January 2014 has been a repeat of 2013, LOW & COLD water. We have had some OK days, but nothing epic yet. Water levels have mostly been 4.5-6.0 feet, and water temp around 40 degrees. This low water limits where you can fish on the slaw, so the run we have been hitting is Tide-Davis Chute. This is a fairly short drift, that is loaded with great water. We have been using our new Steelhead jigs with great success. With limited waters to fish, there has been plenty of pressure on the Tide run. These Steelhead have seen every drift rig and Steelhead jig. We have added new features to our Steelhead jigs(check out LC-030,WC-011,NM-001), which include the eyes and wings. Having a new presentation can really make a difference. Mixing up colors and switching up the jigs has been working for us. These fish have been pocketed together, and where you find one there will be friends. Successful Steelheading is a two pronged process. First, you must locate them. Second, figuring out how to make them bite. Often it has been one of the jigs that is not an All-Star, but one that looks different than the popular patterns. Presenting something that the fish have not seen that day. What looks fishy to us, is not always fishy to the fish. One example is; a friend catching the two biggest Steelhead of his life on a jig we named “the ugly” because it is just not that attractive. It is jig GC-022, definitely not a fishy looking jig, it just kills big fish.
I have never been a fan of “first water” or worrying about what someone else is doing. You find that this can be a problem fishing small rivers. I don’t usually give a hole more than 15-20 minutes. For example; one trip we hooked 5 fish in the 7 holes, that the guy in front of us raced to get to. He left good fishing behind him, because his focus was getting “first water”. I’m not trying to tell anyone how to drift the run, but slow down and enjoy the experience. It is funny how things work out when you are not worried about everything else going on around you. Focus on what is right in front of you. In other words, don’t be that guy, its kinda cheesy.
The water temps have been hovering around 40 degrees and we have noticed that if it hits 43-44 degrees, they are more likely to bite. Most fish have been coming after 10 am. If you can only sneak away for half a day, make it the latter half. There were a couple of days that Whittaker Creek was fishable, and we hit it. I consider this home water, and if it is at all possible that’s where I choose to be. Fishing was fair to good with the bankies and boats, with totals being 10-15 fish coming out of the water per day.
On to February, where hopefully we will have a rise in water, that will spread these fish out. If your not a jig fisherman, or think that mine are just the same old jigs – call or email me and I will send you some to try for yourself. I promise you will be hooked.