The roads here in Craig have made their annual transition from mud to dust, and that can only mean that summer, the most glorious of seasons, is upon us. With warmer weather here, we are starting to notice a definite morning bite. Some afternoons are holding up steady, some are tapering off. The medley of bugs is out there, but we haven’t seen a super-dominant pattern emerge. It should be the PMDs, and it should be soon. Right now, it’s a mix of caddis, PMDs, and some Baetis in the afternoons.
Nymphing in the upper river has been great in the mornings. Double-down on sow bugs for the moment, especially the trusty Tailwater Sowbug in a 14 or 16. As the day progresses look for caddis The first fly in a nymphing rig should have some weight. Thus, hot-beaded Caviar Scuds, Czech nymphs, and heavy Pheasant Tails will do the job as your lead bug. Target runs with some pace, and focus on the seams. For a change of pace, try targeting shallow riffles and runs mid-morning onward. Use Baetis nymphs such as the Micro-May, Military May, Green Machine, and Pheasant tail in this scenario. When we say shallow, we mean shallow. I’ve gotten some fish in mere inches of water this past week. Essentially, you’re nymphing through good-looking dry fly water before they start rising. The Zirdle bite has been slow to fair- they’re not quite on the big crayfish yet. Like all things, that too shall get going.
Afternoon and evening is definitely the time to do damage with the dry fly rod. Caddis are coming off in the afternoons, and though there are not yet a ton of fish up on them, determined folks can find their dry fly fish. Chuck the Corn Fed Caddis in 16 or 18 as a starting point. Don’t be afraid to hang a small emerger off the back of it. The PMDs are popping up here and there, and the fish should start to key in on them. For now, a Rusty Spinner in 18 or 20 is a good general dry fly.
We’re in that time of year when streamer fishing becomes an early/late thing. I’m having luck after hours in the upper river with Doc’s Articulators, mini-Dungeons, and Flash Fry. The action is from 8 PM onward generally, but it’s a great way to target bigger fish.
Shop in Craig is open 7-7, and there’s fresh coffee, fly talk and good people in abundance. See you out here!