Stream Information:

Middle Branch White Clay Creek
(Updated 2/20/18)
Trout

 Early Black Stonefly 18-20

Bead Head Stonefly, Black & Brown 14-16

Midge, Assorted   10-12

Griffith's Gnat 16-24

Killer Bug, Various 10-14

Higa's S.O.S, Black16

Pheasant Tail Nymph 16-20

Hare’s Ear Nymph 16-20

Blue Wing Olives 16-20

Streamers, Various 6-12

Attractor Patterns (Green Weenie, Glo Bug, San Juan Worm, etc), Various

 

 

Water levels in area streams are at good, typical mid-winter levels.  Water temps are now in the low 30’s and will remain there until we have some consistently warmer weather.

 

Due to the low water temperatures at this time of year, trout metabolism is low.  Although the fish will continue to feed, they will be much less aggressive and will generally not move far to take a fly.  The most consistently effective tactic will be to dead-drift nymphs or attractor patterns right on the bottom through the best holding water.

 

We are now eagerly awaiting the appearance of the winter stoneflies.  Tiny Winter Black stoneflies are the first to become active, and may be seen climbing over streamside rocks.  The females are wingless, so very few of these insects make it onto the water and opportunities for dry fly fishing to this hatch are rare.  Best approach is to concentrate on dark nymphs, sizes 18 to 20, fished dead drift on the bottom. 

 

Typically in mid to late-February the larger Early Black and Early Brown stonefly hatches will begin.  These are bigger flies, generally sizes 14 to 16.  The adults do get onto the water in numbers and can often be seen skittering over the surface.  Nymph patterns can be used anytime, adults when surface activity is evident.   

 

Remember that all the nymphs for the spring hatches are in the stream now and, although they have yet to reach their full size, they are now large enough to be of interest to the trout.  Generic nymph patterns such as Hare’s Ears and Pheasant Tails will produce well, and Olive nymphs are always a best-bet on Ridley.  Sizes 16 and smaller will be most productive. 

 

Attractor patterns should not be overlooked.  Even hold-over trout are often receptive to Green Weenies, Honey Bugs, San Juan Worms, etc.

 

Midges are a very important forage item the year around for trout in our local streams.  Larva patterns such as the Zebra Midge are always a good choice and will work almost any time.

 

A midge hatch is possible on any relatively warm winter afternoon.  Fish pupa or adult patterns in sizes 20 and smaller on a long 7X tippet.  Best results come with casts that are accurate and timed to the target trout’s feeding rhythm.