We are starting to enjoy some sunshine and warmer temperatures on the Owyhee River. Currently winter flows are 35cfs and expected to increase in April. Higher flows in April and May are very likely, due to significant snow pack accumulation. We are not sure exactly when those flows will increase but historically April 15 is when the irrigation season begins and soon after is when we see increased flows. What those levels will be is also in question but we suspect that their will be a period of time in April/May when walking and wading the Owyhee River below the dam will be unrealistic and difficult due to higher flows. It could be a great time to float down the Owyhee if flows reach levels that would allow this, I’d say 1000+cfs. Presently I have been scouting the Owyhee for signs of Skwala stoneflies. Upon throwing a nymph rig in the mid- morning hours while exploring the river bed for aquatic insects I soon discovered numerous Skwala nymphs in the shallows up and down the banks of the river. I saw enough Skwala nymphs to get excited about tying on a Skwala nymph imitation and brought some beautiful browns to the net for doing so. Right around noon I located some browns feeding on Blue Winged Olives in a couple of locations. Being pleasantly surprised with the response to the Skwala nymph pattern I decided to throw a Skwala dry fly to the rising fish. With an immediate look, a big bump and ultimately a refusal on the fly, it was evident that the fish are looking up for these bugs and that any day now we’ll begin to see Skwala flies on the surface. The Browns continued to feed on the surface but Skwalas where not on the menu. After being refused with the big bug I knew exactly what I needed to do, so I tied on an adult Blue Winged Olive dry fly pattern and BANG first cast, hooked up with a really nice Brown. From nearly right at 1pm until just after 4pm it became a Blue Winged Olive Bonanza. Frequently rising fish continued to eat our dry flies. We hooked fish on several BWO dry fly patterns. When the surface action came to a complete halt right around 4pm we were able to pick up a few more nymphing but the action really slowed down.
Here’s a few patterns to try right now when you’re out on the Owyhee River.
Skwala stone nymphs- brown, grey and olive girdle bugs and rubber legged stone patterns size 12/14 Prince nymph size 12, bead head hare’s ear size 12
Zebra Midge- in a variety of colors size 18-22 black, olive, brown and red will fish. Split-back BWO nymph size 20, pheasant tail nymph size 20, hot spot attractor nymphs size 18 red, orange and yellow hot spots are going to fish.
Skwala dries- CDC wing skwala dark body black, brown & grey size 12, bullet head skwala size 12, stimulator style skwala dark body, black and brown size 12
BWO dry flies- CDC wing size 20/22, cripple size 20, comparadun size 20/22
Midge dry flies- Griffith’s nat size 20/22, suspended midge black & white size 22/24, sparkle CDC wing size 24/26
Dry dropper combinations with Skwala dries and small nymphs will catch fish.