The weekend is almost here! Any of you who are not headed to Florida for spring break should be hitting the water looking for trout & steelhead! Although our rivers continue endure surprisingly low water for March, there are still some fish around. We continue to hope for more rain although all we seem to be getting is lots of very windy days.
For those of you chasing our migratory fish, think about focusing some efforts to the low-light periods of the day. This low water is making these fish a little more sensitive so downsizing your tackle and offerings could be a good idea too.
We've been having luck with both yarn and bead patterns in a variety of colors depending on the light conditions. Be sure to also have some nymphs in your box because steelhead are opportunistic and we have a lot more than eggs in our rivers.
- Yarn Eggs: Rag Style & Nuke Eggs
- Beads: 8-10mm
- Stonefly Nymphs
- Caddis Nymphs
- Fry Patterns
This is a great time to be throwing streamers for trout! Even though our water levels are low, fish need to eat! Water temps are still in the mid 40s so you'll need to experiment with different presentations day to day. Slowly working a jig-style fly has produced some impressive fish over the past few weeks so be sure to work in some different retrieves throughout the day. Small and medium sized streamers have been the most productive and you might want to rig your leader with eight or ten pound fluoro in these low & clear conditions.
If you're really feeling like having some fun, you can look for the occasional fish rising to early stones. Don't be disappointed if you don't find any because many of our fish will ignore these early season flies. Don't worry about exact imitations in the fly department, if you're lucky enough to find some risers, they'll typically be happy to eat a darker elk hair caddis in size 14.
- Peanut Envy
- Sex Dungeons
- Cheech Leech
Of course there are other early season opportunities if you don't want to see the crowds on the steelhead rivers. If you know me, you know I love to chase early season pike in our inland lakes. Most of the lakes have lost their ice at this point and from the lakes I've been sampling fish are still not super aggressive. This is a great time to spend some time on the water to see where the emerging weed beds are and plan for the post-spawn bite. All you should need this time of year is an eight weight and a leader with some wire on it. Don't forget your long reach pliers!