Late Winter Fishing Report by Richard
The weather has been unseasonably warm, which typically means the wind is turned up to 11. Controlling a drift boat in gusty conditions can be difficult to say the least, but the rewards can be totally worth it if you’re willing to get blown around a bit. Here’s the low down on how the fishing has been here in Craiglandia.
Streamer fishing has been on fire with fish being caught from Craig all the way to Mountain Palace. The water is still cold hovering at 35 degrees which means the majority of the fish can be found in deep slow water. However, on warm sunny days I’ve been able to pull a couple browns out of water ranging from three to five feet deep. The hot colors have been white, white/chartreuse, and olive. The #2 Stay Hungry Streamer, #4 Articulated Goldie, and the #4 Rusty Trombone have all been my top streamers. They down-right fish.
The nymph fishing has been as good as it gets, so far, for winter months here on the Mo. The trick to finding good nymph water this time of year is simple. Deep and slow. Your indicator should be in water that is crawling at a sloth’s pace, and Deeeeep. This type of water is rich in oxygen, has plenty of food, and is slow enough that fish don’t need to expend too much energy.
If you catch one fish, it’s a sure bet there are several more holding in the same water. The top nymphs over the past several days include the following: Pink UV Yum Yum #16, Ninch’s Bubble Yum Scud #14, Barbi Nymph #16, Pink Amex #16, Pink Firebead Ray #16, Black Tungsten Zebra #20 and last but not least the Little Green Machine PT #20. That last one is a secret, so don’t go telling all of your fishing buddies.
Dry fly anglers are catching some nice fish on top when the right conditions are present. It’s by no means easy, and the people catching fish are putting in long hours for a chance at seeing one, maybe two noses breaching the water. Things are looking up though. A couple of the local trout bums seem to think we may have some stellar midge fishing in the near future. With midge on the mind, the top dries have been Q’s Cluster Peacock #20, Cluster Midge #18, CDC Cluster Midge #20, Griffith Gnat #18, and the Stacker Midge Red #20. A 590-4 Sage Trout LL paired with The Headhunter Dry Fly Line is my preferred tool for slinging these tiny dries to hungry fish. Why? Because it is smooth, accurate, and a lot of fun to cast.
The swing bite has been steady but not great with fish being taken out of the same type of water mentioned above. Deep and slow. A powerful 4wt paired with your favorite skagit head and a 2.5 INT/7.5 T-8 Light iMOW Tip is the way to go right now. If you want to slow your swing down even more, you can consider trying either the Scientific Anglers Spey Lite Intermediate Skagit head or the dual density OPST Commando Groove floating/intermediate skagit heads. Top swing flies have been the Hot Head Hale Bopp Leach black #8, Black Haze Fruit Roll-Up #8, Olive BH Simi Seal Leach #8, Rio’s White Pocket Rocket #4, and the Black/White Sculpzilla #8.
The boat ramps are clear at the moment and should remain that way through the weekend. Headhunters is open daily from 8-5 with hot coffee, friendly faces and all of the best flies under the big sky. Come see us on the Mo this weekend. We’ll be enjoying some great late winter fishing.
Buzzball$2.50 Select options
Cluster Midge$2.50 Select options
Firebead Ray Pink$2.50 Select options
Headhunter Fly Line$80.00 Select options
Rainbow Czech Nymph Fly Tying Kit$34.95 Read more
Scientific Anglers Spey Lite – Integrated Scandi$89.95 Select options
Scientific Anglers Spey Lite – Integrated Skagit$89.95 Select options
Tungsten Frenchie$2.50 Select options