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President's Day Weekend: A Winter Window

As we look up it is already President's Day Weekend, the ground hog saw his shadow and Valentine's Day just passed. This time of year also provides some solid opportunities for winter fly fishing. Although February and March often see the heaviest snow falls of the year, prolonged cold is typically more common in late December and January. New life is already stirring in our rivers and streams. Early Black and Early Brown Stoneflies are beginning to become active on warmer days and warm is a relative term. Weather in the upper thirties and low forties is fine for stoneflies. As I mentioned last week, amber colored Chimarra caddis larva are likely to be more active now and going forward through March. Don't be surprised to hook a White Sucker or two right now. They are a decent fight and are gathering to get ready to spawn. Please release these fish as the trout feed on both spawn and the young of the year fish. Bubba Rainbow is still at large, Bubba Brown is too minus the jaw tag.

Another interesting phenomenon of this time of year are that melting snows tend to affect water clarity and temperature on warm days. Today, the air temps reached into the mid fifties but as the day wore on, fishing slowed due to rising water cold from snow melt. Slightly colder days inhibit melt and may actually provide more stable water temperatures, a prerequisite for consistent winter trout fishing.

As far as fly selection goes most of the better winter favorites are still catching fish. Prince nymphs and small Pheasant Tails are good choices now. Tungsten Bead Euro Nymphs are also popular right now. Midges are consistent producers although surface activity has been sparse so far. Most of the midge action has been on Zebra Midges and Rainbow Warriors in sizes 18-22. Egg and Sucker Spawn patterns. I took a nice 14" Brown on a Sculpin today. The fish hit hard and put up a nice fight.

We look forward to seeing many of you next weekend for our Sparse Grey Matter Fly Tying event at the Califon Volunteer Firehouse. The event runs from 10am until 4pm and admission is free. See tyers from aroiund the area demonstrate some of their favorite ties or grab a space and tie yourself. Set up begins at 9am.

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