March 10th Fishing Report
The Bitterroot River has been fishing quite well since our last report and a few Skwala's have been spotted. Good morning folks, Jeff Gray here with the latest update from the Bitterroot River. We've been seeing a lot of anglers come through the shop, more than usual for this early in March. Why? The weather has been so darn nice, folks have been dusting off their waders and putting off their chores to head to the "Root". And what they've been finding are lots of hungry trout. Seems it's not just the anglers who are excited for spring to arrive, the fish are excited too.
Has the Skwala Hatch started yet? We get this question more times throughout the day than I can count. To answer the question....well yeah, sort of. But not what you think or hope. There have been several Skwalas spotted, but I wouldn't call it a "hatch" just yet. You can find fish responding to adult Skwalas, but this is probably the least effective method of catching fish right now. You're still better off nymphing, atleast in the AM when the water temps are so cold. In the afternoon you can switch to a dry dropper rig and get em to eat the nymph mostly, with the occassional dry fly eat. Also, look for a small black stonefly in about a 16 or 18 to turn some fish as well. A Capnia as we call it is a winter stone that becomes very effective this time of year and any small pattern in the appropriate size range will turn some heads.
What does my set up look like? For the nymphers, I like to run a 90 degree set up consisting of a heavy butt section of about 18" from my fly line straight to the indicator. From the indicator down, I will run straight 2X Fluorocarbon for about 3'-6', depending on water depth, to a clinch knot. I will then tie on 18" of 3X Fluorocarbon to my first fly which usually consist of a large stonefly nymph, such as a Rubber Leg. I tie another 18" piece of 4X Fluorocarbon tippet from the bend of my first fly to a second fly which can be anything from a SJ Worm to a techy Jig Nymph. It's the second fly that gets changed out a bunch depending on conditions and what the fish are responding to.
A dry dropper set us is just that. Nothing techy here you just need a dry fly large enough to hold up what ever nymph you are hanging of the back end. I see a few different set ups here, but one that works well for me is simply tying my dropper line directly to the bend of my dry fly. If I want to fish a larger nymph, I will have to use a larger dry fly to support the weight of the larger nymph. This is where it's nice to be a fly tier. You can tie up specific weighted flies for these type of situations. As for dropper length, change it up to the depth of the water you're fishing. Deeper is usually better.....just sayin.
The Streamer guys out there all have their own special set up and it seems to be a secret code that is only shared on the "inner" circle. Here's how you should look at the streamer game. Use HEAVY tippet, like 12lb, short leaders, like 6' and try to "swim" your bug through the zone. Sometimes the fish want it swimming fast and sometimes they want it slow. Change it up til you get the fish to respond. Don't forget about changing colors and weight to get to the desired water depth.
Good luck and be safe out on the water.