Wednesday, April 4, 2012
MFFR Opener 4/7/12
This coming Saturday the wild & scenic Middle Fork Feather River opens from the A-23 Bridge 4 miles east of Portola down to the Mohawk bridge downstream of Graeagle. Though fishing will not be red hot, it does give anglers a chance to get out and fish some moving water. The trout of the MFFR do not respond well to flies as other rivers do when water temps are 40-50 degrees (think Truckee River). But this time of year is when I do catch bigger fish who are on the move.
For some reason I also catch more brown trout at this time of year, especially close to the town of Portola. Tactics for early spring is deep nymphing with something big and plenty of split shot on your leader to get down. You're going to want to use heavier tippet than normal. The flows are high and water clarity off color as well, 3x (rope) will do just fine.
The Golden Stone rubber leg is a great searching fly, the nymphs are always present in the system and the trout are accustomed to seeing them on a regular basis. High sticking/short line nymphing with or without an indicator will produce results. Depending on the weather there may be some light hatches of March Browns and the Gray Drake. Dark pheasant tail nymphs in a size 10 for the drake, and size 14 for the March browns may work if water temps cooperate. If you do see rising trout for these hatches consider yourself lucky, this does not happen to often in the early season on the MFFR.
My favorite thing to do in early spring on the MFFR is to swing streamers with a sinking line. For deep water a express sink tip is preferred, and in shallow water a clear camo Intermediate line will do well. Minnow patterns 2-4inch long are best but a bead head black wooley bugger has been effective as well. After your swing is complete in your target area strip the fly back aggressively, this is when I get the most hook ups. What ever game you decide to play look for trout to be in the tail outs of runs and don't forget about back eddies and sloughs. All these water types have warmer water and less flow, the trout do not have to work so hard for their preferred meal.
If you plan on going I wish you the best of luck, and be sure to leave a few for me!