|Photo by Jon Kleis|
Good winter patterns are: Kleis's Mid-Drift Midge size 22, gray RS-2s size 22-24, Dorsey's Top Secret midge size 22-24, Black Beauties size 22-26, Parachute Adams size 24-26, Apricot Glow Bugs size 16, San Juan worms size 16, and for some tailwaters, Mysis Shrimp patterns like Sand's Epoxy Mysis size's 16-18.
|Kleis's Mid-Drift Midge in Olive|
Tailwaters also provide great fishing opportunities in the summer months, and in states that normally would'nt have water cold enough to hold trout. During the summer, water at the bottom of these reservoirs stays cooler because of the lack of exposure to sunlight. Rest assured, if there is a bottom-release reservoir -even in states as hot as Texas- the odds are good that at least part of the year the river below holds trout.
As far as insects go, the bugs that can be found are as diverse as the types of tailwaters they live in. Even during winter there are more than just midges and baetis available. There are also stonefly nymphs, caddis larvae, annelids, crane fly larvae, leeches, and terrestrials such as scuds and crawfish. Baetis, midges, and small stoneflies are typically the only two insects that are comfortable hatching in temps associated with winter fishing, so that is what the trout focus on. Stonefly nymphs don't go through an emergence stage like a mayfly nymph, so unless there are a ton of stonefly nymphs on the move, trout might not be conditioned to seeing and eating them. Trout have to see the bug in order to eat the bug. Try using a small stonefly pattern as your lead fly on a 2 fly nymph rig, but if you see it spooking trout, or that it's not producing, switch to 22's-26's.
|Stonefly found during winter photo by Jon Kleis|
In the spring fish are looking up for caddis and baetis that are either emerging, or resting on the surface as adults. Fish also move into shallower and faster feeding lanes as a result of run-off, and the rainbow/cutthroat spawn.
Starting in late-spring/early-summer a good all around PMD nymph imitation to use is the Pheasant Tail nymph. A good way to fish when trout aren't actively feeding on the surface is to use a tandem nymph rig under a strike indicator. I like to use a Pheasant Tail as my first fly, and with 5x tippet tie about a 15 inch section of leader material from the bend of the Pheasant Tail hook to a size 22 or smaller gray RS-2. Roughly 8-10 inches in front of the Pheasant Tail clamp a #1 or #4 split shot to help your flies get down.