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Catch of the Week & Fishing Tips
Catch of the Week & Fishing Tips
Jayla Smallmouth Cheesman

Michael B. with a 26 inch 10 pound brown trout caught from 11 Mile Reservoir.

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​Fishing Tip of the Week

Fishing Crowded Waters

With the arrival of spring, you can anticipate your favorite waters to be crowded. However, following some simple rules will make sure that you get some quality time on the water. The old adage “the early bird gets the worm” can very well translate to “the early angler gets the trout.” Although we are still seeing later feeding times as we transition from winter, that doesn’t mean you can’t get an early start. Getting to the river early will not only ensure securing your favorite spot, but it will give you time to get a read on how the fish are behaving. While the initial read of the water may be easy, once the sun is peaking the glare will make it difficult, so make sure you have a good pair of polarized sunglasses. With heavy pressure comes easily spooked fish, so make sure you have a stealthy approach to the water. One way of maintaining a stealthy approach is by starting your presentation at the tail-out of the riffle and working your way upstream. You will also want to check that you have some 5x and 6x fluorocarbon tippet​. Your approach and presentation may be perfect, but if the fish can spot your line, you won’t get a bite all day. Having a variety of flies ready is also key. Heavily pressured waters tend to house some picky fish, so if your set up isn’t producing any bites, try switching patterns. Follow these rules and you will certainly better your chances on those popular stretches of water.​



Even into the month of February, you can expect to see redds along the rivers while fishing. A redd is a nest that females build for spawning. The fish will use its tail to clear away algae and create a depression in the gravel. You will most likely encounter them in shallower waters with higher flows. As long as you are cautious while moving upstream, you should be able to easily distinguish them due to their color difference. They can be anywhere from the size of a basketball to an entire shoreline. Just because you may not see any fish near the redd does not indicate that there aren’t any eggs or fry in the gravel. These redds will be active until early spring when the eggs finally hatch. If you can, try to make an effort to stay downstream of the redds because the eggs require clean water.​

Fishing Tailwaters

While some of your favorite spots may be iced over or closed, tailwaters provide the flows and warmth to keep you busy in the winter months. While the water may be slightly warmer, do not expect the trout to act any differently from their typical winter sluggish behavior. Try to fish on days with good sun exposure. The warm afternoons will provide better hatches and more actively feeding fish. The most productive hours tend to be from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Most tailwaters you will come across will have low and clear flows. Keep this in mind as you approach the water and when you are tying your tippet and flies. Try to keep your tippet to fluorocarbon either in 7x or 6x. As for your flies, stick with nymphs in the #18 to #22 range. Pheasant tails, midges, BWO’s, and egg patterns are always effective. Eleven Mile Canyon, Cheesman Canyon, and Spinney Reservoir are a couple of the spots to check out for some great tailwater fishing this winter.​