Here's a quick update to catch up on what's happening on the water (and in the shop.) September is always challenging in the shop because the “young guns” head back to school, guides are still on the water, and we have loads of administrative work (like inventory counts and booking products for next season) - which means even less time for getting to the river report. That’s just life in the fly shop!
That said, it's getting to be one of our favorite times of the year for local fishing. We love fishing in September and October and are looking forward to the next month of chasing Bow river rockets with hopper/dropper and small flies. It looks as though the weather may change substantially in the next 5-7 days but that means you just need to be more prepared when you are on the water.
Hopper dropper has been our primary approach for the past few weeks particularly with a water boatman style dropper. As always, nymphing is typically the most productive method if you are looking for numbers. (Check out this video on hopper/dropper fishing that we did with JensenFlyFishing last fall.) Keep in mind this video was shot on Oct 17 last fall so the season has some decent time left if mother nature allows it.
There's more water for this time of year than we've had in a few seasons. (A quick look at the historical data shows we are very much average now.) The fish are happy with the water levels and have been feeding well. There are some truly healthy fish being caught this past week. Watch for mid-afternoon midge and blue winged olive hatches and snouts in the bumpy riffle water (these can be hard to see). When fishing the small dries (18 or so) try a double dry rig where your first fly is a hopper or a larger caddis that you can see then tie on your small dry 18-24 inches behind that. Rio Suppleflex is good to tie on the second fly as it has more stretch than standard tippet which helps cut down on break offs.
Here is a link to an article regarding fall fishing that showed up in the Alberta Fishing Guide Magazine in 2016. Unfortunately, the images didn’t carry over when the site changed hands but the text is all there.
Flies to try:
Dries: White cloud hopper, Yeti hopper, Catch's hopper, More-Or-Less Hopper, True Golden Stone, Adams, Hi Vis BWO, Double Vision BWO, Klinkhammer BWO, Grifiths Gnat and other midge patterns. You can still try a 16-18 caddis as the fish are still happy to eat them.
Nymphs: San Juan Worms, jimmy legs, prince nymphs (14-18), dark copper johns (16-18), Tungsten Sassi Solution, jig fly pheasant tails, princes, Boatman patterns in 14 or 16 with a tungsten bead is an excellent dropper at the moment.
Streamers: Hasn’t been great of late but it should be! This is the time of year big fish eat meat but it’s just not happening on a regular basis. Maybe the change in weather will get the streamer action heated up. Patterns like a black and white clouser, skiddish smolt, or kreelex minnow, Gartside leeches, flesh eating sculpins as a single. Or you can try a boatman pattern behind the streamer! Leeches will still work as well.