The sun’s out, the fish are happy, and the river is in great shape. What could be better?
We’ve been experiencing some awesome weather and some awesome fishing the last few days in Ellensburg. It seems like the fish are just as excited about the sun as we are!
The warm temperatures look like they will hang around for the rest of the week. Flows look to be on the drop and there should still be good fishing the next few days. Clarity was still good this past weekend despite the sudden increase in flows we experienced last week.
The fish are hungry…
Trout in the river are currently keying in on a variety of subsurface patterns. Both nymphs and streamers produced fish this last weekend.
Stoneflies, midges, and some mayflies in darker colors are beginning to move around and the following patterns imitate those:
Pat’s Stones (#8-12) in coffee and black
WD-40 Midges (#14-20) in black and brown
Lightning Bugs (#14-20) in black and purple
San Juan Worms and Squirmy Worms (#8-12) in red, pink, and red/pink
Gold Ribbed Hare’s Ear (#12-16) in brown
Streamers in both flashy and natural colors have been productive lately. Here are some of our favorites:
Sparkle Minnows (#6-12) in gold, olive, or brown
Dolly Llamas (#6-12) in combinations of olive, black, and white
Sculpzillas (#4-8) in olive and black
Setups for various water types
Fish right now are hanging deep. Focus on areas of slower current (walking pace water or slower) and where two seams come together. Drop-offs and structure will also provide respite for fish and should be spots you swing your flies through.
Fishing two flies is a great way to cover water and provide different offerings to the fish. A Pat’s Stone in coffee serves as a great point fly and should be trailed by something smaller like a black WD-40 midge. If you aren’t finding fish on the midge, try fishing a pink or red worm pattern. Play around with different colors and sizes until you find what the fish are keying in on that day. An indicator system with 6-7 feet to your first fly and 1-1.5 feet to your second fly will work great for this time of year. You can adjust your indicator and weight accordingly to the section of water you are fishing. Get deep and close to the bottom.
There’s nothing like a fish absolutely crushing a streamer. Try throwing big patterns like Sparkle Minnows behind pieces of structure and where there’s an abrupt change in water speed and depth. You can try an upstream presentation on a sink tip line or with a sinking poly leader. Strip the pattern downstream and put that fly in the fish’s face. Play around with different speeds until you find the right one. A downstream swing can work especially well for targeting fish in current seams and for people fishing from the bank. Cast out at an angle downstream and hold your line tight or slightly bounce your rod tip as your streamer swings below you. Hold the pause for a few seconds, as fish will often chase your fly all the way to the end of your swing before eating it.
Bug forecast for the next couple months
We’re starting to see a few mayfly and stonefly nymphs crawling around. If the water temps stay warm, we may be seeing a few Skwala Stoneflies by late February. March Brown nymphs are also beginning to show themselves, so look for those to start becoming a prevalent food source by mid-March and into April. Dry fly fishing here we come!