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Sunday, April 4, 2010

April/May Prognosis for the Middle Fork Feather River

The fishing forecast for the MFFR depends on a number of factors, runoff, rain, snow, and water temps. Let's start out with the runoff of snow. There is a good snow pack in the Lakes Basin, and Jamison creek watersheds. In fact there is another month at least of good spring skiing. If the melt off is gradual fishing will be good well into July. If we get some warm rain storms and it all goes at once it will definitely have an impact on the whole season. The river this year has not been too high due to the very cold temps we have had. This is a good thing as there will be very little flushing that can effect aquatic bugs.

Water temps is the determining factor for the MFFR, right now they are at 43-45 degrees - not good fishing for these rainbows and browns. Good fishing starts at about 55 degrees to 65 degrees. The native fish here have adapted to warmer temps then most trout in other rivers. Why may you ask? They have to in order to survive and reproduce offspring. When water temps are cold, fish will be in the slower deeper stretches of the river, and if some early hatches come out they may be found in skinny water that is heated quickly by the sun. Come summer time the trout will be found tight to the heads of riffles, runs, and pools where the well oxygenated water is found. I have caught trout in 70 degree water in such places during the dog days of summer. Yep, they are well adapted to this river.

Strategies for April/May would be to czech nymph or high stick the deeper runs, side sloughs, and eddies. Productive flies will be Burk's Bottom Rollers in burnt orange, and olive size 8-12, Golden Stones size 6-10, Bead head pheasant tails size 10-14, and Caddis Pupa in olive size 10-16. You may be able to find some rising trout during the warmest period of the day, hatches will include the Blue Wing Olive, Gray Drake, Golden Stones, and a few caddis thrown in. I think fishing will be good for these months but keep in mind that June, July, September, and October are the banner months for flinging a fly on the MFFR.

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