Time: Dawn to Dusk
Flow: 95 cfs
Water: Low and clear
Weather: Partly cloudy
Hatch: Caddis and Cahills
Instead of heading to work Monday morning I headed to the gin clear waters of the Current. The river is as low and clear as I've ever seen it. Hopefully we get some spring showers to raise the rivers a little going into summer. I was hoping for a morning hatch but no such luck. I had anticipated the low, clear water and had a new french leader of around 20 foot all tied up. I've generally used a coiled sighter in the past but tied this one with a drop sighter at the end. This would allow me to easily just reel in line and switch over to the Czech/Polish method as the water dictated.
It was pretty chilly in the morning so I decided to stick close to my car until it warmed up. That way I wouldn't be a mile downstream stuck with my jacket when it got warm. I got down to the split hole before turning around. Around that time either the fishing totally turned on or I finally got a feel for the new leader/sighter combo. I think it was mostly the second because instead of thinking, "oops, missed a strike" it was "fish on, fish on, fish on" all the way back to the car.
With water and lunch in tow it was time to cover some water. Shortly after getting getting back in I heard some swearing downstream. Upon further inspection I found out a big brown had flashed the guy's lure. Thinking back I'm sure the fish was totally spooked but when you're standing there looking at two feet of brown trout holding on bottom you completely think you can catch it. We figured since it never actually felt the hook it might still be willing. Both of us tried our best. I drifted everything by it, even the couple realistic flies I carry. I even busted out an indicator (gasp) thinking it might be a drift issue. I did hook around a half dozen fish all around it including a rainbow that had us both fooled but neither of us got the big guy. Eventually I had to cross my fingers that it would be there on the return trip. It wasn't.
I kept working downstream picking off fish. It was a numbers day but I did get a few in the middle teens, the biggest being a 17-18 inch rainbow. I would find them stacked up in the deeper spots but found plenty in shallow water also. It's pretty neat catching them out of ankle deep water and the french set up worked great for this. Another thing about fishing the shallow clear water is it makes you appreciate how well the trout blend in on the stream bed when they appear out of nowhere to take your fly. It stayed steady all day. My go to biot nymph in a #18 stayed on dropper most of the day and amounted for most of my fish. My point fly switched as the water, and snags, called for. The most successful of which was a pheasant tail jig nymph.
The only disappointing part had been the lack of dry fly action. Luckily, just before I was going to leave, the bugs showed up. I spied a number of rising fish upstream from the parking lot. I switched out the nymph rig for a CDC and Elk and headed upstream. No dice. I switched to a size smaller. No luck. Switched again, I guess they're not taking caddis. There were a handful of cahills around so I switched to a para-dun. Nope. CDC dun. Missed strike, then total refusal. Spinner, no. Emerger, FINALLY YES!!! There weren't many of the cahills on the water but I'm guessing there were plenty right under the surface because the cahill colored CDC emerger did the trick. It must of took an hour to figure out what they'd take but I probably got in just as much time catching them until I couldn't see my fly anymore.
As far as numbers go it was one of the best days in a while not counting my trip on stocking-day. I should be back down pretty soon so hopefully they say hungry.