First rule to warm water fishing: Set the hook on everything!
Trout do not strike aggressively. They nibble delicately. An Angler has to be exceptionally attentive to the subtle nuances of the indicator. Basically, if the indicator moves or stutters even for a split second, the hook has to be set. Remember that a trout knows that what it has in its mouth isn’t the real thing long before the angler sees the strike. It’s imperative that the angler be on top of the game and set the hook on any movement of the indicator. There is a lot of grass floating and growing in the Bighorn River right now. So even if the movement on the indicator isn’t a fish; the aggressive strikes will clean off the flies and the recast will put the flies back in the water.
Second rule to warm water fishing: Mending is the key!
The fish are not hanging in the heavy riffles, which an angler would expect during warm water fishing conditions. They have retreated to deeper water and heavy seam lines. The nymph drifts are hard to get, but will pay off if the drift is managed correctly. An angler has to mend. Mending is the act of flipping the fly line from side-to-side eliminating drag on the indicator. If the belly of line created by the current acts like a parachute and drags the indicator, an angler has to flip the belly of line to the other side of the indicator.
Third rule to warm water fishing: Fish deep water!
Fish are looking for cold water. The cold water is in the deep holes. The off color water has created a UV block on the deep water. To be the most successful; fish deep swirly water or heavy post ledge water. Anglers traditionally like to fish the riffle water and the ledge that falls below it, thinking they will get a strike as soon as the flies drop off the ledge. Not true right now. Run the same fishing line over the ledge but let the flies keep drifting well below into the deep water and fish it to the end of the deep pool.
The Bighorn River is not it’s usual self. The water is off color and warm, but there are still fish to be caught. It simply takes a little more savvy to get it done.
Happy Fall fishing from Forrester’s Bighorn River Resort!