Fish are in Their Wintering Water a Bit Early This Year
With low flows and cooling water temps, trout are clearly moving into their wintering water, especially backwater side channels, eddies, and riffle pools with at least moderate depth. Most of the surface feeding has been on chironomids and BWOs, often from around 11am until 4pm. There is decent action on nymphs fished as part of a dry-dropper combo, although action is best early in the day in deeper water with double/triple nymph rigs (some fish you will find suspended at depth of six feet or more). Another good way to go is with whitefish roe patterns fished in riffle pools and the tail of eddies. The whitefish spawn in underway and fairly heavy (spawning activity is easy to observe at the moment in shallow riffles and flats with moderate currents).
Small to moderately sized streamers have been productive eddies, seams separating backwaters from main channels, and slow water pools immediately downstream of confluences. Use floating and intermediate sinking lines or tips in the INT to 3ips range and retrieve slowly. A countdown of several seconds before your initial retrieve can help in deeper water.
Dry flies – Will’s Micro Winged Chernobyl, Mary Kays, Micro Peanuts, Parachute Extended Body BWOs and Mahogany Duns, Comparaduns, Booty’s DL Cripple, Booty’s BWO Emerger, Film Critics, Morgan’s Para Midge, Parachute Midges, CDC Wing Midge Emergers, and Chez’s Krystal Wing Midge Emerger.
Nymphs – Lightening Bugs, Copper Johns in red and black, Psycho Princes, Perdigons, Zebra Midges, Booty’s Day-2 Midge Pupa, Ice Cream Cone Midges, Veiled Eggs, and Yarn Eggs.
Streamers – Arum’s Lil’ Kim, Booty Call Minnows, Kreelux, Slump Busters, and Rickards’ Seal Bugger.
Slow water is the name of the game on the South Fork. Action on midges (both dry and nymph imitations) has been has been best in eddies, slow current side channels, and riffles pools and tailouts. Two and half to three and a half feet of tippet is perfect for dry-dropper rigs. Four to six feet will suffice with double/triple nymph rigs. Most of this action has been in the 10:30am until 4pm timeframe. As on the Snake, there is action on whitefish roe patterns, primarily in riffle tailouts and, to a lesser degree, flats with one to two feet on depth. This is also occurring in the afternoon.
Streamers have been hit of miss unless immediately below the Dam. When there is consistency, floating lines and sinking tips in the INT to 3ips range are working best. Go with Moderately sized baitfish imitations.
Dry flies – Parachute Adams, Griffith Gnats, Renegades, Parachute Midges, and CDC Midge Emergers.
Nymphs – Rainbow Warriors, Bruised Mays, Dorsey’s Mercury Baetis, Perdigons, Booty’s Day-2 Midge Pupa, Zebra Midges, Ice Cream Cone Midges, Cole’s Light Brite Serendipity, Otter’s Soft Milking Eggs, Clown Eggs, and Red Eyed Eggs.
Streamers – Chicklets, Baby Bunnies, Krystal Buggers, Arum’s Lil’ Kim, J.J. Specials, Sculpzillas, and Kreelux.