It's been a while since I've been on the water and I miss it. First, there was the week leading up to Thanksgiving that was filled with all kinds of difficult travel planning, where the logistics became so difficult it made Einstein's theory of relativity look like child's play. Then there was the actual trip itself back to Virginia where I needed to work out the details of seeing friends and family, some of which I hadn't seen in nearly fifteen years and needed to allocate enough time for each one so it wouldn't be another fifteen before they asked me back. And finally there was the trip back home, which was two-and-a-half days in a rent-a-car, because I'd picked up a seven week old puppy while I was there, along with a terrible cold that kept me sidelined for a week after I returned. I'm not even gonna go into the details of the difficulty of driving in the non-stop traffic of the busiest travel weekend of the year (something I had failed to factor in, but soon learned firsthand) when my co-pilot had to stop every two hours of so to go to the bathroom. But, overall it turned out to be fun and adventurous; although, by the time I crossed the Texas/New Mexico border I felt like getting out and kissing the ground. It's good to be back home—I really could have done without that cold, though. With the new pup, I know that my time on the water will likely be limited this winter, most likely confined to rare two hour periods on my days off, which is about the maximum time I can keep him kenneled up, without feeling pangs of guilt. It'll all be worth it and by spring he'll be big enough to accompany me for some much needed river training; in the meantime, he's been a true joy and as much as I love to fish, I won't regret the sacrifice in exchange for his company.
That said, here's the latest on the river. First of all, it got cold here. For the biggest part of November we were blessed with some wonderful weather, but this past week we saw nighttime lows in the teens and some days with the highs in the low forties—hard to take when you're used to sunny sixty-five degree days. On the upside, it has sure put a damper on the traffic on the river; which, while not good for business, is great news if you're a fisherman. This coming week looks like we will see a warming trend along with very little of that scourge of the fly-fisherman known as the wind. As far as water conditions go, the flow is at 391 cfs and the water clarity has just begun to turn a bit, no doubt due to those cold nighttime temperatures, but it's still in good shape and shouldn't hurt the quality of the fishing any. For hatches, it's mainly midges out there, occurring as early as 10 or 10:30, but better during mid-day with even some clusters appearing on most days. For the early part of the hatch, I like Morgan's Midges when most of the rises are mainly to emerging insects, then switching to Fore and Afts as they target more of the adults, then on to the Sprout Midge if the hatch is heavy enough to produce clusters. Although the water clarity is still off a bit, it's not enough to abandon 7x tippet for the dries. On the nymphing side, stick with larva (especially red) and midge pupa in the mornings—Mono-Midges and Blings, the smaller the better. 6x fluorocarbon helps. Later, lighten up on the weight and fish the upper water column with some emerger patterns like Crystal Flash, Ju-Jus, and Foamwings. This will be a good week to be out on the water—the weather will be nice, the human traffic will be low, and the water clarity is still good for now, although I think that is on borrowed time, so don't wait around especially if you like fishing the drys. Beginning on the 15th the lower river from Simon Canyon to the takeout at Crusher Hole will be closed to fishermen due to work being performed on the boat ramp and a habitat improvement project in that area. The takeout for drift boats will now be at the side channel of Munoz/Baetis Bend, until the project is completed in early March and the area will also be closed to foot traffic, as well, until that time. I'll try to get into more of the nuts and bolts of the project next week—right now, the pup's saying he needs to go outside and that can't be ignored. If you would like more information or need to book a guide, give us a call at 505-632-2194.