Monday, January 11, 2016

Monday 1/11/16 Report- winter is baaack

One of many brown trout landed last Thursday- most ate an Olive Caddis Larva, but this one ate a gaudy nymph. Well we received a serious shot of rain Sunday, I'd guesstimate at close to the 2" mark. 2015 was a very dry year, so I'll take any precipitation we get to get the water table & reservoirs back to normal. Flow in Riverton above Still River is a medium & very fishable 250cfs, downstream the total flow is signficantly higher at 901cfs & dropping. The extra flow is coming in from the Still, she just started dropping but once started the drop is fast. Currently your best conditions will be from Hitchcock (Rt 20 bridge) up to the dam, above the Still River, river is still nice & clear near the dam. Total flow should be substantially lower & clearer in a day or two, she drops fast and clears even faster. Look for water temps averaging mid/upper 30's. 10 Day Forecast sees highs averaging in the 30's, with lows in the teens & 20's. The return to colder nights has the morning Winter Caddis hatch improved, we've already had some good 2016 reports. Typically that hatch is an early to mid morning deal, but that can vary depending upon the day, with winged adults often on the water after the hatch in late morning/early afternoon. Trout are now starting to move mostly into winter lies (slower/deeper water). I'd skip the faster water, but there are still some trout in the pocket water in some of the softer/deeper pockets, moderate riffles, and softer/deeper runs. Look for current edges, depressions, drop-offs & structure- basically anywhere there is a break from the faster current combined with some depth. In the winter, due to slower metabolisms due to colder water and less bugs hatching, the trout don't have to eat as much, so safety and staying out of the heavier current become their priorities. They will often pod up in the frigid water of winter, so where you find one, there may be a bunch more. Nymph slow & deep and expect strikes to be subtle. Get your streamers well down into the water (using weighted flies, split shot, sinking leaders, or sink-tips/sinking lines) column and don't fast strip them, but rather swing, twitch, and slow retrieve them. Due to the slower water you will be fishing combined less aggressive presentations, don't use to much weight or too fast sinking of a line or you will hang up on the bottom a lot. Slow streamer presentations mean that you fly will fish deeper than normal. If you fish a weighted fly on a 200 grain line, you will have to fish it way too fast to keep it from snagging. Winter trout like their streamers slow, deep & easy to catch.

Winter Caddis #20-24 are hatching in the mornings, and in the afternoons we are seeing Midges #22-32- they will both hatch straight through the winter. With more winter-like weather here now, look for morning Winter Caddis hatches to pick up (the mild temps most of December kept the hatch lighter than normal). If you are nymphing in the early to mid mornings, try egg patterns, Squirmy Worms & big stoneflies, and pair those up with a smaller nymph in the #16-20 range. Streamers are another good choice in the mornings, but fish them slow & deep, don't rip them in fast like you would in May or October as water temps are colder now and trout are more lethargic, make it easy for them to "catch" your fly- try swinging, twitching, and slow retrieving them. If your primary goal is numbers, go with medium sizes (#6-8), or go larger if you want a crack at the biggest trout, but are willing to catch less and forgo some of the average fish. Assorted smaller nymphs in the #16-20 range are some of the more consistent fish catchers right now- try Flashback WD-40's, Zebra Midges (black, red), and Pheasant Tails. Caddis Larva in #14-16 too, there are TONS in the river, and they fish well in wintertime. Also try attractor nymphs in #12-18 (Prince, Rainbow Warrior, Yellow Sparkle Prince, Lightning Bug, hot-spot patterns, etc.), some days they will do the trick when trout ignore drabber more natural patterns.

Other suggested nymphs include the following: Yellow Stoneflies #8-16, Black Stoneflies 8-14, Fox Squirrel Nymph #12, Wade's Olive Tungsten Biot nymph #16, Wade's Tungsten Clinger Nymph #16 (brown, olive), Rainbow Warrior #16-18, Green/Olive Caddis Larva #14-16, Pheasant Tails #16-22, Prince Nymph #12-18. Play with colors on your streamers, lately some of the better ones have been white, olive, and brown. Nothing lighter than 2-3x on your streamers (for average sizes streamers), and go heavier if you are tossing big ones. 5x fluoro is a good average for your nymphs, and 6x-7x tippet for your dries (depending upon size). Long tippets help with both dries & nymphs: it will give you "S" curves to get a drag-free float with dries, and it will sink faster with less weight when nymphing.
Our apartment is now closed for the season, and will be available again starting in April 1, 2016.