November 18, 2009
As long as the temps stay warm enough that the guides don’t freeze, expect continuous reports. Today I headed back out with Ed and Lucas and did what should be impossible in mid November; we floated nearly the entire canyon of the South Fork of the Snake. We shortened the normally twenty-six mile float about five miles by pulling out at Wolf Creek. I often do twenty mile floats in July during the longest days of the year when flows are high, but to do it during these short days of November in low water conditions is unheard of. We put on the water in freezing cold temps at sunrise and got off in freezing cold temps well after sunset. Luckily, in between we had a sunny day with temps reaching a high of about 45 degrees and the fishing was excellent!
Although there were plenty of rising fish eating blue wing olives and midges, this was a full day of chuck-and-duck streamer fishing. With lots of miles to cover, we did not have time to stop and work rising fish. Such a shame as we could have absolutely hammered the fish dry fly fishing. One thing I have learned over the years is that just before winter truly sets in, the trout around here gorge themselves every chance they get. Unless a major cold front or snowstorm sets in, November is a superb month for anyone who loves to fish small dries to quality trout. The action may only last a few hours in the afternoon, but it is non stop. You can get all sophisticated with your dry flies if you like, but the fact is that these fish are trying to put on weight for challenging winter conditions. I can see a size 18 Parachute Adams on the water easily so that’s about the only pattern I mess with. The normally selective trout eat the fly like it’s going out of style!
Plunking streamers on the heads of risers would normally be a sin, but yesterday as we covered water fast, this is exactly what we did. Sure, many of the trout ran for their life, but the big boys often came for a look and many got caught. The action was steady all day however, particularly good early and late. Many people think the water needs to warm up but today was not the case. All in all I believe we landed about thirty fish consisting of mostly cutthroats with a spattering of browns and rainbows.