So far this year I lightened my obsessive focus on brown trout and tried harder to understand the migratory nature of wild bows. Obviously, intercepting them is the goal. I wish to share some fun observations. Some are no-brainers but sometimes you need to be reminded. These observations, by the way, are the result of both So. Cal. and Sierra explorations. Please, use them, believe in them and you just might get a take from a great trout. Mix and match the following:
- Migration barriers great and small. Waterfalls, high-velocity rapids or man-made barriers will often provide an accumulation of fish below them. Even if this is a "doable" barrier, the fish still will hold below it. They may also hold above to rest.
- Turbid waters rule. Use the above rule and fish in a spot that may be fishless at any other time and with cloudy or high water, there may be fish in there.
- The decreased velocity factor. In some cases, the fish will not move until the water decreases in intensity. This means that finding quality fish at times when you think their migrating should be over does happen. In other words, don't be afraid to be surprised; keep a sharp eye out for an errant hog well into the season.
- Above a lake. The inlet and/or first pool theory really can be a winner. Anadromy is anadromy and be it the Pacific Ocean or a local reservoir, the rules apply.
- Remain stealthy. High and turbid waters don't mean that being stealthy can't earn you an extra fish or two. It still pays to keep that tactic warm.
- Mood Swings. I recently was alerted to a hog-heavy run which in less than a week had frisky feeding fish turn dark and start digging redds. Timing and luck do play a role here. Please leave spawners alone and mark your calendar for returning a week or two earlier next year.
- Trapped or new-resident fish. Fish will get trapped. It's a fact of life. As water levels decrease after snowmelt or storms, look in isolated pools or side-channels. Heck, save a trout. Catch it and release it into the stream.
- Use the closures. Freshly opened roads, trailheads etc. allow you to be on a spot before the hordes. The fish have had a break from humans and may be ready to bite.
- Last but not least: Pre-Runoff. Sometimes a small pre-runoff window with a light spike in water temps will have fish feeding before your arroyo becomes the Colorado.
Ok, I'll shut up for now.