Streamers such as Rich Strolis's Ice Pick are still landing some of the truly giant trout, but unlike a couple of weeks ago when the waters were cold, they should be more aggressively fished in the shallower quick water between the pools, targeting rocks, cutbanks, downed trees and other river debris that create current breaks for the trophies to hold behind. Smaller streamers, such as the famous Wooly Bugger are catching many trout by letting them sink into the deep pools then retrieving with short (two foot or so) quick strips. As always, the key to fishing streamers is to keep moving.... you are triggering the most aggressive trout into attacking, if nothing happens after a few casts, its time to move a few feet to throw into some virgin water. Also play with colors & sizes, it can make a BIG difference. The low light periods of early & late ate the prime times to target bigger trout with streamers, overcast or rainy days too.
UpCountry Sportfishing is always looking for good used fly fishing gear for cash and trade. This is how we get those great items we list on our website and you see on our racks. We buy fly rods, reels, quality classic bamboo, and fly tying equipment etc. Bring in your old items and we can help turn them into something new. Call ahead for an appointment at 860-379-1952.