Nearly three quarters of the fall season is gone, and the thermometer strikes 80 degrees yet again, while forecasts of nighttime lows in the 30s are just a few days out. Bring a warm jacket for the morning boat ride and sun protection for the afternoon. Expect big temperature swings, come prepared to enjoy both the cool crispness of morning and the gentle warmth of midday.
Our fall colors have been a little muted from lack of rain, but nevertheless the hills and woods along the river reflect burnt yellows and oranges, interrupted here and there with juniper studded cliffs. Eagles, deer, and turkey are particularly active, and this week I saw the first river otter I’ve seen in at least a year. Beyond the scenic experience, the fishing has been consistently good for sheer numbers if not size, and the quiet peace that can be found on an uncrowded stretch of river is worth as much as a big fish anyway.
Read on for water conditions and fly patterns.
Flows have been a little up and down as of late, fluctuating between 2,500cfs and about 7,500cfs, and tomorrow’s projection shows minimum flow, so things are a little hard to predict right now, much like the weather. The fish adjust though, and if you do too you’ll keep catching them. Simple nymph fishing has been outstanding – just a single #14-16 Copper John, Pheasant Tail, Hare’s Ear, or Devil Jig under an indicator is getting eaten regularly. Gold Bead Olive Woolies #10-#14 are also deadly twitched through the shoals and shallow pocket water. Sometimes it’s best not to complicate things and just fish simple. On these warm sunny afternoons, I see a lot of fish interested in the strike indicator, so I have to believe that a yellow or orange bellied foam hopper pattern would entice some strikes as well.
Minimum flow is still providing good wade fishing especially in the shoals with Sunday Specials, Root Beer and Camel Midges, Hunchback Scuds, and Dally’s Tailwater Soft Hackle #16 in Black, Red, and Orange. Half unit flow improves the fishing in the slow pools by adding a little current, but the stained water requires a bright egg pattern or San Juan worm as an attractor to help the fish find your midge or Sunday Special dropper.