The dog days have set in pretty hard here in the Fort. 103 degrees on Wednesday, ouch. But we are starting to cool off at least for a few days which is a welcome reprieve from the blistering heat of late. The middle of the river has a good amount of grass so the water coming down is channeling to the sides providing good visibility and decent fishing on the banks. Shelves and riffles remain good nymph spots.
Got out and did a few hours of trico fishing yesterday morning and the hatch was very strong. The cloud cover kept things going until about 10:30 or so. Then it turned to spinner soup on the water. As the spinner fall was wrapping up, we noticed the coveted mahogonies making their rare appearance. There were a good number of them too.
Don’t know what today will bring, but the remaining few fish that were up on trico spinners started keying in on the bigger mahogony duns around 3 mile. During the tricos there were plenty of fish up in the cleaner channels towards the banks, but you are going to need your A game to get it done. Not big pods of fish but singles and doubles spread throughout, concentrated in spots. The fish have seen a lot of flies and patterns at this point and are getting a little spooooky.
Fish at a downstream angle or upstream angle whatever you are most comfortable with, but just know there isn’t much room for error. You hit them in the head, they are gone. Hit them in the back and they will move up. Hit them too high and they see your drag….thanks for playing, good luck next time. For many of us, we love this challenging technical fishing. It’s what we live for. You put in the work, and bask in the glory of a reward in your net. But they aren’t going to jump in it for you. Work is required at this point. A doctorate degree at times. Best advice we can give, try some patterns they haven’t seen and dagnamit don’t drag your fly.
With August over, we are comfortable at this point declaring 2019 a hopper year and they are still going. From here on out, expect it to be hit or miss depending on the weather. Warmer, breezy days should turn into some decent hopper fishing from 12-4. Cooler overcast days not so much. When weather conditions are right, don’t be shy and stick with it. Rely less on the banks unless there is good current and focus more on the grass lines and moss beds, more middle river. Some days will only turn a few fish, some days could be phenomenal. Using the last hopper year which was sometime around 2008 as our proxy, we expect hopper fishing to steadily decline through late September. But it’s possible to catch fish on them and even have some decent days all the way until the first frost.
Nymphing remains good in spots. We haven’t broke out the streamers yet, but it’s about that time and reports yesterday with the cloud cover were “it was good” and should be over the next few days, a good opportunity to give it a go. If you can keep the grass off there’s little doubt streamers will move fish this week and is highly recommended. Guides are noticing quite a bit more fry/minnows in the river than recent years, could be a good sign for better than average Oct/Nov streamer fishing….