It's about that time of year, Putah Creek flows are on the the rise. As the flows slowly creep up to its peak 800 CFS in the summer, I tend to find less access, less anglers on the water, and more big fish to catch. This week I made a trip to check out the creek and field test a new streamer pattern that I've been working on.
Before I started fishing in the morning the flows read 245 CFS which I believe is absolutely perfect. The wading is challenging but you can still safely get around most of the creek with a wading staff. I had planned on throwing streamers all day from access one through five. Despite fighting windy gusts throughout the day, my trip was good with four solid hook-ups and two landed.
|Little Streamer Eater|
The fish tend to move around when the flows get cranked up. One thing I like about fishing the higher flows is that the fish will be more spread out throughout the creek, the problem is trying to get your flies into the areas where they are holding. I don't really like nymphing Putah's higher flows because there are a lot of factors that are added on to the already difficult wading, casting, and access. Factors like constant debris management, depth estimating so you don't snag, attempting to cast into the correct spot, and getting the perfect dead-rift becomes much more difficult as the flows go up. You will lose a lot of flies.
|Caught Some Free Flies Today|
Streamers are my go-to when the flows are above 220 CFS. You won't catch a lot of fish on streamers but you'll have good chance at hooking some of the biggest and most badass fish in the system. The hardest part about fishing a streamer pattern is covering water. The heavily overgrown foliage around the creek makes it feel almost as if you're fishing in a jungle. Getting around from one place to another is a real pain but necessary if you want to catch a Putah bow on a streamer. The creek gave me a real beating this trip.
I waded through deep sections, hiked throughout all the accesses, slipped and bruised my hands on rocks, and got cut up by thorny berry bushes. But it was worth it.
|Big Steamer Eater|
|The Higher Flows Create Some Good Spawning Habitats|
|The Very Gnarly Caterpillar|
I also ran into a lot of nice people that I ended up chatting with for a few moments during this trip. Fly fishing always attracts the nicest folks.