Truckee River 2-7-12

I’ve been standing in water quite a bit lately, and feeling better for it.
The flows are inviting at the low winter levels of 300-400 cfs. Clear/green.
Temps are chilly (45deg air, 37 deg H2O), and require little breaks on shore, to bring back some feeling to my toes. The snow that we had last, melted and packed-out to the point where it isn’t an issue to move around.
The shore ice has mostly melted. Warm spells even allow some lighter clothing.

One of the least touted styles of fly fishing, is fishing eddies.
In the winter, fish will often park in deeper pools. They spend very little energy to maintain their position and can shop carefully for slow-moving tidbits.
These bits float around and around in the eddy until they feel OK about it.
Found a big re-circulating pool a few days ago, with a sun beam illuminating the deepest section.
Seven feet down was a pod of largish rainbows.They were patrolling/feeding and then returning to their spot in the group. The biggest trick to fishing eddies, is knowing that fish face into the current, and in an eddy they can be facing downstream. When you hike upstream to fish, you basically walk up, right in front of the them.
This does not help your fish stats…….
I approach from the upstream side, and place my offering in the water, letting the eddy serve it up. Very little casting involved, just lots of artful mends. Splashy mends are not a good idea, do a gentle lift off and flip. Another trick to this style, is selecting bugs that would naturally suspend in slow moving waters. Soft hackles are my favorite because they move well when dangled.
Micro-May nymphs are good too. Midges are a strong contender as well.
What doesn’t work as well on “careful shoppers”, is the heavy stuff.
Bigger stones, and crays, would naturally sink out of the water column in slower water.
It seems some of the fish have figured this out.
Since there is generally less current in eddies, and the flies are just going around and around, getting the flies down quickly is not the issue. I therefore recommend using less weight on your leader. With heavier weight, subtle takes of the fly may not register on your Bobber. Fish can pick up and drop it, with no clue left, that they were ever there.
Even with light weight you may see one expanding ring from the Indy and then nothing.
Be quick to set, and remember to set upstream if they are facing down. Otherwise you may pull it away from them.

Scott, 1 drifting his new midge pattern.

Winter fishing is very rewarding to me, partly, because it’s not like fishing in the Summer……

About Bigflyguideservice

Full time fly fishing guide on the Truckee River and other California state waters. Smaller stream techniques as well as switch rod instruction. 40 years experience fly fishing. Catch and release only.
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