I don’t really mind whimsical weather, but it is hard to predict fishing. Two days ago it was windy and cloudy and we had some snow on the ground, higher tan-colored flows, with a spinner fall benefiting a couple risers. Yesterday afternoon it was blue skies, no snow, lower, clearer flows, and nary a bug to be seen and no fish eating. Water temp went from 43deg, to 50deg. Getting closer to happy fish temps. Another Grass Hopper spotted……seems a bit early. The little blast we are getting the next few days will punish this early arrival. When I seine the water for bug info, I get very little to look at. When the water comes up in the grass, I seine some grass on the bank. Yesterday we found March Brown May Fly nymphs up in this new niche. They shouldn’t be too long now. BWOs are still a main course if a cloud comes by. No sign yet of the Carpenter Ants….gotta be a little warmer for them. There are little black/red ants around now, small epoxy ants might be worth a try. Still seeing a few Skwallas around, but they seem about done for this year. Sitting on a run yesterday watching…….an Osprey landed in a tree across from us to watch as well (Or better)…. We sat for 20 minutes together, then he dropped in right in front of us. He missed the fish, but my friend thought he enjoyed the show as much as catching a fish. I like watching them too….because they go all in….feet first. I fish year-round, and this is the time of year I like best. It’s getting fishy out there Fish now!.
No serious snow fall yet. In the last few days we have accumulated about 2 inches total. Most has already melted. Calling for a little more today. Roads are clear and wet, but not too bad. Sunny spots will melt out with sun, but there will be some snow in the shade. Bring a coat! Should have some warmer weather next week. We have nice flows at 400+cfs in town. Air temp 29 deg., water temp 45deg. Clear/green. Bug wise, it will slow a bit today. The Skwalla are still around, waiting for some sunshine to emerge. March Brown Mays are becoming more available, and BWO’s are a close second in these cloudy conditions. All techniques are working right now. Dries, Indy, Euro, and swinging streamers. It’s going to be a very short fishing season on the Truckee river. We have a fishy window for the next few weeks……..don’t wait, fish now!!!!!!
Yesterday was summer, today we have snow……it won’t last long due to warm ground, but may require a ride in my snow plow tonight. They are calling for 3-5 inches. Roads are slippery, be safe! The river is really nice right now. Fish are reaching the state of paranoia with all the attention they are getting. Been seeing refusals, and fish “go off”, hoping to get off when hooked. Fishing pressure is heavy due to poor skiing conditions. Bring some sneak with you. The river is at 440cfs and clear green in town. Bugs are popping. Midges early morning. Skwalla show up mid-day. BWO’s are sparse, but still here. March Brown Mayflies are starting, I’d go with a nymph for now. Some Micro Caddis are around too. Most all our birds are back doing business. Geese are nesting, try not to bother them. Gnat catchers are perch feeding on mayflies. Robins are hunting Skwalla near shore. Swallows are back this week, feeding on the wing. Where they are flying, is where the bugs are hanging. I’m watching the Stellar Jays for an indication of hatching Carpenter Ants. The Jay’s will switch to perch feeding if ants fly. It’s the only time they do it. With this snow, we will push back their emergence for a week or so. Fish now!!!!!
We have some warm weather coming, the river will probably come up a bit, but I think we have moved past a peak melt period. Flows peaked last week, and has already started to drop. In town is a perfect 400cfs. Down in the canyon it is at 1000cfs which is good if you have a bigger stick. An 11ft switch rod is a good choice. I rock 4-5 AB split shot, maybe even 3-4 AAAs. Fish the edges in high flows. The color never went muddy…..only tan. If you look at the stats, 2018 was at 407 for historical low, we are at 470 now.
Still some Skwalla around……both nymphs and dries work.. The March Brown Mays are starting to pop. It’s very warm out, I have a calibrated palm. I can feel the BTUs increasing, so I’m feeling the Flying Carpenter Ants will emerge in a week or so. Tye them or buy them.
Since the snow is crappy at the resorts, more folks are out fishing. As a guide, I’m required to watch others fish (Continuing education….). Many fish here, few catch is my observation. If you find yourself frustrated, do not feel bad, this is known as a frustrating river. Give me a call, and we will square you away. This could be one of the worst water years ever. Fish now!
We humans are distracted by clocks and calendars. The fish we chase, and the bugs they chase, are not. I’ve been trying to calculate this variable for fifty years. The first twenty years were a bust mostly….. The last 30 were on the Truckee river, and I have been watching very closely. Factor in climate change, and predicting when to go fish is even more challenging than it used to be….. The only way to know what is going on with the players, is to go almost every day. So, that’s what I do, 300 days or so a year. Best job a guy like myself can have. Right now the Skwallas are almost done, and the March Brown Mayflies are starting to pop. They almost missed March. Seeing some Caddis, and BWO’s are happening with the help of a few clouds recently. The flows on the river are already coming down, a surface spring that I judge drought by, is already near a trickle. Pretty fishy out there right now, better go fish…….
Skwallas are on the water, and fish are looking up for a big bite finally. You still need to use a quality drift, these fish know about hooks. BWOs are popular as well. Follow the hatch cycle…..mornings are about emergers, mid-day its about adult Skwalla winged adult dry, then towards evening the mayfly spinner fall. Midges have fallen from favor. I think they are over the midge thing after 4-5 months of eating them. The river is green / barely tan. The melt has started in earnest. With this snow pack the river may not go completely muddy, just like last year, and melt will be brief. This higher water makes for some of the best fishing of the year. More water lets bigger fish move under cover, there is more food scoured up, and the hoard hasn’t shown up yet. Near town the flows are 386cfs (wade-able) , 680cfs down in the canyon (buddy wade). Big stick time in the canyon. Yesterday was about 60 deg, and still nice out at midnight. Those that have followed me for a while, know that I use the word “perfect” 3-4 times a year. It is always a good time to go fish, but now is better………..
Truckee river flows have leveled off for the time being. Time to fish. 225cfs in town, 399 in the canyon. clear/green. Geese have been headed north at night, for a week. Mnt Blue Birds just showed yesterday…… I really love this time of year. Bugs are the bird’s main food form. The birds therefore, don’t show up until the bugs pop. Now….it’s game on!!!!!! Fish are looking up… some nice ones…saw a couple beginner fishers score this week. Just need to get a drift. Skwallas took a couple days off due to chilly temps, but warm days ahead! Mid-afternoon is the time to watch for them. Keep your eyes peeled for them on the bubble line near shore. They don’t fly to the water…..they walk. Fish that have tasted some Skwalla in years past, will lurk near shore to intercept a good meal. I find it very hard to hunt fish on the same side of the river that I’m on…..but I keep an ear tuned to an gulp on the other side of the river. Midges are still being eaten, but slowly it’s shifting away from them as a main course. BWOs have become a possibility for a food option early, and later.
Fish all the stages…..emerger, adult, and spliit-wing stage late afternoon. There is still snow around, but it’s starting to go fast…..bring a wind breaker as well for the shady spots. Bring a staff for safety, it’s still slippery. There won’t be water to fish this summer….fish now.
We are teetering on the edge of spring…..I’m watching the flows closely. It looks like the melt has started. You can sit and watch the snow banks crumbling/melting away. Flows are as high as they have been for a while. 255cfs in town, 400cfs in the canyon. Looking forward to breaking out the switch rod and fishing bigger flows. For now, the flows are low enough to keep the 4wt busy, and see risers if you look sharp. The next few days will be cloudy and drizzly….good fishing weather compared to the blazing blue skies we have been “plagued with”. Skwallas are out on the water when air temps are warmer…mid-afternoon. I noticed yesterday, that Robin’s have arrived. Funny how every year they show up when the Skwallas do….Hmmmm. Get’em while they’re hot….
Saw a Caddis yesterday as well. New bugs are on the menu….. Water temps are coming up a little, at 40deg right now. A few Baetis are popping if a cloud comes by. Midges if you must. BIG clumps late in the day. We will see some weather later this week, but I think with the warm pavement and bare ground, snow won’t stick and the rain expected will wash away our limited snow pack as well…… We will have a melt spike on the Truckee gauges. As soon flows level out attack!
We got down to -8deg yesterday, this morning it was a warmer 4deg at dawn…..ya gotta love a heat wave. Ha! There is a tipping point mid-morning when the temps are near zero and start rising, you will see shore ice breaking up. The flows will preclude a good drift. I just sit and wait for an hour or so, then start fishing again. It will continue to get warmer as the week goes on. Sitting in the sun, out of the wind, is very pleasant, and black is a wonderfully warm color to wear. I also learned to carry a butt-sized piece of Insulite pad to sit on. I often take a beverage along as a timing aid, it slows my approach, which is helpful for my fishing stats. (No problem keeping it cold right now.) A coozy is a good call to avoid the cold hand syndrome as well. When sneaking up on some fish, stay low. I recommend dropping a knee to keep a low profile, and putting the foam pad under your knee will prevent it from freezing in that position. (I give you all my best tips!) There is water in the river right now, and the fish can’t leave the water, nor can they quit eating….our only real advantage. The menu is limited, so it’s not mysterious what they are eating. The stage of the emergence is what you need to observe, and mirror it with fly changes. Midges and maybe BWOs if you get lucky. Still no Skwalla’s out. With all the blue skies we are having, sneak IS the main factor determining success. No blind casting…..find a fish, catch a fish. One drift is better than twenty, or two hundred. I was lucky a few days ago. A client had the understanding of fishing less, for more.We sat and watched until we determined the frequency of rises of a nice Bow. Then, armed with the correct food form, he made one cast, and within 3 seconds after the fish gave away it’s position. Bingo!!!! It’s not that hard to catch a fish, if you think instead of acting first. Speaking of thinking…..If you are thinking of fishing this summer, move your fishing date up by two months. Think May-June. Looks like the Truckee will be hurting for water by mid-summer. Fish stressed by low, warm water, and lots of fishing pressure, are not cooperative. As always….let me know if I can help!
The storm track is opening finally! We will only get a small dose of snow. They are calling for 2-4″ Mon and Tues. The pavement is very warm after days of sun……so, it will cause a spike melt if you are watching the USGS flow gauges. When it comes down on the other side of the spike, and levels out, it will be time to hit the water. Looks like a return to nuclear blue skies after that. The water is clear/green and 40ish. The flows are at winter levels……which is to say….low. About 200cfs in town, and 338cfs in the canyon…which is nice for most folks. Remember that the river rocks are as slippery as they get. Several folks have taken swims even though they had a wading staff and studded boots, even though the flows are not pushy. Bring extra clothes is my standard advice. The bug menu is still limited…..Midges are out in great numbers after lunch and you may see some noses if you watch closely. I’ve been looking hard for Skwalla, and they seem slow to arrive. They were THE March bug for many years…..they have come off in late January for a few years, but seem to be waiting this year. If you hear a big eat….maybe tie on a big bug………the nymphs are commuting to shore to emerge, and are on the menu too. Nearly no BWOs with all the sunshine. Since the snow is marginal at resorts for locals (read serious) to have fun. Most feel that if you can’t leave the groomers, it isn’t worth going. Ergo….you go fishing! That means lots of fisher out there. Be sneakier than them and you might catch a fish……Starting to get calls for trips, let me know if I can help.