Well fall was nice. All two weeks of it. Over the past two weeks we retired our flip flops and t-shirts and broke out the long johns and fleece wader pants. Nothing gets the ladies at the gas station going like a man in stirruped fleece pants let me tell ya. If you don’t believe me just try it. They’re like Guess jeans in 1992. Irresistible to all women…and some men. Back off fellas. I’m married.
It rained in October. That’s not unusual. The unusual thing is that it rained 6 inches in one day. That’s bad. That rarely ever happens. What we thought was going to be an epic brown trout stalking scenario became a question of, “Will we fish again in 2014?” scenario. As it turns out most of our clients are just as crazy as we are. We will give you our honest opinion when your trip looks dicey. We’re trying to be good people here. We’re not thieves. But when you say, “Screw it. Let’s go.” We’re gonna go. So we went. You made us do it.
I took a vacation day on a Friday to take two good friends fishing. Winston Cundiff is a guide down in Texas with some ties in Kentucky. When he comes to visit the Commonwealth he wants to fish. We twisted Gene Slusher’s arm to join us while Winson was in town. Gene just happens to own the best fly shop in Kentucky and also just happens to be a good friend. You’ve probably met him on the water somewhere or in the shop. He’s usually sitting in his office looking at fish pictures and eating something or Googling his next quest for something he hasn’t caught yet on the fly. A man after my own heart.
We began our day with very high water and lots of streamers. BIG streamers. Gene cashed in on his first cast with what most folks would consider the trout of a lifetime. The female brown measured in at 27″ and weighed 7 lbs on my Boga. I told him we were screwed for the rest of the day and I was mostly right. Winston put a few rainbows in the boat with an 18″er being the best. Winston also boated a striper on the fly. Numbers were low but who cares. We had a great day of fishing on a great river in great weather. My day was made when Winston broke out a 10 wt rod and threw the biggest fly I’ve ever seen. He was looking for a striper. Unfortunately he didn’t hook one but Gene and I enjoyed a nice shower every time this dead rabbit flew over our heads.
The next few trips were spent up high. We put in at the dam and tried some deep water nymphing. It worked. Michael and Elizabeth had pretty low expectations for our trip on Sunday. Mostly because they were stuck in a boat with me, but also because I told them a week before the trip that we were looking at high water. They wound up catching lots of fish. We were all pretty surprised. Most wives would have backed out of this trip. Elizabeth was a champ. I can’t wait for the next one.
The following weekend brought very cold temperatures and high wind. I had always wanted to take my buddies Chet and his wife Kim down the river and this was our shot. Unfortunately it was below freezing and windy. Kim and Chet caught most of their fish on dry flies as we anchored on pods of rising fish. It was Kim’s best day ever on the fly rod and this is coming from a girl who lived in Montana. Chet actually rowed me for the second half of the day and I got to land a few fish on nymphs and streamers. Thanks buddy.
On Sunday we rigged dry flies at the ramp expecting the same scenario as the day before. Nope. Not one rising fish. None. Zilch. Zero. Nada. So we nymphed. We spanked em all day on nymphs. If they’re not looking up…they’re looking down. Scott and Darrell…you guys are awesome. Thanks for making me laugh all day.
So here’s the meat and taters of the report. They’re running 5,000 CFS for what looks to be eternity on the river. If you’re a wade fisherman you might want to wait. If you’re just dying to get out there you need to be careful. The gravel bars are mostly under water. You’ll probably catch fish but make sure to use split shot to get it down and use a big indicator to hold it up. Cast with a big open loop because you’ve got a big hot mess on the end of your leader. Copper Johns have been the ticket for the nymph fisherman. We’re using big ones in red and copper. #12 and #14 have been the best. Princes have also worked but the Copper John has by far been the best fly. I’d use tungsten if you’re tying…or buying. It gets down there faster and in this current depth is key. White streamers have been best…as usual. Fish them under a sinking line and vary your retrieve until you get some action. If you find a pod of rising fish use a #18 parachute Adams or some other small midge. Soft hackles could be deadly on fish taking emergers.
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I’m Brandon Wade and I approve this message.
P.S. If you’re fishing in Texas please check out my friends at All Water Guides. They’re the best in the business and will put you on the fish.