We are enjoying one of the better winters out on the Crooked for a while. We’ve been having so much fun all along the almost ten miles of easily accessed river. As long as the air temp stays mild, the water will remain hospitable from the dam to the cattle guard. The Blue-Winged Olive hatch has been sparse with all the sunny days, but with a cloudy forecast look for the bugs to intensify. Even on the sunny days, the nymphing with little midges has been super productive. And don’t forget to try swinging leeches and sculpin patterns in the slow pools.
The flows have been steady at 80cfs. In January that means the river is healthy and happy and full of bugs. If you’re out there when the hatch is skinny, try a couple midge nymphs strung close to each other a couple feet under a small bobber. This rig should be fished between rocks, through narrow slots and anywhere there’s a drop-off. Favorite flies are the black Beadwing midge #20. The Biot Midge same size and Zebra Midges in purple and black #20&22.
The whitefish spawn is long over, but on really slow days, try the little egg. Or a small black leech with a tiny olive Soft Hackle behind it fished under a bobber.
When the hatch comes off try little Purple Haze or Parachute Adams in broken water at the top of the runs. If you see a fish rising in the run, they’ll also be looking up in the riffle.
For leeches you want something with a very slow sink rate. Remember, the leech is slow moving and to imitate it your fly has to be barely moving. Most grabs are on the stall, so a couple quick twitches, then let it sit. Watch the end of the fly line for the faintest downward movement and then set the hook!