Saturday, January 5, 2013

Hold Overs

This time of year if you're fishing a delayed harvest stream you're mostly fishing for hold overs. Fish that have survived an onslaught of fishing pressure. Many of the fish have been caught at least once and they've seen plenty of flies. They get to where they only feed when there is a natural hatch going on or they just can't stand it anymore and have to eat. The weather conditions and pressure cause the fish to move around the river finding different lies. The fishing is harder and the fish aren't as easy to spot. They learn to hide in the faster current and blend in with the bottom. Over the years I have learned tips for fishing these conditions.  

Skip the shallow water and sandy bottoms. Fish have learned most of the food comes from rocky bottoms and sandy shallow water does not provide much cover. Pools usually 2-3ft deep right after large rocks are prime spots. Fish usually hide right under the main run of water that falls into the pool. 

When the water is really cold. High 30's, Low 40's.  Fish won't move much. They want the fly right in front of their face and near the bottom. Good luck getting a fish to move much or come up near the surface unless there's a bunch of stuff hatching. 

A snag is a fish. Because the fish aren't moving much their hits are subtle. The only sign a fish is hooked is a silver flash in the water or a throbbing bend in the rod.  Fish won't fight long. A minute max. I think the fish know there isn't a ton of food to make up for the lost energy. They give up quick.

I have probably tied 30-40 flies recently. All of them nymphs. They are in various colors, natural, pink, red, black and green. I tried quite a few today and the only one that worked was a fly I bought.  It was a bead head pheasant tail gold ribbed hares ear. I'm wondering if fish only hit other colors when the water is warm. In the 55 degree and above range. It seems anything colder than 50 degrees makes the fish prefer more natural colors. Brown and black. This theory would be good if the fish didn't hit Y2K's. Which are basically pink and yellow egg patterns. I tried some egg patterns today. I got fish to turn and even swipe at my fly but nothing would eat it. I'll need to experiment more. It was nice to get out and enjoy the day. I got my first fish of the year. A purdy bow.


  1. I call all my ex-wives holdovers...but we'll save that for another time! That's a nice looking trout you've got there.

  2. Look at that gill plate.