I was prepared to offer a not-so-good fishing report this evening but there’s a glimmer of hope emerging.
It’s been tough for most of the main lake anglers. Blame it on the cold water (but it’s been the same all winter). Blame it on constant 6,500 cfs flow (but it’s been the same for weeks). Blame it on the wind, rain and bright sun. I’ve run out of things to blame slow fishing on! May be we haven’t found what they want.
I’m a jig fisherman — that’s what I do. And I tend to give up if they’re not taking a jig in a way I think they should take it. I mean, there’s patterns that are established that are time tested, proven to work! And if they’re not biting, well, they’re not hungry.
So yesterday, I caught trout on a small, 1/32nd ounce black/olive jig, black head using 2-pound line working an inside bank where the current was slower than the main channel. I thought I had found a pattern I could build on.
This morning, I hit the same bank, same jig and had the same luck. But I hadn’t tried this pattern any other place on the lake. No time… on to work.
This evening I had some time before meeting the family at Thai Thai so me and Jackson took a jon boat out, up to the same bank I had worked two times prior. And yes, they were still taking my jig. But this time I worked it fast and shallow, not letting the jig sink much at all. And they liked it very much.
Just after I passed the pump station building, I saw a good size trout take a midge mid lake, behind me. I threw at it and caught it. Cool! Threw to the middle again and caught another.
Boated back up but this time I guided the boat to the bluff bank. But I didn’t work close to the bank or the eddies. I throw way off the bank and worked it fast and shallow and… I caught some nice rainbows. Lots of them. The last trout was a good brown, about 18 inches, which snapped my 2-pound line. Of course, I hadn’t retied the jig on after over a dozen fish so I asked for it.
OK then… I established a good pattern that was working not only in slower current but mid lake. Granted, no wind and cloudy skies helped the bite I’m sure but it’s a sign of good things to come — I’m hoping.
The idea of a small jig is that in these conditions, the jig isn’t sinking very fast. The fast, jerky action of the jig must bring them out of the deep and the dead drop triggers the strike. The water is clear enough you can see the flash of the fish, slashing at the lure. It’s pretty fun.
I wonder if a fly fisherman could imitate this action with a beaded woolly bugger? I bet so.
The other hot spot has been the warm water feeder creeks. Our lake water temperature has held at 43-44 degrees for weeks — that’s cold even for trout. These creeks, namely Turkey, Coon and Roark, have a lot of rainbows in them. What I have heard is that either a jig or a Berkley pink worm under a float only 2-3 feet deep is catching them.
Guide, Chuck Gries, told me this morning that his clients have been doing pretty good catching bigger rainbows and a few browns while drifting up below the dam with a variety of flies under an indicator. He’s using a tandem which consists of a scud, zebra midge, egg fly and a San Juan worm. He said the numbers are low but the quality of trout they’re getting makes the trip up worth it.