So, let’s jump into what is happening on the Metolius, and what you should expect this 12th month of 2021.
With the weather change, I sincerely believe we will see better mayfly hatches in the afternoon. Look for Blue Wing Olives #20-22 sometime between noon and 2. You may very well see some yellow Cinygmula mayflies #16-18 mixed in with the afternoon emergence of the olives.
October Caddis and their smaller cousin the Silver Stripe Sedge will be important all of December and throughout the winter into about May. If you tie, be sure to tie orange pupa patterns both with heavy tungsten beads and lighter beads (or no beads) to fish when the late afternoon emergence is likely to occur.
There is a mix of small stoneflies, both what look like late Olive Stones we see so prolifically in the fall and some early black stones that really get going on snowy days in January and February. A no hackle elk hair caddis or CDC or Hemingway caddis can be great to match these in #16-18. A Float & Fool is also a neat fly for searching the surface when small stones are out and about.
On any given day on the Metolius, no matter the season I hope, if not expect to see some fish rise. So that opener where I talked about Tina and I not seeing it “happen” was not only a bummer, it was surprise.
What we should have done is brought more gear. We should have brought nymphing rigs, or Bull Trout gear. But we were so hopeful for the hatch, and both of getting over bad colds, we just had the energy for the 4 weight and the dry fly cast. Next time!
Nymph fishing opportunities are abundant each and every day on the Met. Flies that always seem to produce include Golden Stones #6-12, Red Copper John #12-20, CDC Guide Hares Ear #16-18, Blue Perdigon #16, Two Bit Hooker #16-18, Micro Mayfly #18, Green, Red, Orange Perdigons #12-18, October Caddis #6-12, Eggs #14-18 and Tan Caddis Pupa #12-16.
Some of the nymphing is going to be best on a tight line/euro nymph technique, and in some areas setting up with an indicator is still very cool. While we love euro nymphing at FFP, never forget how important the indicator can be.
Bull Trout fishing is good in December and January. The colder the days get, I would give an overly general piece of advice and say that a nymph under an indicator is likely more of a Bull Trout getter than a streamer. Nymph of choice? A Red Chironomid with a White Bead is hard to beat. I have no idea why, but it works.
Streamer fishing currently is very much advised. Big stuff. Nasty all black conehead streamers or black/blue/purple have been great. White is always a color to take for a swim when the Bulls are hungry. Bring your 8 weight.
ANOTHER REMINDER THAT THE METOLIUS IS CLOSED FROM ALLINGHAM BRIDGE TO THE HEADWATERS UNTIL MAY 22nd. Don’t be fishing closed water and if you see someone fishing closed water, kindly remind them it is closed to protect spawning grounds. It takes a village to protect spawning areas. It shouldn’t, but it does.