We had a cold end to last week, with some light snow over the weekend, and although it was at times pretty tough to stay comfortable while fishing, there were some fish to be found for those willing to brave the elements.
Nymphs and streamers have both been producing, with most of the usual late-season offerings producing. Nymphing a Pat's trailed by either a small midge/BWO imitation or a pink San Juan will catch fish about as well as anything else, although finding fish on an ymph rig will be much easier in areas where the fish are concentrated by a major seam line or shelf. In the larger tanks that do not have distinguishable seam lines or structure, a slow- stripped streamer will cover water and search out those fish that may be randomly distributed. Smaller streamer patterns in natural colors like olive, brown, and black have been productive, although throwing a hotbead on an otherwise natural-colored pattern can account for some fish this time of year.
Whether you are nymphing or streamer fishing, make sure to get your flies down close to the bottom, especially if you are fishing from the bank. When nymphing, leader length, fly weight, and split-shot all need to be considered, and if you are not finding fish or occasionally touching bottom, don't be afraid to play around with weight or leader length. If you are fishing streamers and are not running some sort of sink-tip system, you are wasting your time. Whether you use an integrated sink-tip line or a polyleader sysytem, a 10' or 15' sink-tip will help get your flies down in the zone and keep them there. For winter fishing, our guides generally like either a Type 3 (sinks at 3 inches per second) or Type 5 (5 inches per second) tip.
It looks like we should see good fishing conditions through at least the middle of the week, so if you can get out in between holiday errands, you have a good chance at a fishy early Christmas present!