GREY REEF FISHING REPORT 2/2/2018
Fishing is 10/10: Prespawn Rainbows, hungry postspawn Browns
Flow: 500 CFS and Clear
WHAT TO USE:
The Grey Reef is a tailwater that is loaded with normal tailwater aquatic life. Scuds, annelids, midges, leeches, crawdads, and baitfish (sculpins.) This time of year, large numbers of pre-spawn Rainbows and Cutbows are staging in long, deep runs, gorging themselves in preparation for their annual spawn. Meanwhile the Big Browns are in post-spawn mode, also eating everything in sight. They are replenishing reserves spent during their spawn, stacking in large numbers, in the tailouts of the long deep runs. Salmonids in tailwaters with large amounts of food sources expend as little amount of energy as possible to feed. Low flows, slow water, lazy fish concentrated in seams of slow deep runs, or tailouts is the basis for our topic this week. Egg patterns are still number one on the menu and literally all you need to catch fish. Nymph deep on the bottom of runs and drop off’s of shelves.
Kathryn and Cameron with a double on Egg Patterns. Grey Reef 1/28/18.
FOR THE PURISTS:
Midges, scuds, rockworms, baetis nymphs, and leeches are also producing fish. Fish are looking up on wind free days sipping midges, so look for noses in flat, slow, skinny water, and you can have stellar dry fly action right now. Streamer action is as good as it ever gets! The absolute best way to catch really big fish right now. Typical Winter Tans, Whites, Olive, and Browns are your best color options. Low and slow on the retrieve is key!
Guide, Jack and sidekick Boots with a Bow on a midge dry fly. Fremont Canyon 2/2/18.
Jack with a Brown on a custom brown/tan streamer. Miracle Mile 1/30/18.
TIP OF THE WEEK:
The “tip of the week” will help you increase hook ups and decrease misses.
Remember how I mentioned low flows, lots of food, lazy fish, and fish not wanting to expend unnecessary energy to feed? Whether eating a midge, egg, or streamer in the winter, let’s examine their takes (eats.) There have been great studies done on nymph fishing with indicators and how the indicator reacts. Those of you who know me have heard this for the past 15 years but when we (anglers) make a cast, get a great drift, and execute a good hook set, we still miss 80-82% of the time, and that’s when we do it correct. Also, one-third of the time, a fish will eat your fly, close their mouth, open and spit it, and your indicator will never move. That’s A LOT of misses! Add winter water temps and slower fish metabolism with slow current and lazy fish, and the number of misses will increase even more.
Thingamabobbers work great for high, fast water and when using big nymphs on low wind days. They are so buoyant they actually set the hook for you when the take is aggressive. As they ride super high and get blown around, this style indicator will affect your drift. Because the winter flows are lower and slower, the fish are not aggressive, and we generally experience more wind variation, Thingamabobbers are not as ideal for our water in the winter.
I prefer a cork indicator in winter months. You want to use an indicator that doesn’t sink when using an AB weight, but rides low or even just under the surface in faster turbulent water. Little foam or cork indicators from WAPSI are ideal for casting into wind and VERY subtle winter takes.
THE HOOK SET:
The other “KEY” is a smooth, gentle, downstream, all-in-one-motion, hook set. If the indicator moves ever so slightly, set the hook. Sets are free! More times than not, you will be rewarded for a nice smooth hook set than, “oh man, I should have set, that was definitely a fish.” If you use the exact same motion as a recast, the physics are better than a “jerk” or “pop.” This gets your leader tight SOON, rather than hard. Every single one of us has set way too hard before, me probably more than most! The set is a reaction, and most reactions are fueled by excitement, adrenaline, and force. Remember, all that does is rip your flies away from their mouths sooner. The resistance of the fish during a setting motion should stop your rod motion. Slide hooks tight as opposed to jerking the hook into their mouth. Stop and think of the physics. While you’re doing this, reach into your fly box, eyes closed, and you will find out quickly that little fly hooks are sharp! It doesn’t take much force to stick one into your finger.
The majority of winter takes will be very subtle, so if the indicator moves, slide hooks tight. If hooks don’t come tight, follow through into your back cast and recast to get your flies back to the fish asap. The more time your flies are in the food lane drifting naturally the more opportunities you’ll have to hook up. Every run here has a River Monster! It might as well be you that catches him/her.
Clients causing double trouble on the Reef 1/31/18.
If you want to see the best fly fishing possible (and eat some of the best hot chili, soups, and stews) give us a shout soon. With awesome weather lately and limited space we are booking up fast!!! Mention you read this fishing report and receive a $25 discount on a full day float trip in February. That’s $325 for 2 anglers, full day float on the Grey Reef with hot lunch. Our clients have been averaging around 70 fish per boat per day and this “Tip of the Week” is the main reason why. You can’t beat that deal and our guides want to be out there as much as you do and ensure you have the best fishing trip possible.
Fish Hard, Fish Often