New Years day on a wild Trout river
With the planning of our "Holiday Open House" and the holiday season there has been little time for fishing these last few weeks. Hopefully that is about to change as we are almost through the holidays and winter fishing is in full swing. I managed to hit the White Clay on 2 occasions during the days following Christmas. First off we would like to thank the White Clay Fly Fishers for the efforts in their Holiday stocking program. The efforts of the club ensures we will have quality fishing throughout the winter months. I fished through the snow storm on the 26th and again for a few hours on the 27th. The fishing was EXCELLENT! I was surprised to see the fish still "podded" up, I would have thought after being in the river for almost two weeks they would have been a little more spread out, but that was not the case. While I was rigging up at the truck I talked to one of our customers that reported having good luck with small white streamers, an opinion that was shared by many on the river I talked to. White buggers, Shenk's Minnows and small, light colored soft hackles were all productive patterns of other anglers on the river. I decided I was going to Nymph under an indicator, and I rigged up my favorite White Clay winter time rig, a #20 Frostbite Midge with a #22 Black Zebra Midge as a trailer. I did pick a few fish with the indicator rig, but it didn't take long to realize the indicator was spooking fish for sure. The First 4 fish I landed were all on the Frostbite Midge, so I re-rigged a dry and dropper set up using a #16 Stimulator as the dry and the Frostbite as the dropper. I fished that rig for the remainder of the first day and all of the second day, almost 7 hours total and had a blast! Toward the end of the second outing I was fishing a run that held SEVERAL fish. I had picked quite a few out of the pod and they seemed to turn off of the Frostbite Midge. I tried 3 different attractor patterns and got absolutely zero response. As fast as I could drift the attractor over the fish, strip in and change to a Mercury Midge and re-cast I was tight to a good Brown. This tells me that these fish were definitely on midges. Here are a few pictures from the two days...
New Years day on a wild Trout river
Rick and I fished together on New Year's day. The weather was great and we had a productive day drifting our patterns over some eager and willing wild Brown Trout. This particular river is known for its winter BWO hatch and reports we have received in the shop confirmed this. We scouted the area for about an hour looking for fish, fishermen, and foot traffic and settled on a spot that looked relatively un-disturbed. While rigging at the truck I was peeking over at Rick and was actually surprised to see him rigging a tandem Nymph rig under an indicator. While scouting we saw a few risers and I was sure he was going to go with the 'ole standby CDC puff and fish the top. (turns out he did switch to the CDC puff at one point and had 2 takes on it before switching back to the tandem rig) I decided to stick with my Dry and Dropper set up, but changed the patterns to a HI-Vis BWO dun on top and a #20 bead head RS2 as the dropper. I believe Rick rigged a Copper John and a KF Flasher Midge pattern. We said our "good lucks" to each other and he headed up river and I headed down. A quick temp of the water showed it to be about 43 degrees, a huge difference from the 36 / 38 I got on the White Clay just a few days before, I guess that is the difference between a Limestoner and a Freestone stream. I did see some BWO Nymphs under some rocks, very small...#20's or #22's so I felt confident with my rig. Well a few hours and several fish later we were looking at the sunset of a great New Year's day. Rick landed a particularly good fish in the red KF flasher, the picture is below with the fish and his size 11 boot! Here are a few more pics from January 1st.
Winter can be some of the hottest fishing of the year. For some great tips to stay warm and safe check out our Cold Weather Wading Tips post here. Get your warm clothes on, grab a handful of Midges in #20 or #22 and get out there! You will be glad you did!
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