"The San Miguel" by Ross Reels

"The San Miguel" by Ross Reels

Jon Asked:

Andy, I’m planning a short trip to the Kinni on March 14th…hopefully it won’t be too cold of a day, I’ve never fly fished this early in the year before…I have been dabbling in fly tying lately, and wanted to see if you had any good tips I could plan ahead with (and get tying!) for what might work well that day…can you predict the future??


The Kinnickinnic River is one of my favorite streams to be fishing in March. Opening day for the early “Catch and Release” season begins this year on March 7th. Artificial only and barb-less hooks highlight the regulations along with the no kill rule at that time. I like to start my fly tying with the patterns I will be fishing first, so here is the short list.

Griffiths Polar Gnat/Griffiths Gnat- In the early spring the midges and small stones can hatch by the millions. They speckle the snow banks as they crawl about. Anglers must look closely to tell the difference but usually both are present. Fish will rise to the midges with regularity so be ready with this midge cluster pattern or something similar. Try size 16-22

Gray or Olive Scud- The cress and aquatic vegetation will be loaded with these calorie rich fresh water shrimp. I never fish the Kinni without them. Numerous sizes are in the river, I fish them as big as #6, but 10-16 is most common.

 Olive /Tan Caddis Larva- Caddis are abundant in the Kinni and should be tied on a scud hook to get the “worm” impression. I think an olive scud looks similar in an impressionistic sense so you may get more bang for your buck by fishing one or the other of these patterns. I will also tie my caddis larva in a bright green or sparkly green for an attention getter. Again, sizes 10-16.

Tung Head Bloody Prince/Prince nymph- The THBP is a slight variation of the prince nymph that is just tied using red thread. This is one of a few custom patterns from Gray Goat Fly Fishing that should be available on this site by March. I believe this variation will out-fish the standard pattern and have not been without it anywhere at anytime I have been fishing. Size 10-16.

Kinni Nymph- Another custom pattern from Gray Goat. This fly is basically a bead head, flash back, black, pheasant tail nymph. I should also have those by March. In size 18-20 to imitate the small stones. It’s a killer. This is also a staple pattern and represents numerous Mayfly nymphs. A black Copper John is also good.


That should get you started, let me know how it goes, and  good luck.