The weather during the last week was beautiful, warm and bright sun. At night the full moon lit the clear sky and accompanied below freezing temperatures on a few evenings. After a few adjustments during the week the Pan is now running at 86cfs, which is pretty close to normal winter releases. The fish are now moving back into deeper waters leaving the shallows for the spawning browns. Already the browns are in evidence on some of the redds while in other places they are stacking up to spawn. Non-spawning fish are now sitting below them in the deeper water and are beginning to eat the eggs drifting in the faster currents. The Fork is also just at 401cfs having dropped even lower during the week.
The BWO fishing on the Pan has been excellent though confined in duration on the brighter days. The coming week promises a little more cloud with an increased probability of some snow or rain at the end of the week. The weather has been delightful and has suited the hunters during the weekend. There have been a few fishermen about enjoying the warmth.
It has definitely quietened down in town and we are doing inventories and completing fly orders for next year. We anticipate having close to 2000 patterns and sizes in the shop next season. We will have to make a few changes in layout to accommodate them. That will take place over the winter. During the year we had requests for a number of old patterns which were no longer available in the marketplace. We will be adding those to our range as special orders from the manufacturers. It is interesting the rate at which flies goes in and out of fashion. The bugs have taken millions of years to evolve, yet looking at some of the changes in patterns, one could be forgiven for thinking that the pace of evolution just picked up the pace. Still it is a lot of fun looking at the new designs which tyers continually come up with each year. So next year when you come out to visit take some extra time to have a look at the additions to our range of patterns. I don't know when we will stop adding. I thought 2000 sounded like a nice round number, but we got there so quickly I think we will have to revise our thinking.
Current Flow: below the Dam - 86cfs. (if you want more uptodate figures check out current readings on our "Links" page)
There was some more excellent BWO dry fly fishing again this week although it is more confined during the bright days. When the fish were not rising they were taking small baetis nymph patterns such as pheasant tails as well as midge patterns such as the chironocone. When they were on the surface the fish took a range of BWO patterns, but as the BWO's are getting smaller the best flies were small and dark olive bodies - #20 and #22. For dries the #20 and #22 matthews sparkle baetis olive was excellent as was the #20 snowshoe dun. However the fish did respond to other BWO dries as well such as the extended body parachute BWO and the beadtail emerger.
Recommended Flies: The coming week promises excellent fishing which on the bright clear days will be concentrated to the middle of the day and early afternoon. If it gets cloudy and wet at the end of the week, the hatch will last a little longer and will be more prolific. There will not be any hurry to get onto the water early in the morning as the cold will limit the bug activity early on. In the shade they will come off a little longer. So each day one will start out nymphing with both baetis and midges in anticipation of the rise. Try a combination of sparkle baetis nymphs, pheasant tails, and midge pupa patterns such as WD-40's, WD-50's and chironocones. Then wait for the BWO's to start coming off. There are still a few PMD's about and a few mahoganys but they are getting less frequent. The fish remain particular as they feed and the lower water will concentrate them more in the feeding lanes where it is deeper. They will be more easily spooked as well. So if one pattern is not working don't waste too much time. Instead change and try something else and keep changing until you can discern what they are taking. Of course if your presentation is suspect, it doesn't matter what you are using. In addition with the browns moving onto the redds to spawn take care not to disturb them. But fish downstream with egg patterns where other fish will gather to feed on them.If you are fishing to rising fish, don't fish too shallow too quickly. Even if you think the fish are feeding just under or on the surface, persist with keeping the fly lower until there is no question that they are on dries. Watch carefully and discern whether the fish are taking emergers or dries. If you don't take care and switch to a dry pattern too early it can cause you to miss good opportunities. If it starts to rain or snow, keep fishing.
The Fork is back to more traditional end of season flows and as a consequence the floating is now confined comfortably below Carbonadale. The Fork is deserted now in most places and the browns are getting ready to spawn. So if you take the time to walk into some of the less trafficked areas there will be some great fishing. But do take care to avoid the redds as those are next seasons young and minimal disturbance will maximize the production. When fishing start out with streamers, worms, eggs and attractor patterns such as princes. As the day progresses try midges and baetis nymphs as well. Small BWO nymphs and emergers continue to work well. The smaller the better.
There continues to be good fishing with similar patterns to the Fork only a little larger.
Recommended Flies: PMD's #16, #18, baetis #18,20 and midges, both dries and emergers; 20 inchers size #10 - #14; streamers #6 and #8 and smaller and try egg patterns.