It’s starting to feel a lot like Christmas here in the shop. We have our tree and decorations up and people are in and out, lots of them with fish stories to share. 

The clinch is giving up some very favorable wading flows this week. The story is usual, small and light does the trick. These fish are eating a lot of scuds and small midges. Through the winter, small midge hatches in the afternoon can be the saving grace and get the picky tailwater fish eating. If the normal indicator rig isn’t working, try fishing some of the flatter water with a small dry dropper rig. One of the things I will do is pick a section where I see fish in some slick water and fish a small palomino midge or WD40 under a small elk hair caddis. This ultralight rig doesn’t spook fish and can fool some of those big fish holding in slower pools. When the water is up, larger pheasant tails with tungsten beads to get them down will work, and scuds continue to produce. Make sure you are fishing deep enough. 

The small streams are starting to see some cold temps and thus some lethargic fish, particularly early in the morning. In the coldest months of the year, I like to take the time to have a proper Cracker Barrel breakfast before hitting the small streams. Give the sun time to warm the water a bit and stroll to the river in the early afternoon to start fishing. Deep nymph rigs will be the ticket to finding fish many days.