The weather has been a bit erratic this week, with intermittent sun and clouds, unseasonably warm temps, and a good stiff breeze. It feels as if we are right on the brink of real fall weather, and the weather forecast moving into the weekend confirms that suspicion. Today may be the last warm day for awhile. The high temperature decreases each day over the next five days, with nighttime lows dipping into the forties, and a good chance of precipitation over the weekend. Now is the time to make sure your rain gear and fall jackets are ready for action.
The river is going up and down each day like a tide, creating a somewhat dependable pattern to the fishing. The fish are by no means going to react the same way to the same flies day after day, because there are many more factors involved than just water level. But at least with the current pattern of one unit for half the day and then high water for half the day, we have opportunities to catch both good numbers of rainbows and try high water techniques for browns in the same day.
The rainbow fishing is productive more days than not, and as usual, the brown trout fishing is more day to day, and even hour to hour. An afternoon session trying terrestrials for browns for example might be unproductive for three out of four hours, but you might catch multiple large trout in a matter of minutes. As the days get shorter and we move closer to spawning season, brown trout will change their pattern and behavior altogether, so changing techniques and locations will be more a part of the routine in the coming weeks. Perhaps we’ll see some brown trout aggression as the skies darken later this week.
Read on for specifics on flows and flies.
Today’s flow projection is the same as the past week – 2,500 to 3,000cfs until noon or one o’clock, which allows for steady action fishing nymphs and midges (Devil Jig, Tactical Hare’s Ear, Quillback Jig, Pheasant Tail nymph, Wotton Super midge, Redneck midge) in the shoals and around drop-offs and mid river rocky humps. If you stay downriver in the afternoons, ahead of the rising water, there is a good dry fly bite on smaller terrestrials (#10 Fat Alberts, Western Ladies, and Juicy Bugs). The water starts rising out of the dam early afternoon, rising at Rim Shoals around dark. These higher flows have been clear enough to fish although carrying some chunks of moss and more and more fall leaves all the time. Streamers (Sparkle Minnows, Ice Picks, Lovechild Sculpin, Sluggo, Twerking Minnow) might be an annoying choice with the debris, but still effective if you can find clean enough water. Drifting terrestrials (#8 and #6 Fat Alberts, Juicy Bugs, Western Ladies, Chubby Chernobyls) near bank structure catches nice browns when the timing is right (evening or cloudy skies) and snags less debris than stripping a big fly. The flow regime and the fishing could change with the transition into fall weather. We shall see.
For now expect minimum flow until one o’clock. Wade fishing is good with egg patterns connected to Root Beer midges and Hunchback Scuds. Swinging small Wooly Buggers and soft hackles is also effective especially when fish are feeding “up” in the water column. Small dries like Parachute Adams #18-22 and Griffith’s Gnat are also fun to pick off a few risers. The high water in the afternoon can be fished with deep and heavy eggs trailed by #14 Wotton Whitetail midges, or weighted streamers like Sparkle Minnow, Ice Pick, Lovechild Sculpin, Viking Midge.