The snow has left us, but the cold remains. From temps in the mid 80’s 14 days ago to freezing temps the last few nights indicates that the one thing even more unpredictable than fishing, is the weather.
Surprisingly, the weather has not dampened my enthusiasm for being on the water and it has not deterred the brown trout from frequently bending my rod tip the last few weeks. Sunday, I took the Bear Creek Angler intern (Luther College senior, Jonah Zaimes) out for his first trout fly fishing outing in Iowa. He’s a serious bass guy, who has dabbled with the fly rod and chased a trout or two in his youth, but this was first full immersion into my sport. I took the first riffle which required a tough back cast over the left shoulder at a 45-degree angle in order to stay above the tall brush behind us, but still cast under the overhanging willows on the far bank. Three small browns came to hand in the first few drifts…I knew this would be a good afternoon on the water. I put Jonah in the next run that did not require any special casting technique and after a few minutes of struggle, he was getting the fly where he needed and was rewarded with a couple small browns as well as a nice 12 incher.
We moved up stream to where I could show him a different technique, ‘high sticking’ is what I refer to it as. Requires no line retrieval, just a short cast with a gradual lift of the fly rod (minimizing slack) as your flies come toward you. He was intently watching this process wondering why I would ever resort to something so basic and uncomplicated, when I hooked into a 14-inch brown in a small pocket of the narrow stream. Sold on the idea, he turned his attention to the remaining pockets in the narrow stretch where he landed one good looking brown.
Some sporadic BWO’s made their way back to the water around 5:00 to lay their eggs and die. We were not in an ideal spot to fish the tiny dry fly, but did so anyway. We ended up with two on the dry fly and one on the emerger, but it was difficult to see the fly in our riffles, so not quite as enjoyable as it could have been. We finished out the evening on the nymphs and continued to do well until just before sunset. (Beadhead BWO Emerger, Narly Midge and Pheasant Tail)
I turned over a few rocks during my three evenings of fishing this weekend and still saw plenty of very active BWO nymphs and was rewarded by finally seeing some bigger mayfly nymphs. Looks like we will see some hatches of Dark Hendrickson mayflies soon!! Keep your fingers crossed. The weather might need to warm up a little yet, so maybe later April vs. this week. Lots of Caddis nymphs too. I have yet to see an adult, but I suspect they cannot be too far away.
Flies to Fish in the coming weeks:
Nymphs: Copper John, Prince, Pheasant Tail, Hare’s Ear (#18 to #12), Caddis (#16 to #14), Midge (#20 to #16) I’ve been using a Beadhead BWO Emerger too (small)
Dries: Blue Wing Olive (#20 to #16) Griffith’s Gnat (#20 to #18) Dark Hendrickson (#12) Caddis (#16 to #14) feel free to fish a soft hackle/emerger during the hatch too….I usually fish it in tandem with my dry fly.
Streamers: There’s always a Bugger Hatch going on so if you’re willing, go for it.
Fishing report by Kent Kleckner of Bear Creek Anglers in Decorah, Iowa.