Fly fishing the Oatka in late fall and winter can be a real treat. It is a refreshing change from the crowded tributaries, and often fishes better than their counter parts. This is probably due to the fact that the fish are not as pressured and the variety of insect life is greatly diminished by this time of year. You can often fish your favorite stretch all by your self.
There are some guidelines however. Especially if you want to be successful. To start...fishing small flies is probably a good idea. I'm not talking about a #16 pheasant tail or hare's ear. I'm talking #18 and down to #26. This is small fishing at it's best! Small heavily weighted nymphs with even smaller midge larvae as a trailer works like a charm. And don't be surprised to see small midge and BWO hatching late morning through late afternoon depending on the temperature. So bring some #20 to #24 griffith's gnats and bwo for some dry fly action. And don't be afraid to tie on a really small egg pattern or san juan worm to mix things up. This is also one of the best times of the year(besides spring) to fish a streamer pattern. Weighted or unweighted, and with or without a sink tip. Cast slightly upstream throw in a mend and let it dead drift for a little while or start stripping a foot at a time across the current. There really is no bad way to fish a streamer. The fish usually let you know what they are looking for. When spring starts to rear it's ugly head, I'll do a post that describes a more in depth approach to streamers and how to fish them.
Here are some of the best flies to try during the late fall and winter period on the Oatka. See you on the water!
Heavily weighted #18 and #20 tungsten bead head flash back pheasant tails or hare's ears.
Midge larvae and pupae in #20 through #26 (black, white, red and crystal flash)
Egg patterns #16 and #18 (Oregon cheese, Niagara gold, etc) and San Juan worms (red and brown)
Weighted or Unweighted woolly buggers #6 through #12 (black, white, brown and olive)
Weighted or Unweighted muddler minnows #6 through #10 (a #8 conehead version is my favorite)
Bucktail streamers #8 through #12(brown/white, olive/white, micky finn, etc...)
Griffith's gnats #18 through #22
BWO in #18 through #24
Emergers in #18 through #24