Fishing reports vary from good to great right now. Remember, it’s all relative in December. To most, a pleasant winter day on the river that brings 6-10 nice fish to the net is “great”. To others that’s just “good”. Either way, I think you can count on that kind of day right now. If you need to double that number to call it “great” it shouldn’t be too difficult with the right flies, setup and knowledge.
Pretty much everyone I’ve seen or talked to in the last few days is swinging flies on a two-hander. I’m sure there’s a few folks out there tickling the bottom with nymphs and throwing streamers form the boat. And I’m sure they’re catching fish.
The overall consensus is that flashy streamers are the ticket. Flies like the Sparkle Minnow, Kreelex variants, Skiddish Smolt, Shock & Awe, Stinger Sculpin and other gaudy minnow imposters should be your first choice. Second would be Pig Pen Leeches and Thin Mints (or other buggers), especially if you’re swimming flies through that slow winter water.
We’re moving from Scandi lines and surface presentations to Skagit heads and deeper sink-tips. But not too deep. Shop staffer Richard reports that he’s been playing around a bit with depth and going deeper than a iMOW 5×5 has resulted in fewer fish for him. I think a 5×5 or SA Sonar S1/S2 is a good starting point. There are some fish up on shallow heads of riffles and a Scandi/Intermediate leader setup would be good for them. Bottom line; carry a few different tips or better yet a second rod so you can quickly move between different depths. There’s fish in all of them.
It’s been busy enough this week that we expect to see a few anglers around this weekend. The best fishing is goin to be from the dam to Craig, but you’re going to see the most anglers up there as well. If you are swinging a two-hander, expect to find someone in a spot or two you plan to fish. Use it as an opportunity to find a new one.
I fished with Gordon (pic above) yesterday – who was taking advantage of our Spey Special – and we chose to fish down in the canyon to try something a little different. While we probably would have caught a few more and a some bigger Rainbows had we fished up higher, we had really nice fishing including some beautiful Brown Trout. And we had the joint to ourselves. So if you want to fish the canyon it still a viable option, but you end to get on early with these short days.
As usual, we’re open 8-5 (or a little later) and yes we’re doing shuttles, and yes we have some lodging available, and yes the coffee is hot, and yes there’s probably a few beers floating around for Apres’ Fish.
The weather is looking great from now until Christmas Dasy so you’ve got ample opportunities to get out there. With the warmer temps, dont be surprised if theres a slight breeze. Good luck.