Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Nymphing Putah Creek: Make Mistakes. Learn. Win.

Access 4 Monster Bow
For those who can successfully nymph fish Putah Creek, I truly envy you. Delicate tippet and micro sized flies are still a relatively new concept to me. This trip I tried nymphing the creek to make mistakes and try and learn from them.

Fishing access at Putah Creek is kind of like playing a video game. Access that was locked at 400 CFS becomes unlocked at 250 CFS. The flows were lowered to around 247 CFS this trip which gave me access to a few new areas that I was able to explore. Bushwhacking around Putah Creek is very frustrating but it's worth it when you find a great spot.

The day was bright and the fish were down. It took quite a bit of time before I was able to hook my first fish on a nymph which was immediately lost. As a matter of fact, I lost several fish this trip. Not a big deal though, no trophies lost.

I have a hunch that the problem with my unsuccessful nymphing is due to the rod that I am using. My 9ft 6wt fast action rod has too little of a bend and too long of a length. This is resulting in too much pressure on light tippet which easily pops out the size 18-20 flies when the fish shakes. Not to mention the poor presentations.
Using delicate (5x and 6x) tippet is important because it allows the line to fit through the eyes of the tiny size #18-22 hooks, presents a light natural drift, and best matches the naturals.
Unfortunately the tip of my 3wt is broken so I won't be able to give that rod a shot any time soon but I do believe fishing a shorter and lighter action rod is the answer in successfully nymphing Putah Creek.

After getting fed up with nymphing, I tied on my sink tip line and started throwing streamers. I was experimenting with buggers this time and ran into the same problem I was experiencing when fishing my other patterns. Short strikes. Although I did manage to hook a few fish including Haley possibly, the majority of the strikes were too short; basically a nibble.

I've been researching about these "short strikes" and found that these are fish trying to either stun the streamer to eat it downstream or nip it away from its feeding zone. Considering how many smaller fish there are in the creek, I am thinking it was the latter.
I have a few tricks up my sleeve that will hopefully remedy the situation...

There was a great last light hatch of midges before I called quits. Lots and lots of 8-12'' fish eating on top. It was too late for me to switch to a mono leader but I did manage to catch one before it got too dark.

Last Light Bow

So can nymphing catch you big fish at Putah Creek? Probably... Will nymphing catch you the most fish? Most likely...
I think I'll stick to my streamers on Putah for a bit. You never know what might come out of the depths to eat it.

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