Fall is… not here yet. The morning’s in Craig have been chilly lately, giving off a false sense of hope for colder afternoons. By mid day it has been pretty warm out here, but the fish don’t mind all that much. Fish are eating all sorts of stuff above and below the surface throughout the day. My advice is to get creative with it. Fishing this time of year can be tricky, but with the little bit of local knowledge I’m about to throw down you might just stick a few really nice trout.
For those who are all about dry fly fishing the mornings are your best bet to get into them. Tricos are still hatching nicely. It’s later in the season now, and the fish have become very weary due to the fishing pressure all season. Long story short, the fish eating dries are smart. They will only take dries that are presented properly. A long(10-15ft) 5x/6x leader will be necessary to trick fish sipping on the surface. As far as fly selection goes small tricos in size 18-20 will work. Some of our favorite trico patterns are the pearl butt spinner, hi-vis trico spinner, cluster midge, and the etha-wing spinner. As the day goes on, and the temp rises, dry fly only enthusiasts should switch to hopper fishing the banks. If your timing is right, big fish will rise to a number of different hopper patterns. A few patterns to keep in mind are the morrish hopper, charlie boy hopper, and more or less hopper ranging from sizes 8-14.
As always fish are crushing many different patterns sub-surface. The main issue anglers are having to deal with while nymphing is the underwater vegetation. The best place to get away from all the floating weeds is up at the dam. Up there the weeds are manageable, and the trout are crushing all sorts of different midge patterns. The love bug, zebra midge, psycho may, macgruber, and uv midge are all patterns that will get eaten. By mid day it is a good idea to switch to short leash tactics on the banks, and through fast riffles or swirls. When you short leash try putting a crawfish pattern three feet below an indicator, and then a small midge tagged on behind that. Tie the crawfish on 3x and the midge on 4x. Cruise this rig tight on the banks or through shallow riffles, and be ready for big fish to crush your flies.
The crowds have slowed down out here, so take advantage of it! The fishing is still phenomenal if you are willing to switch things up a little. Come on out to the shop and we will get you dialed in on everything Mo related.