Tough summer fishing wise


Active Member
I'm staying quarantined as much as possible. I have a 2mon old grandson and want to be able to visit and hold him without risk of spreading corona to him.That restricts me to one piece of water I can fish without running into anyone. The good news is I have unrestricted access. The bad is that its early morning only and not super fishy water. Most people motor through it when they float the river.
I will say this. It ups your game when you have to work for each take. I'm scratching a few out, scratching my head a lot and figuring things out. There are fish out there I just haven't cracked the code yet.
It's frustrating that I can't hit my normal goto spots up river but I think this restriction will make me a better fish catcher in the long run.


Active Member
I don't blame anyone in particular. This situation has limited my ability to fish the places that I know and have figured out, and from a fishing perspective that poses a challenge that I'm trying to make the best of.

I think that restricting the places where I can fish will actually improve my fishing long term. Sort of like a baseball player putting a doughnut ring on their bat.


East WA Native, West WA Transplant
Going along with @the_grube getting us back on track, did the “mop fly” ever make it up here? I just came back to WA after a few years fishing the Provo river exclusively in UT, and that damn thing is the fly of choice now down there whenever the normal nymph/streamer/dries aren’t producing and fishing gets tough.

Old Man

A very Old Man
WFF Supporter
how about keeping this thread on topic and talk about fishing 'tough' water, what types of tactics do you use when your old 'go to's' don't deliver?
Just asking, but if you don't have what is going around why do you still stay home? If you get out on some skinny water you don't seem to run into a lot of people. You don't have to go where there are people.


I’d have to question where you normally fish as far as where you can and cannot go. It doesn’t sound like a travel issue.
Don’t shake hands with everyone you meet or old faces you see, stay on your tailgate while the other guy/gal stays on their tailgate.
Anyways, glad your making the most of it bc when WDFW issues a blanket closure we all lose.


Active Member
@Ohamill, that's the kind of stuff I'm looking for. I'll look up the mop fly My goto's are dry stone patterns and a few different bead head nymphs. They weren't getting any takers. I surmised that the rising fish I saw were taking emergers so I switched to soft-hackles dead drifted... and started getting action. The drift had to be perfect, they weren't reacting to a swung fly like I'm used to, and the hook set was tough, missed more than I set.

@Old Man There's a lot of skinny water up hill from here. Would like to get up there some day, but I'm waiting until I get to visit with my new grandson before going out of the house. I just can't take the risk of 'bumping' into anyone. My daughter and son-in-law are being very strict about C19 stuff, and I agree with them; newborns are really at risk if they get the virus.

@bpatton I live in Douglas Co. OR and normally would be fishing the N Umpqua fly waters every chance I had right now. It's pretty easy to stay away from folks there if you ignore the 'legendary' runs, but I'm not willing to run the risk.

My daughter, son-in-law and grandson get here tomorrow and stay for a week. After that I'll break the quarentine and go chase fishies. But I still want to crack the code for the 'home water'; it's right over the bank here at my place. There's fish in there, I watch 'em rise in the mornings while having coffee before work ( I work from home). Switching from dries to soft-hackles seems to have increased the take rate... I need to build on that and find the pattern and presentation. Always something to figure out.

East Coaster

Active Member
When I hear or see something referencing early morning risers in summer, my mind jumps right to tricos. I don't know if you have them out in your area, but here on the east coast, that's the usual suspect for what you describe. They're very small, so that might be why you're not able to see what the fish are taking. Just a thought.....


Active Member
One of the challenges with this piece of the river is it's 'frogginess'. When flows are higher there are a few ripples where I can fish dries with reasonable expectation of getting a take. Right now it's more like a lake with a slow moving current. The places that I see fish rise in the morning are actually fairly shallow 1-2ft where large basalt formations come up to near the surface. That makes me think that they're keyed in on something hatching off those formations, but I can't see what it is. They might also be taking cover in the rocks and watching for stuff slowly drifting in the top layer of the water column.

Fishing is probably done in this part of the river until early fall, but next year I'm going to experiment with more mayfly patterns in July, maybe the fish are eating small bugs and getting really picky in their lanes and what they're willing to eat.


WFF Supporter
If you're seeing rises really early in the morning, it may be the fish are sipping on spinners, not emergers. PMDs are early morning hatches, but they're big enough you'd notice them. Chironomids can be early morning hatchers, too, so a midge emerger or Zebra Midge drifted through may work. I'd do some entomology forensics work to figure out what bugs you know for sure are in your back yard. Get a seine to collect nymphs and floating emergers, spinners, etc. Once you net a fish, see if you can get a stomach sample. If it's your home waters, it's really worth the effort for future success.


Living at the place of many waters
WFF Supporter
I agree with @c-dawg , it really pays off to spend time not fishing and studying the home river. I've been focusing on the three rivers near home, usually 20-40 minutes away but sometimes an hour, for three years now. I too have grandkids, just about ready for the river, 1, 3 and 7, so now and I can take them and have a much better shot at fish and keeping them interested. Every day I'm still seeing new stuff and figuring out ways to catch them. Keep notes and take pictures.

East Coaster

Active Member
You keep dropping clues, @the_grube......."Froggy", slow-moving water means the fish are able to really examine your offering. It also allows them to detect any unnatural drag. Don't know what tippet size you've been using (if you've been used to throwing dry stones and weighted nymphs, I'm guessing 5x or maybe 6x). Try going to 7x. And, you're most likely going to need a really natural drift, so you may need to temper your expectations and plan on landing the fly only a couple of feet above the rising fish. Sorry if I'm telling you things you already know, but sometimes you get used to fishing a certain way and forget stuff that might help in a completely different situation.

It may help to fish a small midge pattern (e.g., Al's Rat, maybe size 22) as a dropper (about 8 inches or so of 7x tippet off the hook bend) with a slightly larger (size 18) dry. That will help you get a drag-free drift on the smaller fly. Use the larger fly as your guide to whether you're in the right neighborhood and set if you see any rises near your larger fly. Good luck!

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