Winter Magic with the RED WIZARD!
Fall River, Central OR
I went on a quest for trout today that led me to the banks of the Fall River. This is a spring creek in every sense. It has cold, clean water and finicky trout. Add heavy snowfall to that equation and you could have a frustrating day. This is exactly what I was thinking as I sat in my truck watching the snow come down at an incredible rate. But I was there, needed a fish fix, and never let a little thing like weather stop me before.
I strung up my H-I Red Wizard, which I hadn't fished yet, and rigged it with my standard winter time nymphing set-up, something heavy to get down and something small and red. As I walked down into the first section of water I was hoping to see rising fish as the Fall can give up some great dry-fly days, even in the dead of winter. But I saw no risers and didn't get any takes with the nymphs so I headed up river.
The water up river is SLOOOW with a bright, sandy bottom. This is a challenging section, demanding ultra light tippets, long leaders and small flies. Trout are rising! I cut off the nymph rig and went for the fly that I know would be money, FlyGoddess' size 32 midge. But, alas, it was stuck in a hat that I was NOT wearing....damn! I rifled through my box of midges and found a size 22 that I thought would work. After fumbling with numb fingers I finally got it tied on and laid out my first cast. SIP! Fish on! The nice rainbow to the right would be the reward and after several more casts I caught another. As the hatch started to unwind I headed back down river to see if the bugs were also working their way down.
On the walk down stream the snow made a change to larger flakes and the air warmed a little. Changes like this when you are winter fishing can bring on high hopes of a hatch so I put it in high gear and charged down to my favorite slot. When I got there trout were rising everywhere snacking on a nice hatch of baetis mayflies. Game On! What ensued was nothing short of magic and was something you hope for but usually never materializes. I caught over a half dozen nice trout during that baetis/blizzard hatch, all on the dry fly. As anyone that has fished small flies in extreme conditions knows, that is a fine day.