April 15, 2019 Owyhee River Dry Fly Fishing Report: 55°/Heavily overcast and rain in late afternoon/Mild breeze upriver

Posted by Nate at 12:00 AM on Monday, Apr 15th, 2019

Day 1

Happy Tax Day to Me!

I just returned from the Henry’s Fork last week and targets on big fish were hard to find. Not so on the Owyhee…

I start my morning early on a long slick right below camp. It’s dead calm and I spot a pod of fish about midway down the run. They’re plucking the early arrivals of BWOs randomly scattered on the surface. I wade the river and walk to a point below all rising fish. My tie-on bug is a #20 BWO Colored Emerger. I carefully wade in and slowly advance upward. I see rises slightly out of casting range and slow down even more. A small unwanted wake is being projected upriver from my wade cadence. I can’t stop the wake and the second a rising fish felt it, they moved upriver or quit feeding. Before reaching casting range, I’m systematically putting every fish down. I freeze in place and wait; but somehow the fish are still sensing my presence. After a long wait I get a target out on the edge of slow-moving current. I make a delivery out front of the rise and BOOM! A nice brownie eats the offering on a suction bite. I set the hook and land the first fish of the day—an 18-inch brownie.

From there I can’t get close enough to cast to a target and head back to camp for a late breakfast. After eating I’m back out on the same slick but things had changed. A brisk breeze had kicked up blowing straight upriver which cloaked the surface with choppy little wakes. Perfect! It would knock down my wade wake and help the approach. I’m walking the shoreline and spot a subtle rise out from a shallow bar of cobblestone. I approach the shoreline, hunkered down, and take a knee on the grass line along the shore. I make the first delivery without success; but on the second, a big ol-boy sucks a #22 BWO Colored Emerger off the surface. I set the hook and that initiated a 12-minute battle up and down the shoreline. Four times this fish runs over halfway across the pond then fights me every inch back. I finally net the fish and it’s a monster. He’s 22½ inches long, heavy, and came to the party to pick a fight. I release the specimen and he runs aground on the shallow cobble. I arrive and assist him back to open water.

I dry the fly and gaze across the wind-chopped surface. It’s 12:30 PM and not very many bugs or rising fish. I hunt for a short period and the only rises are way out past center stream and they’re all one-and-done. I slowly wade to casting range and an emerger rise appears 60 feet away at a downward angle. I heave a cast toward the target, the fly settles, drifts about 4 feet, and that same rise ring forms around my offering. I set the hook into another big fish and he’s a barroom brawler as well. I fight this fish for over 10 minutes and he finally succumbs to the net. It’s another 22-inch brownie even heavier than the previous fish. It was the proper way to start the afternoon with two 22 inchers on film.

I move on up the shoreline searcher fishing and hunting the rise. I’m finding the fish have no interest in the fly while it’s sitting still, but movement and a small wake is getting some interest. I’m encountering few rises, but the fish are on the hunt and every so often one of them finds my fly. Out of nowhere the rise is forming at my fly and another big brownie is finding the net. I’m encountering a few random rises and hooking most of those fish as well.

I reach a point along the shoreline with multiple large boulders and there is a small pod of fish patrolling the zone. They won’t eat the BWO pattern so I flip flies to a #22 Black Caddidge. I instantly get some love on the new fly change and deliver one of the pod dwellers to the net. These are all hard-fighting, heavy brownies with a bad attitude. I release that fish and hook the next target served. I land a fat 19 incher and after release I can’t find another target along the shoreline.

I move to another bouldery section of the run and the fish are podding up along the edges and out about 20 feet. I mow down another handful of large brownies with one in the mix reaching 20 inches in length. They’re “all in” on the Caddidge and every fish served is flat-out eating it. Finally the fighting fish tip off the rest of the pod and all fish along the edge cease to feed. I’d done some pretty serious damage to the fish population; it was 5 PM, and decided to call it quits. I walk to the top of the run and begin wading the river. About five steps in and boom! There’s a pod of fish rising in heavy riffle entering the lake. They are below me at a quarter angle and all in range.

Well I guess I’m not done. I hit the top fish with the Caddidge and without hesitation, he eats. I set the hook into another hard-fighting brownie and have to chase him down the bank to get him landed. I net a healthy 19 incher then walk back above the risers. Once in place several more targets appear and the Caddidge is unleashed again. First cast and another big head shows up to the offering. I hook and land the last fish of the day—a spunky 18 incher. I release the fish and although there were still more risers, I wade the river and head back to camp. So it was one of those days that I hooked fish slowly then there would be short spurts where I had a fish on all the time. By end of day that put a lot of fish in the net and some big ol’ boys as well. I was aided by the fact that I never lost a fish in the fight all day.

Yup, Tax Day! I got my refund!!

Note to Bill: I never found a need to tie on that Purple Searcher, but I thank you for the tip!!

Flies that Caught Fish:

#22/#20 BWO Colored Emerger
#22 Black Caddidge

© 2019 DryFlyInnovations.com All Rights Reserved. The information in this blog is provided for the sole purpose of assisting our fellow fishermen in the art of dry fly fishing. Any use of this information for commercial purposes without the expressed written consent of dryflyinnovations.com is strictly prohibited. Any violation of plagiarism or unauthorized use of the information contained in this blog will be vigorously pursued through legal action. Thank you for respecting the originality of our work.