“Testing The Waters” ....A Trip to Granby Ranch
There is still time for late season Freestones!
As winter has finally decided to show up on our home waters you might be thinking it’s time to break out the midge box, 6x tippet and head to your favorite tail water. While the window for freestones might be closing quickly there is still time to sneak in a trip or two. This past weekend I had the opportunity to take advantage of the benefits to working at Trouts and spend a day fishing the Fraser River on Granby Ranch. If you haven’t had the opportunity to fish with us there I suggest planning the trip. This section of the Fraser is one of the prettiest stretches of water I have fished in quite some time. Given the fact that the weather forecast called for snow we were a little skeptical as to how the little freestone would respond. Looking back on the day I think there were three key factors that played a role in our winter freestone success.
Window of Opportunity- When I speak of the window of opportunity I am referring to the weather patterns a few days previous to when you will be on the water and the timeframe of the day when the fish will be the most active. As I had mentioned the forecast called for snow and while the cold temps of that day had an impact it was the previous few days of weather that played a bigger role. The three days prior were all sunny with highs reaching the upper 50’s. This was a factor because it cleared ice off of the majority of the river. The next factor is going to be the time when you are on the water. With the cold overnight temperatures and the short days the ideal time to be on the water will be from 10 AM - 3 PM. During this time the water will reach the highest temps of the day getting bugs and fish moving around.
Locating Fish- While I generally preach covering water on freestones to have the most success that isn’t the case during the cooler months. While you may still find a few sporadic fish in pocket water the majority of the fish are going to move and hold in deeper runs. Focus your attention on runs that have a consistent walking speed current with depth. Work these deeper runs thoroughly and if you find a fish or two chances are you will get into a handful more.
Time to Beef Up- Fish feeding habits this time of the year will resemble my feeding habits on Thanksgiving day. During that 10-3 window picture them wanting to pack on as many calories as possible then spend the remainder of the day watching football from the la z boy. While fish will gorge themselves on midges this time of the year, they won’t move very far in order to eat a size 20-22 midge. Take advantage of this by throwing bigger stuff. While this might not be the best strategy for winter tailwater fishing. We had the most success this weekend on Stoneflies and Streamers.