With the sun starting to feel stronger and the daylight period extending, my mind is turning back to a cold day in 2016. The water was 32 °F and there was a snow squall.
I was bobber-nymphing and for some reason I couldn’t keep the fish off the flies. The trout at times were puking up small, dark bugs. They were Winter Stoneflies/Snowflies about which I wrote here two years ago. (Troutnut.com has a great write-up here.)
I’ve had good luck throwing patterns that mimic them in mid-winter to early-spring. With this year’s mild winter, I’m guessin’ the bugs will get active sooner than usual.
To target them, I tie three flies (pictures below). Starting with the upper-left quadrant and going clockwise, they are: a February Red soft hackle, a starling-and-herl soft hackle, and a simple pattern comprised of herl, light wire (which tamps down the herl to create a narrow body), and some black pheasant tail fibers. All are in size 18.
On one bright, early-spring day, I was fishing that last pattern behind a Caddis dry. It was the one fly that consistently took fish. And, some big ones showed up, eager to feast after a long winter. I’m guessing fish took it for a spent Black Caddis or a Winter Stonefly/Snowfly.
This year, I also will fiddle with a pattern that uses CDC. I’ll let you know if it works.
Your mileage may vary, but these patterns have worked for me and let me work multiple levels of the water column. So, in the spirit of continued transparency, I wanted to share them again.
Hope everyone is well….