This is my 40th fishing report for the Decorah Hatchery in the last two years. Very little has changed over that time period, including the fact that the fish are in charge of whether we have a good day of catching or just a good day of fishing. What else has not changed… fish still take the Narly Midge a lot! The biggest fish of the day is usually on the Narly Midge. Copper Johns are still a great companion fly with the midge (Black Zebra Midges work good too). When you start catching rocks, the fish will follow soon. Caddis remains a great ‘searcher’ pattern when nothing much seems to be happening.
I guided four of the last eight days. Lots of nice browns, a little dry fly action (Caddis, Griffith’s Gnat, Tricos, Hex and Blue Wing Olives) and plenty of fish with nymphs. My client was Gerry today. He was 70 years old when he had his first fly fishing experience six weeks ago. We paid our dues in the morning. No fish to the net with only a few hookups. Attempting eight different flies in three hours is not my usual tactic, but getting skunked is not an acceptable outcome. So we changed streams at mid-day and hoped for at least a few fish in the last half of the trip. We were not disappointed. We had success with the Narly Midge and landed a sixteen incher!! A number of fish later, it was 3:30 and we saw the first rise to a Blue Wing Olive. Still fishing the red Copper John and Narly Midge with good success, we were not tempted. I normally like to end a trip with a fish to the net, we didn’t get to end that way, but we did end it on a fish. Gerry had a fish hit our Narly moving up stream at a high rate of speed and taking the fly did not slow it down … the rod came down and ‘pop’, the fly broke off. “Give him some line! Rod tip up!” were the first and last words out of my mouth.
Flies to Fish in the coming weeks:
Nymphs: Copper John, Prince, Pheasant Tail, Hare’s Ear (#18 to #16) Caddis (#16 to #14) Midge (#20 to #16) (Red Copper John trailed by a black or tan midge has been really good for me lately)
Dries: Caddis (#16 to #14) Tricos – in the morning (#18 to #22) (Tricos will be done soon) – Griffith’s Gnat (#20 to #18) Blue Wing Olives are out there, they should come on strong with this cool weather. #20 to #18…probably can get by with a #16
Terrestrials –ants, beetles, crickets and hoppers – mid-morning through late afternoon – with emphasis on the warmest and sunniest part of the day. Windy days are good too.
Emergers: Any emerger/wet fly/soft hackle to match the dry flies above. Fish it with the dry. Definitely fish a midge soft hackle near dark and early in the morning if you can determine the fish are taking midges and not Tricos. Even if you can’t, not a lot of difference between a midge and mayfly soft hackle. Fish a softie when their taking emergers!!! The fish are less particular about the soft hackle than they are about the dry fly. Sreamers/Buggers: If you are looking for big fish or if the water is a little off color… or if nothing else is working.
Fishing report by Kent Kleckner of Bear Creek Anglers in Decorah, Iowa.