Saturday, December 22, 2012

The Gift of Rain

We got our first good dose of rain in months yesterday, and it was much needed.  With the cold weather on its way, the very low rivers we had would have been very vulnerable to anchor ice if we got one of those major freezes.  Instead, we have rivers full to their banks today that look more like chocolate milk than trout water.  That's okay, in a few days they will recede and clear, and if you're up for spending some time out in the chill, they should fish well.
You likely won't see any dry fly action, but nymphs and streamers will take fish.  Be patient and don't be afraid to fish the skinny water.  You would be surprised how often trout hold in the skinny stuff as long as it has some cover, flow and a quick route to deep water protection.  Faster runs that have a choppy surface and bank side water comes to mind this time of the year.  Not that the pools and deeper runs are not going to hold feeding fish, it's just that this time of year I seem to have some pretty good days fishing the "other water".
I like to start downstream of where I intend to fish, and work my way up, casting a weighted nymph without split shot into likely holding water.  I strip my line back to me just short of pulling the fly, and if my line or leader stops or jumps, I lift my rod.  Drop your fly right along side of rocks and what's left of overhanging shrubs and leafless tree branches.  Cover the water systematically and take your time.  I find fishing this way to be very relaxing and easy on the mind, as well as productive.
Flies?   I like pheasant tail nymphs, with or without a bead, pumpkinhead nymphs, beadhead caddis larvae, weighted hare's ear nymphs, weighted scuds and zebra midges. No need to get fancy, tie on a fly that you know works for you - don't guess or hope, go with a pattern you have confidence in.  If you like a two fly rig, by all means, fish that way.
Dress warm, bring a friend, and enjoy the clean, chilly air, and the peace being on the river in winter brings.
Sharpen your hooks!


Mr. Q said...

What if we don't have any friends?

Matt Grobert said...

Of course I'll join you!! We might be fishing in the snow on the 1st.......