The weather forecast ushers in colder daytime temperatures and likely some snow. Anglers will need to adjust their tactics accordingly. No matter where you fish, concentrate angling efforts during the warmest parts of the day, and look for fish in typical winter holding lies — soft current seams, slow, deep pools, and calm tailouts.
Silver Creek south of Highway 20 remains open until the end of November. North of the highway, the Creek remains open until the end of February. Note – duck hunters are active on Silver Creek this time of year, so anglers should be aware. The Creek’s large brown trout have completed spawning and are actively feeding to “pack on the pounds” before winter. Dry-fly activity is limited to the late afternoon, but anglers should expect small Baetis (BWO) and midges during calm days. Throwing streamers to deep, dark water and undercut banks will take plenty of fish. The old adage of “bright day, bright fly and dark day, dark fly” seems to hold true. Don’t be afraid to experiment with your favorite streamers!
Anglers on the Big Wood River should seek out water that sees afternoon sun; avoid shady canyons and tree-lined corridors of river. Baetis and midge activity remains strong given the right weather conditions. A size 18 or 20 Olive Gulper Special or Film Critic accurately imitates Baetis and will fool trout all along the Big Wood. To take fish eating midges (look to the foam lines!), fish a visible midge cluster imitation followed by a trailing midge emerger or adult. A white-winged Griffith’s Gnats in a size 16 or 18, trailed by a size 20 or 22 Tie-Down Midge, is an excellent choice.
Nymphing will be extremely productive throughout the winter months. Go-to double nymph rigs include large Rubber Legs, Princes, Hare’s Ears, and Copper Johns followed by more diminutive imitations such as black or red Zebra Midges, Pheasant Tails, Rainbow Warriors, or Brassies. Sculpin imitations such as olive Buggers, Zonkers, and Sparkle Minnows fished on a slow swing effectively imitate the numerous sculpin found in the Big Wood. This technique will yield quality over quantity, and produces some exceptional rainbows.
Happy Thanksgiving and happy fishing, everyone!