I went out to the WC after work yesterday. It was raining, but there was no thunder and lightening, so I figured it was as good a time as any. I knew that the flows were down due to all the cold temps, but I was really shocked at how good the water looked. Just the previous week, the rivers were muddy and blown out. What a difference some cold temps make.
I strung up at the gaging station hole and watched several fish moving around against the far wall. Since there was no sign of any bug hatch or rising fish, i tied on a two nymph rig under an indicator. After a few casts to the near bank to “clear” that water, I waded into position to cast and drift the opposite side of the river. On my second drift, I snagged on a submerged log and lost both nymphs. At least I know where the log is. A quick retie, with a change in nymph choices, and I was drifting the slot again. Bam! Stuck again. This time I only lost the dropper nymph, a zebra midge. Feeling lazy, I decided to retie once I waded back to the bank and moved to the next hole. BUT, before I moved on, I had to drift the slot a few more times to cover the water. I wound up pulling three nice stockers on the next four drifts from right up against the wall, but just before the submerged fly-eating log. All were Rainbows, one was a healthy 14″ while the others were the standard 11″ size. They all took the #12 Prince Nymph that my buddy Dennis tied…thanks Dennis. Time to move on.
Next hole upstream, I sat on the rocks observing the water while I retied. This hole is always a PITA since the cable runs right above you and you have to cast sideways to avoid hanging your line on the cable. I added a green copper john as a dropper to the prince and proceeded to hook into the prettiest fish of the evening. This one was a kick-ass 8″ Rainbow, probably something that held-over from last year. If it came from the hatchery truck, then it did not look anything like its neighbors downstream. He took the Prince nymph and put up a great fight in the fast water before I landed him.
Next hole up, I managed to catch and land another two stocker fish. Both these fish took the Prince and both were your diagnostic hatchery 11″ ‘bows. I got one fish tight against the bank I was standing on by casting upstream and drifting down to my feet. The other fish was just on the outside of the fast water in the central slot. That one was a rough drift because you have to cast upstream over fast water and into the slow water, quick upstream mend, anther quick upstream mend, and yet another upstream mend, and then pray that the drag of the faster water in the center of the slot does not affect your fly. I actually thought my strike indicator hesitated because of a rock, but I set anyways, and guess what…a fish was on!
One more hole before calling it quits. This last hole is a challenge during normal flows, and a real challenge in high water it is pretty deep hole and the best position to be is on the far bank IN the water. From the bank I was on, it was a slingshot cast to get your line and bugs upstream. From there it is strip, strip, strip, let the line float past and water load, fling, and repeat. First drift, I get into a fish, but he shakes off. Two drifts later, I get into another fish. This fish manages to swim all around the hole, thrashing the hole, before shaking the hook. I took another dozen drifts for good measure and called it an evening.
And thus ends my quick one hour after work trip to a close-by river. Weather reports show temps heating up considerably, so I may not get a chance to fish the rivers before they blow out again.