The cold temperatures we have recently seen will abate and bring in some moderately warm weather for Thanksgiving Day and continue through the weekend.
We might see some wind associated with temps in the high 40s and low 50s through the weekend, but anglers who will be spending the holiday in Cody should expect to find great fishing conditions on the lower Shoshone tail water and, quite possibly, some ice fishing over on the Sunshine Reservoirs southwest of the cowboy town of Meeteetse.
Should getting out of town over the holiday be in your plans, Thermopolis will be sharing daytime temperatures similar to Cody. The flows on the Wind and Big Horn Rivers have been low and clear with water temps just like the lower Shoshone’s. However, the water temps are 10 degrees colder and in the 40 degree range. Make sure to wear some warm fleece and socks under your waders if heading south to angle the dangle.
The fishing in both rivers has been good to very good whether wading or floating. The trout have been taking bead headed nymphs well. Copper Johns, Pheasant Tails, Gold-ribbed Hare’s Ears, North Fork Special in tan or black, Halfbacks and Pat’s rubber legs are fall standards on either river.
Once waters drop and the summer hatches are not in the trout’s memory, scud and sowbug patterns work very well in late fall fished below an indicator individually or as a dropper behind a heavier nymph pattern. Worm imitations such as the San Juan Worm, Gummy or Red Wire Worm also are great searching patterns.
Hatches are blue wing olives, midges and caddis, although the last insect is just about finished in regard to making sure you have some handy in your fly boxes. I rely on parachute Adams, gray or olive Sparkle Duns and Matt’s Midge or Griffith Gnats when I see noses poking up on the Shoshone or Big Horn rivers late November. I am sorry to say that the adult and even the nymphal phases of these insects will require size 18-24 hooks to be successful. Size definitely matters when the blue wings or midges are on the water. Caddis dries or soft hackles can be size 12-16, but, again, don’t expect to see trout going bonkers over these insects.
Streamers and fall fishing go together like turkey and gravy. I highly recommend packing along a six or seven weight fly rod rigged with a sinking or sink-tip line to chuck your leech or baitfish imitation down and across those areas where the big trout hang out once the irrigation flows have dropped. Streamers such as the Sex Dungeon, Peanut Envy, Woolly Bugger, Double Bunny, Zonker and or a balanced leech in colors white, black and white, black, brown or olive have brought some nice browns, rainbows and Yellowstone cutthroat to the net since mid-October.
I realize Thanksgiving is a time to gather together as a family or with friends to celebrate the fact that we as a nation and as a people have been blessed abundantly to be able to put a feast of turkey, ham, prime rib and other side dishes, including my favorite, pumpkin pie, on our tables on which to feed. I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge that I am eternally grateful to have spent more than two-thirds of my life in a community that is so caring and so giving to friends, family and neighbors.
We truly have a great town and citizenry. I hope that our compassion and caring continue as we see our population expand to make room for more Cody residents in the coming years ahead.
Should football and feasting become a bit too much and one feels the need to get outdoors and work off some calories, I highly recommend spending that time exploring the fishing found in rivers or lakes not far from home. I would even suggest you bring along Uncle Fred, cousin Ralphie or anyone else who has an interest and show them what great fun flinging a fly can be when taking a break between meals and family time.
Just an idea, but it is a good one. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!