Tip of the Week: Whitewater

You know all those snotty, pocketed riffles on the Farmington that were impossible for you to fish during the rains and high flows of June and early July? Well, no one else could fish them either. But now you can. And they’re loaded with trout that haven’t seen an artificial fly in weeks. I know, because I waded one of those runs today.

In just two hours, idly swinging and dangling wets, I caught over a dozen fish. I fished four flies — a deer hair head/wing soft-hackle, a BH Squirrel and Ginger, a March Brown soft-hackle, and the Drowned Ant — and caught trout on all of them.

Regardless of June rains, this time of year is a good time to focus on riffly water. As water temps rise, trout move into these oxygen factories. You’d be surprised at how big some of the fish are, even though the water’s not even knee high. Wet fly, nymphing, even bushy dries like a Stimulator will all take fish.

Here are some of today’s customers.

Several smaller wild browns like this one. They fight like tigers.
All the really cool stoneflies hang out on this rock to smoke cigarettes and shed their exoskeletons.
The last fish of the day, taken on a size 12 March Brown soft-hackle.
On the Drowned Ant, size 14. This one had some shoulders, and really clobbered the fly.

8 comments on “Tip of the Week: Whitewater

  1. Mike Joubert says:

    Real pretty fish Steve.

  2. Miss P says:

    nice pics…beautiful fish

  3. Kirk says:

    What size March Brown?

  4. M. Cisneros says:

    hum….I need to go fishing.

  5. Steve Culton says:

    We all do, Marci. 🙂

  6. Hi Steve, as I go through your blog posts (new reader here), I’m struck by how amazingly effective the Squirrel & Ginger is. Wondering if I may get your thoughts on:

    – What about the fly seems so seductive relative to other flies?
    – Do you find the pattern as effective away from the Farmington?

    Thank you!

    • Steve Culton says:

      Hi Jo,

      Relative is relative. I don’t think the S&G is more seductive than, say, a 9″ Rock Island flatwing. Perhaps it is more seductive than an Estaz egg, but that fly will catch plenty of steelhead, too. They are all seductive, each in their own way. If we look at the S&G in a broader sense, it is an impressionistic wet fly. It looks in the water, as Sylvester Nemes wrote, like “something alive, something suggestive and moving, something that looks good to eat.” Present it to feeding trout during a caddis hatch where the bugs are roughly that size, color, and profile, and you’re going to be very, very, happy.

      I haven’t fished the S&G in too many places other than the Farmington, but I would not hesitate to use it anywhere during a caddis hatch or as a searching pattern.

      My turn to thank you for the questions and your readership.


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