Friday, January 2, 2009

Winter Steelhead



The Oak Orchard River is starting to come back into fishing condition. For now the Oak is still running very high and is barely wadeable, you will need to carefully pick and choose where you wade. Taking a spill while fishing is never fun, however during the winter a spill in the river can be extremely dangerous. Right now water temperature for Oak Orchard is 32 degrees. The water color is still muddy and there is about one to one and a half feet of visibility. Despite these conditions the Oak has been fishing fairly decent for this time of year. You will need to use heavy sink tips or a lot of weight to get the fly down, but there are some good steelheads in the Oak right now. The next two weeks should be good for the Oak Orchard, weather permitting. Productive flies have been large bright egg patterns in size 8 and 6 in fluorescent colors plus streamer and Leach patterns in size 6 and 4 in colors of white and black, pink.

Sandy Creek has not fared as well. The high water cleared the ice out. But now with all the snow and cold Sandy has iced back over once again.

The Salmon River is settling back down to a water flow of 700 CFS for winter fishing. The steelhead fishing continues to be outstanding for this time of the year. The Salmon River continues to receive fresh fish almost on a daily basis. Depending on the slush conditions, the lower river can produces some of the easiest fishing. Steelhead in the lower river have not experienced as much fishing pressure yet, and are more receptive to flies. Here I am swinging medium size wet flies with heavy sink tips to help slowdown the swing. Also dead drifting large stone flies and egg patterns under strike indicators.
The upper river has more steelhead but this is also where most of the fishing pressure is. As a result more care and smaller flies are needed to consistently produce fish. This is where I use my smaller nymphs and stone flies, long fine leaders and strike indicators. I will also fish the pools at a slower pace to make sure the whole pool is covered.

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