Wintertime…

When I suggest looking at the flows of your chosen water, I don;t mean just before you go fish. That would give you info for the day, but if you follow daily, you will learn the ever-changing “personality” of a river. When you combine changing flows, with monitoring the water temp, you can learn to perceive the moods of fish, as well as where to find then, and when to go fish. Above, is a daily swing of temperature. Drops at night, peaks at noon. Scroll down from the USGS flows and click on temp.The dramatic swing everyday, is what I see as sharks teeth. The physics of low water, is it’s affected more easily by outside conditions, whether heat or cold. The higher the flows, the milder the temperature swing. Trout are well aware of these influencers. Bugs seem to notice the flows and the temps too…. If you care to raise your game, the way I want to raise my game….you will learn what I just shared, by heart. It took me twenty years to figure out that this was a concept, and another thirty years to get a handle on it. When you have it down, then add predicting how the weather will affect the fishing formula, just for fun. The recreational fisher goes fishing and hopes to get lucky. A good guide/advanced fisher has learned luck has little to do with it…..and paying attention is everything. As much as I enjoy getting someone started in fly fishing, finishing a fisher who desires the connection to water I’ve hinted at here, gives me even more joy. Give a shout if that appeals to you.

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Making do…

The flows are coming down steadily, cold temps recently have kept what little snow we have thus far. 72cfs in town. In this low water above town the river is freezing bank to bank. Below Prosser it’s slightly better. Below Boca we’re up to 300cfs. I’d go deeper in the canyon for best results. Mid morning we have some ice cakes and slush floating. Makes for a challenging drift. Smaller fish are to be had near shore, with troughs and deeper pockets can provide some larger fish. Winter bugs are in the house….Midges and Midges mostly. Baetis are always around as well. We’ve had some nice days. A wind breaker and lite fleece is enough mid-day. The water is 38deg. or so, serious fleece on the bottom is a good call. My favorite approach to fishing in cold weather….use two rod lengths of line out, and lock the line off on the the cork. If wet line doesn’t pass through the guides…..the rod won’t ice up. Duh! I have lots of tips for fishing effectively in winter, give me a call!

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Brrrrrrrr…..

A solid 8 deg last night. Clearing skies always encourage a low temp. Starting to get a little shore ice. It’s time for fresh studs on your boots. Not much snow yet…..We got close to a foot, but it has settled to 4-6″. Easy to get around right now and there is still some parking to be had, but less than in summer. That means walking for a fishing spot. One of the ways I caught on to my Universal fisher thesis was looking at tracks in the snow. We all walk to the same spots to fish. Something to think about…….Should be fishy this week. Join me on the water!

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Snow….

Slowly but surely it’s looking like winter. About 5-6 inches of lightness, but another foot is coming today. Roads are OK if you feel like going out to fish. After this blast, it will be fishy for a week before we get more weather. I prefer some clouds or precip for sneak factor.

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The calm before the storm……

A night of drizzle, getting sunny now……The water master raised the release flows from Donner Lake about 75cfs. the town run now has 114cfs and looks fishy compared to recent levels. Down in the canyon flows are at 300cfs. Hardly anyone out on the water now. Another day or two and there will be even fewer fishers……..Expecting about two feet of fresh snow in and around town. Water issues are over for a while. HAZAAAAH!!!!! Water temps are in the 40s, and air temp is in the 40s….I’d say it’s game on!

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Winter…..

Well, it has begun…… I can always tell, because I get up at 2:00am. to push snow around. This was our first semi-productive storm. About half rain and half snow. Total of about 4″ on the ground, but most melted quickly. We had a spike in river flows due to this “flash melt”, but it wasn’t a big one. Snow up high fell on warmish ground and will melt off slowly with chillier days and colder nights. Another storm is coming next weekend, but looks to be a warmer rainy one. We will take what we can get! Glad I put winter gear in the truck, did you? Roads are slippery……Not much snow on the ground yet, so parking is still easy. As it gets lighter-later in the morning, you can sleep in a little more before going fishing. Mid-morning the river starts too enliven a bit. High noon is the warm spot, if indeed it is warmer. I think the Hoppers are done for the season. Midges will be the special, with a side of BWOs…Dress for excess…

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The bones…..

25cfs is very close to none. Although I won’t be fishing water that low, I love walking the river in these conditions. I have x-ray vision now….seeing everything. Spent a few hours with the Dippers (American) yesterday. Most birds are gone already, but the Dippers stay all winter. For more than 40 years they have put a smile on my face. They eat many of the same bugs the fish eat, underwater. In shallow clear water, they are a hoot to watch walking around feeding. They also have a good attitude about life and living. A few Caddis (sm and med.) are flying mid-morning, and Big Yellow Hoppers are flying at mid-day. Most folks fish’em dry, I suggest drowned, because the fish have seen the floaty one’s all summer…… As far as followers goes….don’t worry, I will continue to post if anyone at all reads my blog. Reporting is my personal discipline….go, see. report. I know not everyone can spend their life sitting on a rock by the water. This week may be some of the last warm days before we shift into winter mode. Really beautiful out there….think snow.

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Chilly……

Got down to 15deg last night, the first chilly evening of the season. Next weather will be on Wed. Perfect mid-week scheduling. Got a small blast of snow which melted immediately…….Up high we got a dusting. Color is rampant right now. We had some wind, but for the most part, it is time to shoot some pics. The next storm will blow the color away. The fish are tuned into seasonal changes….me too! The sad news is…my followers dropped from 229, down to 152. Sigh……was it something I said?

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Weather is nice……

Cool and misty this morning. Don’t think we will get enough moisture to change the flows, but it feels like nature is beginning to think about storms. Blazing blue skies were really wearing on me. Fish don’t like them much either. Clouds are needed to get those BWOs going again. Sunny days will come in a few days, and we still have Grass Hoppers on the menu till we get a good freeze. I put the snow shovel, and tow strap, and foul weather clothes in the truck this week, I like to get ahead of things these days…..

Let me know if you’d like to get ready for another fun winter of fishing!

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The pause……..

In the Fall, there is often a pause before we hit Winter. We are there now. Warm temps, but not too warm. Nights are cooler. but not to freezing yet. Below Hirschdale the water is fish-able at 424cfs and tan colored (525@Farad). I don’t post as often when things are not changing rapidly. I just report what I see, and have no interest in pumping it up like a shop might. There is a nice window in the morning with a few risers. Had a beginner caster out a couple days ago who’s casts were still on the short side. I find a bit longer cast and drift helps. Crowd the fish and they seem to disappear. Move like a ninja and stay back a ways….and make the fewest drifts possible. I make myself take breaks between casts…less is more folks. If I put a fish down with my casts, I will just confirm their suspicions by making a bunch more. Slow down, think hunting more than fishing…..

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