Well, now it really feels like fall: color in the trees, cloudy skies, leaves on the lawn. Earlier in the week, I made my way over to a favorite section of the Spokane to take advantage of the cloudy skies and to see if the trout were a bit more active. It was enjoyable fishing a run that I had focused on a lot this summer, yet as I worked up river I noticed a side channel that typically sat stagnant over the previous months but now had some current running through it.
The bump in the river flows made it look like an enticing small pool so, curiously I made a quick cast with my dry-dropper rig to the tailout of the pool. Wham! A redband immediately struck the dry, I set the hook and brought it to net, a decent eleven incher. Interest piqued, I continued to fish the side channel and brought several trout to net including a hefty one that caught me by surprise.
Focusing on this side channel re-enforced a lesson for me, be on the look out for new water during the fall as the river keeps rising. Side channels, pools, calmer pocket water that barely held water during the low summer flows are coming back into shape week after week, so seek out areas on the periphery and you could be surprised by what you find.
The rest of the week also played out favorable, the cooler temps, cloudy skies, precipitation, and slightly higher flows (see: Spokane River Gauge) helped to keep the trout active throughout the day. There were a few hits on the dries, a couple on streamers (but nothing too aggressive yet with the streamers), but most action came from the nymphs (no surprise there). Large trout have still been holding around the faster, more turbulent water yet, the smaller and mid-size trout have not been feeding quite as much and are starting to move into less turbulent parts of the river.
Fall is also a fantastic time to try out euro (tightline) nymphing. After a long, brutally hot summer and months of seeing flies and indicators, the trout wise up in the fall and can be skittish when an indicator plops down on the water. Euro nymphing is a stealthy technique to effectively fish nymphs right in the strike zone with accurate drifts.
We had a couple anglers that tried out euro nymphing from the raft for their first time this week. They picked it up quickly and soon brought several trout and whitefish to the net. As they saw, euro nymphing from the raft can involve a few more tangles, but it is a super deadly skill to have in your arsenal.
For this weekend and upcoming week, the fishing should stay pretty active throughout much of the day especially with any sort of cloud cover. The river flows are still low enough that dry-dropper rigs are effective. For dry fly patterns, look at using large elk hair caddis or October caddis patterns (size 10-14), foam hoppers, yellow Humpy, and Stimulators. If you do find a rising fish that is continuously holding and feeding in the same spot, try small midge patterns first (size 18-20) with longer leaders (12-14ft) since most rising trout seem to have been feeding on those small bugs. If that doesn't work, then swap over the dry-dropper rig, land the flies a good distance away from the trout, and drift the flies right over top.
Productive nymphs to try out are the Soft Hackle Carrot (sizes 10-14), Frenchie (sizes 10-18), and Butano Perdigons (sizes 10-16). If you are going to suspend these beneath your dry fly, then aim to have 20-28 inches of tippet running from the dry to the nymph.
Finally, a reminder that the Spoken River event is coming up November 5th from 7:00-8:00pm and is hosted by the Spokane Riverkeepers. It is an online event that will include information on efforts to reintroduce salmon to the river, live stories about connections to the Spokane, as well as a fundraiser and auction. It is a great event to watch from your computer and provides a way to show your support for our Spokane River and to the Spokane Riverkeepers who work to protect, restore, and clean up the river as well as provide volunteer opportunities and educational resources for the community.
As always, if you are interested in booking a guided fly fishing trip with us Contact Us, or check out our Spokane River Guided Trips page for more information. We also offer Fly Fishing Instructional Lessons here in Spokane if you are interested in spending just a couple hours out on the water improving your fly fishing skills.