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I've Lost My Bow Mojo...


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Not that I had much to begin with, but there was a time when I could consistently catch fish on the Bow, but suddenly, my nymphing techniques have left me frustrated and often skunked. Lately I've been a lot more opportunistic on the Bow, hitting it an hour or two before sunset in the summer, but my spring and fall nymphing days have resulted in 4 fish... all year!

 

I'm not sure what I'm missing. When I don't hook into anything I move up or downstream, and when that doesn't work, I change flies. I cast upstream, mend, mend, and always strip in slack line. My indicator is quite sensitive, so I strike often. All this should work, but for some reason it hasn't.

 

Has anyone else gone through a dry spell like this before? How did you break out of your slump?

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I have had bad spells like that on the Bow many times over the years. Nymphing this river I find to be quite difficult. When you get in a bad stretch, I find you just have to bear with it, an stick it out. In the long run, You will catch fish on nymphs again. I also find that the summer season is far more productive for nymphing, than Spring or fall. It has to do with water temperatures. I do much better at this time of year with streamers. Nymphing: It is usually a tough go.

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I'm in that same slump right now (actually, I go through the slump most winters). You just gotta keep plugging at it. If you're nymphing, go really small with your patterns, or throw on something totally unpredictable (you'd be shocked at how stonefly nymphs can work in the winter). The mojo starts coming back in the spring once the rainbows start putting on the pre-spawn feedbags.

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try new zones... If you're not finding fish, it's more likely due to location then technique this time of year.. get those elbows high and dont be afraid of a little hip check action to get into the 'good' zones

I'm too cheap to get bibs, I switched to pant waders a few years ago and haven't looked back. Only time I think I'd use bibs is in the winter.

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Bcube got it right. Take this with a grain of salt as Before this season, I had only read a lot on winter fishing.

I see tons of guys fishing summer water. I believe that Fish are in wintering holes- Deep, slow runs that don't ice over. They are hard to nymph because the current is so slow and the takes are so soft. It's in and out of the fishes mouth before the current get a chance to push the indicator under.

 

Also, fish are less likely to move out of their lane to take flies, so the indicator doesn't drop when they move back to their lie.

I'd think that smaller, lighter rigs would be more successful. Also suspending the flies off bottom a bit more so there is less slack in the system to help you detect subtle takes.

With all the midges rising through the water column, makes me wonder if some fish might be suspended.

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Lots of good suggestions here - I will offer one more.

Do you ever try tight-line nymphing/ nymphing without an indicator? Sometimes a bugger/nymph combo or just straight nymphs dead drifted works wonders in the winter when you maintain that slight contact with the fly so you can feel the take instead of just watching an indicator which might not be responding. Keep the casts shorter too. my experience is that it can sometimes help as well if there is a bit of splitshot or a tungsten bead fly as your dropper to maintain feel and keep the line taught.

 

All that said, might just be a dreaded bow slump and you are doing everything right! It happens.

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I'm too cheap to get bibs, I switched to pant waders a few years ago and haven't looked back. Only time I think I'd use bibs is in the winter.

Think you misunderstood me, was more of a reference to the fact that where the 'good' winter runs are, most guys tend to start growing roots and never move.

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I've done ok recently by using a small swivel as sort of a tippet ring. Heavier line to the swivel (maybe 4-6 ft.), then light, thin fluoro from there to the flies. Seems to help keep tension on the indicator while letting your flies get down faster. Sort of an in-between between tight lining and regular indicator fishing.

 

I also got my biggest rainbow yet on a clouser streamer today. Maybe not huge for the Bow, but good for me (20" or so). So, try lots of things. Sooner or later it'll go your way, and if not you can always consider lying :-D

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Not that I had much to begin with, but there was a time when I could consistently catch fish on the Bow, but suddenly, my nymphing techniques have left me frustrated and often skunked. Lately I've been a lot more opportunistic on the Bow, hitting it an hour or two before sunset in the summer, but my spring and fall nymphing days have resulted in 4 fish... all year!

 

I'm not sure what I'm missing. When I don't hook into anything I move up or downstream, and when that doesn't work, I change flies. I cast upstream, mend, mend, and always strip in slack line. My indicator is quite sensitive, so I strike often. All this should work, but for some reason it hasn't.

 

Has anyone else gone through a dry spell like this before? How did you break out of your slump?

 

I can commiserate. I am on a 5 time skunking---the worst I've ever experienced. I know the fish will start moving into more 'trouty' water starting now until the first week of April when all the breeders start moving.

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experiencing similar but got into a pod of whitefish on my last outing (no trout in the mix).

 

Very different water to where i've caught fish during the warmer months.

 

Anything under thigh deep was devoid of life, even though it was perfect looking "trouty" water.

 

It had to be at least waist deep, slow, but most importantly had to have some character. In this case a seam and slight ripple change,

or at least something to concentrate the food.

 

I fished further downstream where is was still deep and slow, but lacking that defined character and nothing.

 

still learning these winter holes myself

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Well, today was a bit of a slump buster day for me. I was out for a few hours checking out a few different stretches of water. The second stretch of water was productive, as I landed 2, but hooked into a bunch more. I tried high sticking for a while, mainly because one of my hands was frozen and was warming it up with a hand warmer. I had a similar setup, 2 nymphs and a SJW on the bottom, but I guess shortening up the line got rid of some bad habits I must have acquired over time. Hopefully I'm getting my mojo back!

 

Thanks everyone for the suggestions!

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My slump was busted today as well!!! First, I caught a 25cm whitefish. I was certain I had hooked a nice mid-sized brown. Whitefish do not get enough respect. They can fight like demons. But in regards to ending the worst slump I have yet endured on the Bow River, 25cm whitefish, you da real mvp.

 

I then caught a fat 48-47 cm rainbow hen. She jumped 3 times and she was heavy, but MVP whitefish gave a far more dedicated fight.

 

My 2 points of evidence agress with SeanD---at least waist deep, slower, but just fast enough to have some character. These lies can be difficult to access on foot.

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The slump continued for me on the weekend. I was dragging a few streamers around on Saturday afternoon. I had the dog out with me, so that probably didn't help.

 

We had a tricky run that we had to cross. The run ran into a side channel with a larger lagoon at the top. Going around would have taken 5 minutes, and who has time for that? It was about thigh deep and moving pretty good. I put my head down and forced my way across. The big black Newfie didn't make it and got flushed downstream a few yards. He HATES swimming, so he looked right choked at me. He got to shore and ran around the lagoon to meet me on the far side.

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Other than the obvious big deep runs, the other spots need a bit of an eye...finding the runs within the runs. The water definitely has a look to it. 4 feet plus, a bit of chop and slightly slower than a walking pace. There were a couple spots where you had to get it just into these specific seams to find fish. I got lucky the first fish and that opened my eyes and ended up contributing to my success, as I was blanked up to that point.

landed about 8 yesterday above the Mackenzie golf course. Nicest one being a a 14" Brown, 16" white and a 18-20" bow right at the end of the day.

Quite a few risers around 2 then it died off.

Nice to start the day by having a drift boat pass you, fish your hole and then row straight through it to land a fish on your side. Tried not to let it bother me but a dick move nonetheless.

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