Ruby River

Upper River to Ruby Reservoir
The upper Ruby above Ruby Reservoir is located in very remote country.  There is not much access above the lake until you are well back into the mountains and hit National Forest land.

Ruby Reservoir to Alder
The Ruby exits the reservoir as a tailwater and supports abundant midge, caddis, and PMD hatches. The river travels for a few short miles through a scenic arid canyon before abruptly transitioning into a meandering open agricultural valley. Two public FAS access points exist in the upper three miles and an additional two in the next six miles. Over zealous private landowners own property surrounding each of the small plots of public access limiting anglers' free range. Brown trout are predominant with a few rainbows intermixed. The Ruby is a true gem when its fishing well but fickle days can be humbling.

Alder to Twin Bridges
The Ruby descends the next 40 miles through private "Ranchette" properties. This section offers some of the most difficult access imaginable with landowners ready to harass and arrest anglers at any given chance. Limited fishing pressure provides excellent streamer fishing even during hot sunny days.

Fishing the Ruby by time of year

Spring (March - May)
The spring fishing on the Ruby below the dam is excellent as long as the water flow is held in check by the Army Corp of Engineers. Check the gauges and avoid if you see any recent positive spikes. Spring hatches include daily midge hatches from February until April. Baetis overlap the midges in April and continue into May when they are joined by some caddis. Nymphing is usually productive using olive, black, and grey midge patterns in either larvae or pupae imitations. It is always worth chucking a streamer in the spring in the hopes of eliciting an aggressive brown from the deep pools or cut banks.

Run off (Late May - Late June)
The reservoir releases large volumes well into the beginning of July some years. The river's current is swift and difficult to manage during this time and should be avoided.

Summer (July - September)
Anglers often uncover productive hatches of midges, caddis, PMD's, as well as terrestrials. Small attractor nymphs, midge larvae and pupae, PMD imitations, attractor dries, terrestrial patterns and even sculpin are excellent and worthwhile choices. On a cloudy day streamers can be very effective when stripped down and across. Dead drifting a streamer is also an effective technique when cloud cover sets in.

Fall (October - November)
The abundant population of brown trout begin to spawn. Egg patterns are a great choice. Cloudy days welcome the chance for good streamer fishing too. Occasional midge hatches never fail to be observed near the dam. Tread lightly to avoid redds and leave paired trout to rest.

Winter (December - March)
The Ruby River remains open to fishing year round. If the daytime high's exceed 50 degrees and the sun's out then a trip to the Ruby is a worthwhile escape from the fly tying bench. Midge fishing at the FAS access points within a few miles of the dam is usually productive between the hours of 11am and 3pm. Nymphing with olive, chocolate, black, grey and red midge larvae or pupae is the most productive strategy.

Recommended fishing lodge for targetting the Ruby River: Madison River Lodge

River description by David Archer