It is going to be a frigid one this weekend in Craig. Please travel responsibly; we’re due for a possible foot of snow with heavy winds. On the bright side, it looks like we will get back into the 40s around Tuesday, and the extended forecast looks like it will give us some chances for a great Baetis hatch. The flows have remained steady in the lower 3000s, and the water temps might soon be south of 50 degrees. Boat ramps are nearly empty this year and the river is nice and quiet. It’s looking like we will have some excellent fishing to close out our season!
Nymphing: The water temps are holding in the low 50s, and that’s right in the trout’s sweet spot. Our fish are charged up and eating nymphs at most depths. The short leash bite continues to be excellent. The one-two punch of a purple Baetis nymph such as a Lightning Bug or Bruised BWO to a small Pseudo pattern has been dynamite. We really like a Superflash PT in 18-20 as well as a Mirage nymph in those same sizes. These small bugs with a bit of green or chartreuse are great attention-getters. Start your top bug about 12 inches under your pinch ons. Try to alternate the color of your pinch on indicators so you can still see them under different light conditions. I like to use a mixture of green and pink for maximum visibility. The bite in deeper nymph runs has been good with the same bugs, as well as sows and midges. There are also lots of fish in deeper seams off the banks (a lot of this kind of water is found in the canyon).
Dry Flies: There are good numbers of smaller fish up on the Pseudo hatch, and more to come as soon as we see more Baetis. Smaller emergers and small cripples (approx. size 20-22) are your best friends as we work through these little bugs. There are some big fish u in the afternoon and early evening. This is a 2 PM onward deal of late, and it’s wind-dependent. Hopefully the BWO hatch will gain momentum after the cold snap drops our water temps.
Streamers: The trout are really starting to look for streamers with the colder, cloudier weather. Swinging season is also upon us, and its a tactic that has an avid (and growing) following out here in the winter months. Black leeches and buggers are great starting points in that department, as is the Doc’s Parrot. Single handed streamer fishing has been solid with the aforementioned patterns along with Conehead Ziwis and Kreelexes.
Other bulletins: The browns are spawning, so please avoid redds and areas that have spawning fish. The MO is a huge river with a lot of water to fish without messing up the spawn. Shop’s open from 8-4 daily, with shuttles, guide trips and general October-related fly fishing things going on. Free coffee on the burner in the back, free fly fishing chatter up front at the till. See you out here!