Fishing Report July 23rd 2021
There was a brief reprieve from the heat wave this week with Tuesday and Wednesday being some of the nicest days we've had on the river in the past several weeks. Although there were some minor rain clouds that rolled through, we definitely need a lot more of that. Nonetheless, we will take what we can get, and our fly fishing guides on the Spokane River greatly appreciated the cooler morning temps.
The river continues to drop, but it is slowly leveling out just above 900cfs for the time being: Spokane River Gauge. Even though we would like to see the river levels way higher than they are, it does provide a chance to explore and wade through many stretches of the river. If you have been wanting to get out, search, and fly fish new water now is the time to do so.
Fishing the deep runs in the early mornings have been productive, indicators and nymphs are still the best way to connect to fish. We have been suspending heavy nymphs 7-10ft beneath indicators in order to attain depth and reach down into those deeper runs. Dark bodies flies like Frenchies (sizes 12-16) were working well, and green caddis pupa (sizes 14-16) are still a standard confidence pattern. Nymph patterns with some CDC hackle are also key for providing just a little bit of movement while they drift. As much as I like Perdigon nymph patterns that dive through the water rapidly, I still like to add CDC collars to them just to get that subtle underwater pulsating movement.
With this prolonged low water level, you can also try out euro nymphing (tight line nymphing) while wading. Many anglers loath putting indicators and split shot onto their rigs, but once they try out tight line nymphing they can see how it re-connects them back to the fish. It is a very active way to nymph, and you stay in the driver's seat rather than passively watching an indicator float on the surface. We have even been getting anglers into the rafts and tight line nymphing while we drifted, and that is still a very effective way to fly fish.
For later in the mornings, you can switch to dry-dropper rigs and target the riffles and pocket water. For more shallow spots, I like to keep the dropper on about 12-14 inches of tippet, and for deeper runs I will extend the tippet to 18-24 inches. Since there is not a ton of insect activity on the surface, gravitate more towards attractor patterns like Amy's Ants, Chubby Chernobyls, Stimulators, and Hippie Stompers. These larger dries will allow you to suspend larger and heavier nymphs underneath.
Lastly, always explore the inside bend of rivers. Before moving on to the next stretch of river, fish through the inside bend of the river. At times, trout will post up in deeper slots right up against sunken boulders just waiting for big meals to float by. Check for moderate depth (2-4ft), walking-pace current, and nearby runs/riffled water. Cast a dry-dropper rig and give it a long dead drift through the bend. If nothing hits, then even try twitching the fly just a little to animate some life into it.
Try those tactics out this weekend and into the coming week. It appears that we might get another beat down of hot weather in the coming days, so keep fishing during those earlier morning hours. As always, feel free to Contact Us if you have any questions, are looking for fly fishing instructional classes, or guided fly fishing trips on the Spokane River.