The new season, though not yet fully sprung, is actively springing. Crocuses and Daffodils are blooming, buds are on the branches, stream-side willows are in fuzz, and of course, the March Brown hatch is in full swing.
Previous to the March Brown hatch, local dry fly opportunities, though not entirely absent, are fairly meager. This is the first hatch of the year to bring the really big rainbows to the surface on a consistent basis. On warm, overcast and drizzly afternoons, the March Brown hatch can be a dry fly bonanza that will last for an hour or two, but when the skies are clear and the winds blustery, the hatch is often very sparse.
Yesterday I guided a single angler on the lower river, and though atmospheric conditions didn’t line up for a good mayfly hatch, the trout were still in a cooperative mood. They just wanted something a bit deeper in the water column. Our most productive flies, and I know this will come as a shock to many of you, were the Possie Bugger and Mega Prince. We were using a right-angle nymph rig with the terminal end about 6-7 feet beneath the thingamabobber, and just a single split shot to help the flies get down.
It looks like this coming week will be a good one for dry fly fishing opportunities; there are a lot of clouds and showers in the forecast, yet the Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service doesn’t foretell a big spike in flows, so hopefully the river will stay clear and fishable.
The nymphing before the hatch can be very good this time of year. Just before and during the beginning of the hatch swung wet flies are often the most productive way to go, doing a great job of imitating the March Brown emergers as they swim toward the surface. As the fish start to rise, it is time to move to various floating imitations.
It is time to get out and enjoy the some of the best fishing for wild trout of the year on the lower McKenzie, and for those of you interested in a guided trip, don’t forget about our Spring special on half day trips.