I left on 18 JAN 2020 and arrived back home on 25 JAN 2020. The weather was in the 20's in the early morning, but warmed up later on. On Thursday, 23 JAN, the day was summer like. I do not know the daytime temps because I was too busy fishing to care. Wind was slight to non-existent. Perfect, IOW's.
The river taught me a huge lesson: big, ugly flies = big fish!! I have always fished the tiny midges, etc but have NEVER used large flies on this river. This revelation came about when I - just for the heck of it - tried an olive green 'matuka' that some nice lady gave me on my last trip to this river back in the fall of 2017. A fish hit it hard and broke the 6x tippet. Shock! That night I tied three more similar ugly flies on #10 hooks that I've packed around for decades. They were so old I had to use a diamond file to sharpen them. The following day I lost two of those flies to break offs (same 6x Rio tippet material ...), but they refused to hit the fly which was adorned with grizzly feathers. Picky rascals.
I visited the local fly shop on my way out and purchase some black and olive rabbit zonker material and back to the tying bench I went. I had never tied these before so I had some learning to do. Anyway, I tied six or so and was good to go.
The next day I tried most of these flies, but it was the one pictured below that caught the biggest fish I have ever taken in my life. It took 30 minutes or so to bring it to net. My net is 18" in length and her tail stuck out quite a ways. Needless to say, we were both beat. The bow was fine when I released her, my arm was not. I went back to the same location and hooked another fish nearly the same size, but she was not as spunky as the first. I was grateful for that. Shortly after that I realized I was completey fished out. I was happy and ready to head back home to my family. I do not think I have ever felt 'fished out', but I was.
The attached image is not that great, but it should give some idea of what this fly looks like.