Late fall fishing, or early winter fishing can be a challenging time of year for the angler, but it is a time of year full of solitude and blissful moments where big fish, low flows, late blooming insects and anglers meet during the quietest time during the season of the Quiet Sport. It is time to pack the gloves and a hat, a neck gator is not a bad idea. The hatches will wane in the coming days and weeks as we await the first major Midge hatches of winter sometime in January. Now, is an excellent time of year for the old school anglers that enjoy the meditative qualities of swinging a nymph down and across the current. Steelhead and local Trout are susceptible to this technique, and one may notice it is also the preferred technique of a great number of valley guides after the end of a long guide season. There is little to think about other than a long cast, a good mend and a feel for the strike. No real decisions to make. Just cast, mend, drift, step and repeat. Locally we can use this same technique as Steelhead diehards with Prince Nymphs, Zug Bugs, Streamers and the like. So after a great season of fishing, perhaps itâ€™s time to take off the strike indicator, grab a half dozen large beaded nymphs and lose yourself in reflection and the sights and sounds of our area waters. Ohâ€™, you also will catch some really nice fish using this method. Enjoy.
The season continues to wind down on the Creek. A few anglers are chasing the Brown trout spawning run, the sloughs and slow water stretches are still showing rising fish when the weather dictates, and few anglers are out and about. Remember that November is the last month to fish the Nature Conservancy, and any water above the Highway 20 bridge. The lower section of the river will close the end of February. Duck hunters are on the Creek this time of the season, so be aware and look for their decoys to avoid messing up one anotherâ€™s activities. It rarely happens that the two paths cross, due to the timing of the hunt versus the fishing hours of the day, but still be aware. Plan on seeing the occasional rise to Midges and tiny Baetis flies.
Big Wood River
The down and across technique described above is very applicable for this river all the way through the winter, but it can be the most effective method from now through December. Keep in mind, that as little as 15 years ago, strike indicators as we know them today in myriad form were rarely used and rarely heard of, and the swinging nymph was a mainstay of valley anglers. Essentially the swinging nymph is sunk to the bottom and then as the line tightens the fly rises to the surface. When fish see this happen in front of them, they cannot help but chase after the â€œemerging” insect. Use this technique with a long, but stout leader. Twelve feet, tapered to 3X is about right. Down south, anglers are pursuing the spawning Browns coming up form Magic Reservoir as well as the egg stealing Rainbows that sit behind them. There are plenty of anglers doing this, and many of the fish have taken daytime refuge under log jams and the like. If youâ€™re interested, a quite weekday may be the best time to pursue them.