What follows is only my read on things. First off, hatchery fish will take surface flies. I fish the Snake and the Grand Ronde every fall and that is all I fish there. I have never tried it but according to some of those who have, fishing a deeply sunk fly on these rivers in October will not get you much action. On the westside of the state though, I disagree.
From my experiences, the light sinktip will be often more productive. This is not to say that hatchery fish won't come up because they will and they do. Just not to as great a degree as their east of the Cascade cousins.
The old rule of thumb for switching to a floater was always 55 degrees. If memory serves me, that was a RHB observation. I would tend to believe that if you wait that long, you will be missing some topwater action. I know one local guide who fished a floater last year on June 1st. It would not have been my choice with 44 degree water but he did it. Of course, one of our board members here took a fine hatchery buck out of his back pocket fishing a tip too. :hehe:
For my own fishing, I usually (in a normal water flow year) switch to a floater around the fourth of July. After about two weeks of enjoying casting a dry line, I will switch off with a Type III tip until we are into the middle of August. Often I will fish a run dry and then go back with the type III. From then until the mid-October, I stick with the floater.
Finally, as to training hatchery fish to come up more. There is some talk about training them to come up less. The problem is on the Columbia syatem where there is massive smolt predation by birds. The vast majority of this predation is against hatchery fish. (Much more by percentage than their portion of the run.) The thinking is the hatchery smolts are used to only being fed on the surface by pellet broadcasters so they are migrating to the sea in the top of the water column. Their wild cousins are used to both surface and sub-surface feeding so they stay deeper in the water column and thus avoid the birds.
Last edited by sinktip; 06-29-2002 at 11:51 AM.