So in my attempts at getting to know an Ontario river this season, I have fished multiple sections of it over multiple outings with varying degrees of success. It is hard to find time to go fishing, but when I do, I pack a lunch and stay for most of the day. Slowly exploring various runs, pockets, and currents.
Last year, a couple of "nice looking" sections seemed too warm and had very little activity on the fly, though perhaps time of day was a factor as I was there more around mid-day till the later afternoon, though as the sun set, the action didn't really improve. This year, with the cooler weather and higher levels, these sections held a few fish, and at one time I experienced a nice hatch... of mostly 6-8" trout. I tried exploring farther upstream (~20 min drive), where the river is cooler and crystal clear as well, and in one specific location I fished a couple of weeks ago, there were plenty of willing rainbows at each bend, on one bend I must have hooked into a dozen rainbows. I returned this past weekend to find the river a bit cooler, faster flowing, and with almost no fish in sight (but man was it clear). There was a hatch in the evening, but no rising fish, i tried various dry fly patterns, as well as multiple nymphs, and only managed to hook into 3 bows (one tiny) and 2 maybe 9" on a nymph I made up. It was difficult keeping a dry fly floating naturally in the fast water, and even wet flies didn't get much time to float naturally, usually skimming the surface for most of the swing... yet getting no action. I'm not sure why the nymphs didn't get hit when drifted down a current going over some nice holes... this typically works for me.
But where did all of the fish go? Why was there no surface action with the decent hatch? Why were the nymphs getting so few hits? Do the fish migrate many km in a river depending on water temperature? Were they just hiding from the higher than normal currents/flows? Does a few degree cooler river turn the fish off even on a sunny 18C day? (the fish I managed to get were quite close to branches on the sides of decent currents). Do two weeks make the fish go from "I'm stupid and eat anything" to "I will not look at anything you float by me"? Perhaps like some videos/posts say, I need to drop down in size, though I haven't had much success doing so the few times I did...and my fly collection isn't that complete yet to cover all popular patters in every size. Typically I prefer to reference the rules of those fishermen that say "a trout will not shy away from an easy meal" or "its less about the fly and more about the presentation" or even "if you had a choice between a small meal and a bigger one, would you turn down the big one?"... again, plenty of conflicting advice online. Plenty of factors to analyze, and never enough time!
I have lots to learn and am excited to hear some of your thoughts on how to adjust to these conditions.