Statistically as well as personally January and February are the BEST months to fish the Reef for the biggest fish and best numbers. The beast’s of this river have wrapped up their spawn for the year. They are HUNGRY! They have been shoulder to shoulder with many of their kind the past two months, but now that love isn’t in the air, they can rest in numbers. Throughout most of the year these giant Brown Trout typically isolate themselves in deep water where they can rest as well as ambush prey or in areas with exceptional cover (typically deep water because when big current hits structure the riverbed or bank gets cuts deeper than places without structure) as well as being very territorial. Not now! Plus, the river is at 500 CFS instead of 3,000 CFS. Have you ever heard the phrase “fish in a barrel?” It seems like that’s the way it is for our guys year round but that’s because of a different reason. They are out there year round training and studying so when they take you it’s more like catching than fishing. They know where to be and what to use because they were on it yesterday, recently at the latest. But, this particular time of year it is fish in a barrel and I’ll add to that in a minute.This time of year we find large numbers of these fish stacked together at the tailouts of runs where food gets brought to them, or in long slow froggy stretches that’s loaded with bait fish that they can help themselves to without having to expend much energy. It’s EXTREMELY rare for our boats to not hook a big Brown or ten this time of year. Streamer junkies paradise! I don’t think you can beat this river this time of year for it’s Streamer Fishing. It’s a perfect storm. Ok, back to fish in a barrel as I promised a minute ago. It’s not just Brownie this time of year. In fact Browns are our least abundant trout species in this river. Rainbows, Cuttbows, and Cutties are on the move! They are Salmonids that have the urge to return to where they were conceived/ spawned. I sometimes wonder though because we do have a lot of stocked fish anymore and they run up river just as natives do so, if that’s true, those fish would be catching an Uber to the hatchery. Okay not so funny I get it. Anyway, those bow species start spawning here late February early March. It has gotten earlier and earlier and despite what the Wyoming Game and Fish says, they are paired up on clean, tan, redds, out in front of my house that time of year and have been for the last decade. Anyway, there is a massive push of Bows and their Kin to the upper 9 miles of our river, that is already filled with all the Browns I just mentioned. We have around 80 river miles of excellent trout fishery that’s loaded with fish. they all make their way upriver to spawn. Not every one obviously, but you get the idea. So, when I mentioned fish in a barrel I meant we have more massive Rainbows, Browns, Cuttbows, and Cutthroat in this upper nine miles than you can imagine. Pre-spawn Bows eating as much as they can to get ready for their spawn, Post spawn Browns stacked up eating as much as they can to replenish themselves from the spawn, in only 500 CFS, equals the perfect storm. Which is taking place right here, right now, in our backyard. If you want to go fish with Guides that have been on it studying it for the past couple months and have been doing so this time of year for over 20 years, give us a shout. We’ve also had the river entirely to ourselves. The conditions are great! The river is wide open and fishing as well as it can. Whether you want to nymph or throw streamers, or even have the chance at some awesome afternoon/evening dry fly fishing with midges, you can’t beat it. The guys are having a blast, but I guarantee you they would have way more fun taking you and watching you get worn out and sore. I promise you won’t regret it.
I hope you all are well and had a wonderful Christmas celebration! We’re looking forward to seeing you, sooner if not later. Take care and may God bless you all.