- Onstream ~12pm to ~3:15pm
- Arrival Air Temp ~25°F, Departure Air Temp ~31°F
- Wind ~10mph from the SSW
- Overcast with No Sun
- Midge in the Snow on Arrival
- Rising Trout Observed at ~1:15pm
Sunday I made it out for a few hours, my goal was to take it easy, enjoy the stream and hopefully the fish. Some days I plan to hike forever and I end up hiking maybe more than casting, that’s just the way I am about this place. I have a desire to see every bend, every run, every fish knowing full well that I’ll never get close. The desire this day was to see all the fish. I just wanted to catch a bunch of fish, didn’t care what size, I just didn’t want to spend the day hiking or casting. With midge in the snow shortly after arrival and with a higher predicted air temp it was inevitable that the trout were going to be rising as the afternoon wore on. I prepped my leader (8ft long tapering to 18inches of 4x tippet), then prepped two rigs. The first a #8 Hairball with a #16 Hot Spot Scud (Pink) trailing it with 16 inches of 6x (I’d ran out of 5x). The second was a simple #20 Midge Dry Fly with 18-20inches of 6x tied to it. I did this so I could easily switch back and forth between the two, just clip my line at the 4x knot and either tie the nymph rig on or go straight to the 6x tippet with the Midge dry. I left the one I wasn’t fishing in my chest-pack with a bit of tippet hanging out.
I fished with and without an indicator, I know some who swear by an indicator and others who would never touch a “bobber.” I on the other hand let the trout, the water and my fly selection dictate my choice to use an indicator. With that said I sat on a handful of decent runs I knew and picked off trout after trout. I was trying to create a numbers day. By the time I saw the first serious risers I had already touched a dozen brown trout mostly in the 8-13inch range. At ~1:15pm I saw consistant rising from several trout up and downstream from my location. I cut my nymph rig off at the 4x tippet connecting my #8 Hairball and trailing fly, packed those away and pulled out the #20 Midge Dry with 18inches of 6x tippet. This made for a quick and efficient transfer allowing me to pick up three more with a dry fly. Fishing a midge dry in the winter months with gin clear water producing committed strikes, few experiences top that.
After I took the few with the dry fly I swapped back to my nymph rig rather than hike in search of more rising trout. I worked one run for a long time pulling out brown’s every couple of minutes. The smaller fish took the smaller #16 Hot Spot Scud in larger numbers and the larger fish took the larger #8 Hairball, it was a pretty even 1:1 ratio between the two as the afternoon wore on. Around 2pm I opted to head back out to fish the spot I began with, as I peered over the bank to the stream I could see chasers, risers, the midge. I love watching a trout run around picking off randomly located surface flies or items from the drift, I refer to these fish as chasers. I played pick your fish for the next forty minutes or so. With one poor back-cast I allowed my #20 Midge dry to remain in a weed behind me about twenty feet. Rather than move and risk putting the trout down I tied on a #20 Jujubee Midge. The CDC is kind of a pain in the ass but this fly produces, period. I used it to pick off close to a dozen trout including one that continually rose every couple of minutes on the far side of the stream. I watched that fish rise over and over again until I had pulled all his friends behind him out then I played the timing game, on the third attempt I had him, that smaller 12inch brown was as satisfying as any fish I’ve caught. Pick your fish, dry fly fishing. Not a bad way to round out February.