FISHING SKINNY WATER AT CROWEY

by Ernie Gulley Fly Fishing
in Blog
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Fishing in skinny water at Crowley has been on most occasions, nothing short of spectacular.   I have focussed my last 10 to 15 guided trips in shallow, clear and very technical waters.   I have been fishing early in the mornings under low light and low pressure in 5 to 6 feet of water.   Its so clear, you can read the weight of my anchor which is 22lbs.  In shallow water you need all of the help you can get.  Being very quite, less movement and above all else, low light and some wind on the water will trigger these fish to come alive.   The other important component, that is a monster factor, is tippet size.  

I have been fishing 5x tippet, yes 5x tippet to these fish in this clear water and I have not been losing any fish.   Why?  Because Cortland has come up with a phenominal new tippet called "Top Secret" and it performs with the strength of 4X or better.   Its thin, its supple and its very hard to break.  Its by far my favorite new tippet material and I think it will be yours also when you try it!

 

McGee Bay has been the place for me for my last 15 or so guided trips and afternoon fishing trips.   In most circumstances, late afternoon after 5pm, I have the whole bay to myself.   This is again one of my most cherished times to be out on the lake, all by yourself with your thoughts, taking in the beauty of the lake and its bountiful amount of rainbows, browns and cutthroat trout.  

BEAUTIFUL AFTERNOONS ALL TOO YOURSELF IN MCGEE BAY AT CROWLEY

 

My clients and I were also blessed to watch an Osprey, diving into the shallow water, trying desperately to catch one of these fish.   After three long drops out of the sky and completly submerging under the water, he came up empty for his afternoon meal but it was a spectacle to watch him work!   

MELINDA BURNS WITH ON OF 30 PLUS FISH TO THE NET ON HER 38TH WEDDING ANNIVERSARY AT CROWLEY

 

I have been fortunate to be able to get into some really good runs of fish, in-between sometimes more than a half hour of non grabbing fish, just waiting for the conditions to turn and become perfect for seeking these skinny water trout!  

 EARLY MORNING AND LATE EVENING KEY TIMES TO FISH SKINNY WATER AT CROWLEY

 

Early morning, late evening or overcast, low light is always a good start in skinny water.   These fish feel more comfortable and if you can be the first boat out, you will be rewarded with instant hookups.  Just ask my client Melinda Burns from Orange County Fly Fishers, she landed a  20" cutthroat on her very first cast.   She also managed over 30 fish all by herself for the full day guided trip and husband John Burns with 16 to the net.   This was also their 38th Wedding Anniversary and I felt priviledged to be a part of their special day!   Thanks Melinda and John for the opportunity to spend time with you on your very special day!

 JOHN AND MELINDA BURNS CELEBRATING THEIR 38TH WEDDING ANNIVERSARY WITH ME ON CROWLEY LAKE   GREAT FRIENDS AND VERY HONORED!

 

Once the light becomes brighter on the water, you must allow the wind and ripples on the water, to be your saving grace to keep the fish active in this skinny water.   If you can't get the wind to help, you must move out into deeper water, 8 to 10 feet to find willing fish.   Once the wind picks up and the chop or ripples are on the water, then move back into the skinny water.  This can be frustrating at times, lots and lots of pulling actors, thinking you have just what you are looking for, only to see the wind lay down and be calm again and again.   Its however worth the wait, planing and skeeming your attacks, then to be able to go on nice runs of beautiful healthy fish in the 16" to 23" range.   Its stalking fish, only with a 22' bay boat, by constantly pulling of anchors, moving and setting up to our prey, being successful, connecting to our prey, that makes it worth the effort of every guided trip!

 NICE CHOP AND TEXTURE ON THE WATER,  THIS IS THE TIME TO ATTACK SKINNY WATER!

 

PRESTON AND JACKIE LEWIS ON AN AFTERNOON TRIP

 

JACKIE LEWIS WITH HER FIRST EVER RAINBOW TROUT ON A FLY ROD

 

The fish are on the Damsels, Perch Fry, Callibaetis, Tricos and of course, Chironomids that are now hatching in great numbers back on the skinny water!  Use copper/black, red/black, grey/black, grey/silver for your midges.   Use Tom Loe's light and dark assassins, pheasant tails, hare's ears, copper johns to imitate the callibaetis.  Use balanced patterns, punk perch, hare's ears, assassins to imitate the perch fry, these trout are always seeking out tasty meals in the shallows in and around the weed beds. 

 THIS IS THE TIME TO MOVE OUT INTO DEEPER WATER, 8 TO 10 FEET AND WAIT

 

If your fishing the indicator, use very small versions and light tippet 5x or try to get away with 4x.   Long leaders between the beginning of the fly line to the beginning of the indicator is a must to keep the shadow down, especially with no chop or texture on the water.   Shadow whether its from fly line, indicator, watercraft or anglers, you must keep it to a minimum to bring the big fish into the mix.  If you are casting and retrieving, I have been using 3x and having great success with many afternoon trips well into the 30+ fish category.   I prefer a hover line or clear intermediate line, something to get under the surface and not create wakes or movement on top of the water.  

 

CORTLANDS 444 SMALL GAME INTERMEDIATE

Cortland’s 444 Classic Small Game Intermediate

 

The 444 Small Game Intermediate is made with a supple, crystal-clear intermediate coating over a clear or mottled monofilament core, depending on color. The result is one of the most popular and effective clear intermediate fly lines for stillwater angling in the world. Slowly sinking and virtually invisible to fish, it’s ideal for moving water or still. Available in 4 to 7 wt. in clear and clear camo. Sink Rate: 1.25 – 1.75 IPS

 THIS HAS BEEN MY LINE OF CHOICE IN THE 5 TO 8 FEET OF WATER WHEN RETRIEVING PERCH PATTERNS

 

 

Cortland’s Trout Indicator Nymph

Fishing multifly nymph rigs has some obvious advantages when it comes to hooking fish — and some rather obvious challenges, too. Cortland’s Indicator Nymph line makes casting multifly indicator rigs a win-win situation with a short front taper and robust head to transfer energy with authority for positive turnover. A unique oversized, high-visibility two-foot chartreuse Dyna-Tip is easier to see than traditional orange tips in low light, and acts as an indicator when European or high-stick nymphing.

 THIS HAS BEEN MY LINE OF CHOICE FOR FISHING THE INDICATOR AND BEING ABLE TO MAKE LONG CASTS WHEN NEEDED AWAY FROM YOUR WATERCRAFT

 

I HOPE THIS HELPS YOU THIS COMING HOLIDAY WEEKEND WHEN YOUR OUT ON THE WATER AND ESPECIALLY CROWLEY.  

 

GOOD LUCK AND BE SAFE!

 

I HAVE OPENINGS THIS WEEKEND ALL THREE DAYS FOR MORNING AND SPECTACULAR AFTERNOON GUIDED TRIPS WHEN THERE IS HARDLY ANYONE OUT ON THE WATER.

 

I do love me some "Stillwater" fly fishing……Ernie