With the Skwala hatch just days away (hopefully), we thought we would share some tips that may help you, our loyal readers, figure out one of our favorite hatches of the season. The following do's and don'ts have helped our guides find fish over the years, and we hope they do the same for you.
DO practice your casting- It's been a long winter, and we all have a little rust to shake off. Ten minutes in your backyard or local park working out the kinks will pay big dividends when you are out on the water. You don't have to be a world champion caster to be a good dry-fly angler; focus on casting a tight, accurate loop out to thirty feet or so, and if you haven't already, learn to reach cast.
DON'T hit the water too early- Stoneflies love warmth, and in the early season the warmest part of the day is generally from 12-4pm. Sure you can nymph or streamer fish early in the day and pick up a few fish, but if you are dedicated to the dry fly our best advice is to sleep in, eat a good breakfast, take your sweet time rigging up, THEN hit the water.
DO check the water temperature- The Skwala hatch really gets cranking when the river is consistently getting into the low 40's. Many guides on the Yak will point to the 42-degree mark as being the magic number. Keep an eye on the gauges, when water temps top out in the 40s for two or three days in a row, it's go time!
DON'T fish big flies- Most Skwala adults are small for stoneflies, generally in the #10-12 range, and flies that are slim and sparse will usually out-fish the foam monstrosities that work so well during the Salmonfly and Golden Stone hatches.
DO fish where the fish are- This may seem obvious, but many anglers fish their Skwala patterns in water that is TOO FAST. March water temps are still cold (mid 40's), so the fish will be hanging out in soft, slow water. When looking at a river there is always a heavy bank (faster, deeper water) and a weak bank (softer, shallower water). Fish the weak bank.
The Skwala hatch can be tricky to hit just right, and even when you do, early spring weather and fishing conditions can be tough on anglers of all skill levels. We hope you can put some of this info to good use this spring, and remember, fishing is fun, so above all else, have a blast out there!