It's getting to be late in February. Folks are starting to get the shack nasties and just have to get out on the water. The spring creeks in Paradise Valley are always a good bet. So, we're starting our fishing reports for the 2016 season with them. Our recent weather has certainly been conducive to wetting a line. Mixed clouds and middle 40s to even 50 degrees, it's not like we have been dealing with much ice in the rod guides. Will winter return? Likely. And when we least want it, but return it will. We need it. In the meantime, give the good folks at one of the spring creeks a call and make it a day!
What you can expect: There are rising numbers of fish coming into the creek weekly and will do so for the next month to two as the annual spring rainbow spawning time is upon us. A minute here to talk about procreating fish and "the next generation". We as anglers have a responsibility to do as much as we can to ensure that these rainbows succeed in their spawn. As much, let's consider staying off the redds (quit tromping through their bedroom!) and leaving those highly exposed and easy to catch fish alone. Sure, you can rack up the numbers. But you'll do better to the the fish "rack up the numbers" and spawn their thousands of eggs so that we can continue to have healthy numbers of rainbows continuing to return each year. Instead of fishing the fish that are on the redds, try instead to fish to the non-spawning fish that are in other areas of the creek. There are still plenty of fish: rainbows, browns, and cutthroat in the spring creeks that are feeding on the numerous aquatic insects. Targeting fish away from the redds just makes good sense- and it's a bit more challenging. Let the spawners spawn.... Back to what you can expect to see-- as I was saying, you may expect to see midges on the creeks first and foremost with this hatch becoming increasingly prolific as warmer weather comes. Also for hatches, the spring blue wing olives should start showing. Not a sunny and bright day kind of hatch, the baetis, Blue Wings, or olives depending upon what you want to call them, these mayflies are dark and stormy sorta creatures. They prefer the days with that dull sullen going to storm feel. Expect to see them mid afternoons on days that have the weather described. The hatch may be sparse and erratic early on in the coming weeks, but if we can get the consistency of overcast days, the hatch should intensify. Those searching for dry fly fishing are going to depend upon these two important hatches here on the creeks for a while. No bugs? Always present, may be time to try small(ish) scuds and sowbugs, midge pupa, baetis nymphs and emergers, very thin and small san juan worms, and even small leaches and other streamers.
Best of luck out there. Remember our quest to stay off the spawners and target the fish in other areas of the creeks. Be courteous to other spring creek anglers as well. The old adage of "treat others the way you yourself would like to be treated" goes a long ways to making friends instead of enemies on the creeks as well as anywhere else you may fish!