The McCloud has gone through some changes the last couple weeks. Word got out, that she was fishing well and the McCloud became the McCrowd. There was a day when over 25 people came in and out of the Preserve on the same day. It became difficult to find spots not hit by anglers moments before. Our tactics had to get fine tuned. I can’t tell all our readers what to do on days / weeks like this because I make a living selling this information to my clients that hire us. I will tell you that it is best to be observant and see how other anglers are fishing and to do something different.
We’ve been seeing fewer hatches than normal and it seems that the bugs took a hit during the devastating flows this winter. Dry fly fisherman will do better near creek mouths and tributaries as there is obviously more bugs in those areas. If catching fish on dries is your jam than its best to not wait for a hatch but to cover the water and look for the grabbers. Many drifts will be ignored but your fly will get eaten plenty if you give it a chance.
The water has warmed enough to enjoy wet-wading and with the warmer temps more and more fish are caught at the end of the drift when the fly swings or skates. The old time guides who teach setting the hook at the end of every drift are actually catching fish that way, though I still think its silly. There is something to learn from the tactic, however much blind luck is involved. If the dead drift isn’t working why use it at all? By now nearly every fish knows what a mended line splashing the water means, or a bright color bobber floating over their head, or a bright bead on the fly they were thinking of eating. The fish have gotten smarter. This is when we shine as guides.