If you’ve spent any time readying our blog lately, you would have certainly noticed the Sowbug Roundup being mentioned several times. “Sowbug” is a three day fly tying and fly fishing show, that has been held in Mountain Home for the past 20 years.
So, for those of you new to fly fishing/tying, or for those of you scratching your head wondering what the heck is a sowbug- well here it is. A sowbug is actually a crustacean- as are scuds, crayfish, and shrimp. They are distinguished by their rock-hard exoskeleton, which is made of calcium carbonate and chitin (which is the same material found in human fingernails).
They are found in a wide variety of habitats, including lakes and ponds. But prefer complex habitats, living among cobbles, vegetation, and sediment. Interestingly, sowbugs absorb oxygen through their gills, which are located on the under side of their abdomen.
If you’ve ever flipped over a river rock, and noticed all their different sizes, it’s because they do not go through a separate larval stage- the young look identical to the adults, just smaller.
So if you happen to be in the area during the next three days and are interested in a good sowbug (or any other) fly recipe, stop by the fairgrounds and just ask one of the many knowledgeable tiers that are in town!
With that, let’s talk about what’s been working.
While precipitation has still been minimal, releases, for the most part, have continued to be for 5 hours or less, therefore, still allowing for a considerable amount of wadeable water at or a little above minimum flow (between 700- 1400 cfs).
Now that the recent snow and below freezing temps hopefully have passed, the caddis hatch has begun to resume back to what it was before, if not a little better.
Caddis emergers and other caddis imitations have been highly effective. With Tailwater Soft Hackles, Prince Nymphs, Gut Instincts, and Pupae Delectae working as well.
Midges (ruby, rootbeer, & diamond in size 18), pheasant tails (in sizes 14, 16, & 18), devil jigs (red and copper in sizes 14 & 16).
Also, try throwing a Strollis Quill Body Jig (size 14), or Devil Jigs (size 14) either by itself or in combination with a colorful attractor, such as a Y2K or Keller’s Hot Worm. The jigs also make a great lead fly ahead of midge pupa.
Highly productive big water streamers include CJ’s Sluggo, Dally’s Twerkin Minnow, Schmidt’s Double Deceiver, Lafkas’ Super Cougar and Lovechild Sculpin, and Lynch’s D&D.
On the lower flows, large olive woolly buggers, Sparkle minnows, FS Bunny Sculpins, Kreelex flies, and Lunch $ are all producing.
Nymph fisherman can expect to do well with Garrett’s Purple Death (size 18), Clint’s Sunday Special (sizes 16 and 18), midges (root beer and black & purple zebra in sizes 16 & 18), pheasant tails (size 16 & 18), prince nymphs (size 14 & 16), hunchback scuds (size 16 & 18), and tailwater sowbugs (sizes 16 and 18).
Small sculpin patterns like FS Bunny Sculpins, Slump Busters, and Cone Head Woolies, are also productive when stripped slowly over the bottom. Other effective streamers are Bennett’s Lunch $, Jake’s CDC Squirrel Leech, and Craven’s Baby Gonga.