You know you’re in the right profession as a fly-fishing guide when you relish the idea of fishing in the rain. On Tuesday morning, as I sat on the couch in the common room of a local resort, drinking coffee with guests and watching the ominous radar on the television, the general consensus in the room was that no one wanted to go fishing. The guides still get paid on a rainout of course, so after coffee and pleasantries, the guides collect their checks and head contentedly back to their own couches, televisions, wives, and dogs. My house, sadly, has none of these comforts, so the thought of going home to a cold empty cabin at nine in the morning was a little depressing. What’s a young man got to do on such a day other than go fishing, rain be damned. I knew I had made the right decision when I got to the parking lot, which was empty, and saw that I had a prime section of wadable water all to myself. I love getting paid to go fishing.
Minimum flow has been pretty steady except for the occasional two to three hour tsunami of ten to twelve thousand cubic feet per second. This kind of flow makes for excellent wade fishing or drift boat conditions, but you really have to be careful not to get stuck in one of those tidal waves coming down, because they are full of moss, algae, dead leaves, and other debris and your fishing will be shut down until the water clears. An egg pattern with some sort of midge or dark bodied nymph under it is the rig of choice right now, but well presented woolies and soft hackles can steal the show. Try using a floating line with an intermediate tip to swing your woolies and small streamers a few feet deeper – but not too deep!
Count on minimum flow being interrupted at least once, maybe twice a day, but don’t let it discourage you. Wade fishing the shoals or drifting from a boat on high flows have both been stellar. Just be flexible and prepared for changes in flow – don’t park your boat on the bank when the water is falling, I’ve seen a couple stranded boats out there recently. Egg patterns, scuds, and midges are the recipe for success. UV Hotspot scuds are particularly good, and black woolies always work on the Fork too.