Keith and Cathy are positively the cutest couple I’ve had in my boat. They smile and give each other the “thumbs up” when we motor to the next fishing hole. They sweetly encourage each other when playing a fish, they always want the other to take the front seat, and never, ever blame each ot her for tangles – even when the tangle is clearly the fault of the other. “I’m Sorry!” they’d both exclaim simultaneously. I couldn’t ever get aggravated with these two.
Cathy has more than her share of trout mojo for a flatlander. She plucks trout from the river with uncanny simplicity after minimal training, but today was Keith’s birthday, and it was to be his day. Keith’s actually the better caster, pressing a nice tight loop with a little coaxing, but it’s not enough to keep up with Cathy’s innocent and boundless luck. So after Cathy soundly whooped his a** nymphing from the front seat for a while, we gave Keith the gunner’s position, armed with a six weight Sage One and a leggy Chubby Chernobyl. Keith had yet to land a sizable brown trout on a fly rod, and today, by God, was to be his day (Cathy caught 3 fat browns on our last outing, which was basically her first attempt at trout fishing).
Keith squares his shoulders and fires the fuzzy terrestrial with intention, a bit rushed on the timing but functional and accurate nonetheless. The white wing of the fly stands up off the river’s surface like a flag pole, floating over some flooded grassbeds where a hefty fish had sniffed the fly on a previous pass over the area. This time the fly disappears in a boil of snout and fins, Keith calmly lifts and connects, the brown clears the water showing us his spotted sides and broad tail, and then digs hard for the bottom. Keith almost clamped down and snapped him off, but then remembered to relinquished some line just in time. A dogged rush or two under the boat, and soon we had him rolled over on the surface and sliding into the net. Nineteen inches on the tape – a solid fish for the birthday boy. The cutest high five ever, with no explicit language, immediately followed.
A half unit running until noon provides some awesome hopper-dropper water around every shoal on the river, and even in some flat pools too. A Fat Albert or Western Lady holds up a Pheasant Tail nymph or Copper John quite well, especially with a shot of DryMagic floatant on the wing. Try a pink foam hopper for an attractor/indicator, or tan or black fished just on its own. Red Copper Johns make a truly effective nymph dropper, or pair it with a Zebra midge under an indicator. Chernobyl hoppers have been catching some nice browns on high flows, as have streamer tactics with Double Deceivers, Sluggos, and Twerking Minnows.
Minimum flow in the mornings is great for wading and personal watercraft. Ruby and Root Beer midges are fishing very well suspended in the slow pools. Dropping them under a Sunday Special or other weighted nymph can help bounce them through the shoals. High flows in the afternoon can be fished effectively on the drift with egg flies as an attractor and large Hunchback Scuds as a follow up. Small streamers like Sparkle Minnows are also fun to twitch through the fast pocketwater.