18 foot spey rod DV8
Join Date: Dec 2019
Location: Pretty Cdn salar rivers
If they can’t see it, they can’t eat it......I would use Flamethrower (a blende of orange, red, and yellow) colour patterns on a size #1 iron or a plastic tube fly with a free swinging circle hook. Spring rains and melting snow will create high muddy murky water conditions so a large bright fly will work.
My favourite pattern is a five inch long faded soft pink rhea tube fly for 6 inch visibility conditions.
WARNING: this is small mouth bass candy so don’t substitute with expensive hackle as only Rhea can take the abuse. As they say, size matters and this fly that I tie up to 7 inches and call the Pink Dildo, will be “emasculated” with finer hackle.
I also use the same size tubes, 1 to 3 inches in plastic, but also aluminium, copper, brass, or tungsten, tied with black or purple rhea for high water with low vis conditions for working the river banks.The strong high water currents will have pushed Steelies and Atlantics within 3 to 6 feet of the banks. These dark flies offer a silhouette against the surface which Steelies can see. The unweighted plastic tubes are fished on a short 7 foot leader to allow accurate casts and avoid shoreline branches. You can use a weighted head to get her down but I don’t recommend dredging with these flies unless you are working a clean bottom, as you will be frequently snagged along these flooded banks. Use short abbreviated swings if you are casting over midstream high heavy muddy currents as the steelies won’t follow the fly into this water. If there are some midstream lies that look fishy in this water, elevate your rod tip to hold your line above the roily surface currents to control your fly. Use short accurate casts to hover and flutter your fly down stream, in front, alongside, and esp. the eddies below the boulders in rock gardens.
These flies work best swimming lively, 6 to 20 inches under the surface, while making short accurate casts to likely looking bank side lies. While working along the bank you are standing on, avoid wading which will only make the downstream lies muddier. Cast short 30 degree roll casts down stream and swim your fly leading it with your rod tip into the bank side lies. Hover the fly on the dangle for 5 to 10 seconds over these lies. Try to lead your fly under overhanging branches, twitch it, and lead it back out away from the bank and then back towards the bank again. A long forgotten presentation is to simulate a “Restigouche Patent Cast” by releasing loops of line above a lie to let the fly tumble and flutter downstream on a controlled slack line, slipping through your fingers, for two to 15 feet downstream to cover the lie. This is like nymphing and your have to watch and feel your line for a strike or a flash from a taking salmon or steelhead.
These are very challenging conditions but more pleasant than what we’ve just endured with winter steelheading. Most anglers, esp. “baggers” will wait for the water to clear before venturing out so you will likely have your favourite river to yourself which is a pleasant rarety in spring fishing. You won’t catch many but for some reason some of my biggest Steelies and Atlantics have been caught under these conditions.
Last edited by Jim Elie; 03-21-2020 at 07:04 PM.