It is at this time of year that my pattern changes. Be the Trout!
-Get your butt out of bed with the sun and be on the water early or take in the after work session and fish from 6 pm to dark during the coolest periods of the day. Afternoons will fish, but don’t expect the warmest time of the day to be your best bets. Side note; fish when you can, the season will be over soon.
-Yes, tricos have made their appearance, BUT the numbers of bugs in the air are thin and fish up on top have been the same. There just has not been enough meat falling to the water to get a large number of fish to the surface. However, anglers concentrating on the few pods that they have found have caught some fish on both trico spinners and duns, small,# 20-22. No dumb reckless feeding fish have been located. If you have found any dumb fish please don’t comment about them here, it will ruin this post as well wreck all of the legend and lore around Trico fishing. Trico fishing is one of the most challenging fly angling endeavors of the year. The process is awesome and it is my favorite mayfly hatch. I hope the density of the hatch continues to grow. The high water thinning of aquatic insects is keeping me guarded on wether this will happen or not.
-Anglers who are successful have covered vast distances of water to locate the few fish that are feeding actively. These fish tend to be in the long slow deepish flats where bad casts will shut them down in an instant. Waters are becoming clear and spooky. Frothing the water with inaccurate casts and splashy, sloppy presentation will get you the big goose egg and another long walk to the next pod of risers. Practice casting and landing your minute imitations softly or the trico game can be frustrating. 6 and 7X tippet are the rule. Side note; Remember these trout are not Musky, Bass or Tarpon and although the water can magnify their actual size, hook sets must be smooth and subtle. Power applied to the set must be tempered with control. Rippin lips,,, provided you get an eat,, will get you in the negative fly count category and another fun tie on with 7x.
-Hoppers are in the grass. Dry weather will bring more. Hit those grassy banks. A foot away is not close enough. Make stupendous bank shots off the bank, if you get caught on the bank, twitch it off the grass instead of yanking it out of there with reckless abandon. Be the hopper, talk to your hopper imitations. Talk to the trou. MAKE SURE NO ONE ELSE IS AROUND. The men in the white coats are lurking in the forest.
ON THE ROCKS
-I love to nymph. Some refer to it as the dark arts. There is no larger controversy in fly fishing world than the wedge between dry and drowned. My words, EAT ME. There I said it. I though this video was fitting.
- Rock sampling has shown thin pickins for aquatic insect larva and nymphs. Mayfly nymphs found are extremely small in size. P. tails in 20 and 22 have brought some nice fish and some dinks but they are working. Small lightening bugs are also taking some fish. Caddis larva are there too. Small #16-18 olive/green or tan larva and pupa have fooled some trout as well. Big fly, small fly continues to be my model for the two fly rig. Stone fly imitations including tung head prince, the turd, and half backs may move some bigger fish.
It has not rained for over a week. Here are some quickie summaries and questions.
-Are smallmouth bass really wannabe trout?
- Flows continue to come down, fishing is returning to the new normal for this year.
-Subsurface presentation is the game. Short lived caddis activity at dusk continues to be the best dry fly action, it is not happening stream wide. Congrats if you have found one of these locations. Other anglers are hoping you will post GPS coordinates here.
-Trico rumors are running rampant. They should begin to show up…….. Spider web inventories and early morning outings have shown no signs of my favorite mayfly. I am remaining hopeful(for now) that they will,,,,, in some form or fashion, emerge in respectable numbers this year and did not fall victim to High Water Hell 2014.
-I have begun a few weeks back to wet wade. The water temps are perfect and comfortable. Make sure you wear some poly pro long johns under your quick dry pants. You will be safer from the nettles and prickly ash. Beware Wild Parsnip Is Everywhere.
-Gnats have been driving anglers to drink, smoke, loose focus and prematurely end outings. Deet seems to have little affect on them and vanilla extract draws in a bunch of other investigative undesirable insects to sample the taste of your meat. Uvular and Ocular encounters with gnats have been the worst. Choking, hacking, hocking, spitting or rubbing, poking and pulling on ones eye lid does effect presentation of the fly.
-To those with rubber soled wading boots; The rocks have been slipperier than than normal. Is anyone else noticing this? Felt is a bit better right now. Either something is growing on the rocks or they are covered in fine slippery clay silt particles from the settling.
-Was just about attacked by a roving band of river otters this week. The 4 pups continued to swim circles around my anglers, curiously investigating, while Mom barked orders at them to get away. It was awesome! The pups would wrestle on shore and then flop back into the water and come and see what we were doing. Mom Otter was pissed because they were not listening. Kids!!!!!
Go fishing today. It will be hot and muggy the later it gets. TCTU is having a picnic at Glen Park from 12-3. I am stopping by. More words later.
I don’t even know what to say. Predicting the fishability of the rivers in Pierce County has become almost impossible. A snap shot of river conditions one minute, changes the next. As I try to deliver the best information on these streams be aware that all bets are off. Here is what I know. Today waters are high and dirty again. An inch of rain fell in the afternoon yesterday. Your reports are very helpful in providing a wide variety experiences to other anglers. We all thank you. Keep them coming.
- Flows will continue to run well above normal as they have been. Water tables are full and every spring head including ones that were not there previously are pumping water at above normal rates. This makes angling and wading more difficult and challenging. Fish are being caught when conditions are not dangerous. Those who are are angling are having variable results depending on where they are on any given day. Choosing the best locations to fish can be a crap shoot.
-Water clarity has been degraded. The “perfect storm”(look for future post) has happened this year and recovery from every event will be slower as well as different for each watershed. Water clarity and flow rate are the two major factors we all use to try and determine “fishability”. This definition can vary among anglers and experience on the water is the only way to set your own standard. The Kinni has been the slowest to recover this year.
-Adult aquatic insect populations have been greatly reduced. Surface feeding activity is sparse. From simple surveys it appears that caddis populations have fared best as many larva/pupa are anchored rather than free living. Terrestrial insects populations normally entering the stream have likely also been effected by the extra precipitation. The trout still need to eat.
Every outing to the stream is a learning experience. Catching is the intermittent reinforcement that has the greatest power over anglers. Observation is the greatest power anglers have to massage intermittent in their favor.
As of this evening everything is fishable,,,,,, except
-Rain is forecast for tomorrow
-Gnat population is ferocious, bring the bug dope
-Edge water is clear, depth is holding color
Have fun and send me a report. Rush fished a little slow for me this evening. A few fish rising.
Today I guided. It was a treat I had not experienced in a while. At 2pm a wall of darkness came over the Northwest. We hooked an awesome last fish on a dry fly and scampered up and out of the lower Kinni before the rain came. And then it came,,,,again, As much as 4″ of rain fell near Baldwin and blew up an almost healed, crystal clear Rush River,,,,again. An inch here, an inch there. poof they are all mud again.
Happy In day! Hope you all have plans for fun, and the day is filled with explosive drama.
The streams continue to clear and are fishable the last couple days. As I am guiding the same sections of river, I am amazed how they have changed character in many cases. Islands have been formed and swept away, Lumber piles have created hazards and new holes, Once beautiful complexes of braids and pockets are now sand bars. The changes are alarming, and they are cool. Of course, not everything has changed and some of the old familiar trout hotels are the same or even better. As the flows settle down it will be interesting to see what changes will have created good holding water and what will become marginal . Change is, pass the Beer Nuts. I can’t wait to see it all!
“Catching” has not exactly been hot and heavy but fish are cooperating. It nice to begin to see the stream bed once again. The water is staying nice and cool and I can’t remember the last time when flows were high, consistent and cool in July. I hope this bodes well for the rest of the summer. For the short term, make sure you have a good supply of split shot along. Flows are heavy and you won’t get to the bottom without it. I have not seen a rising fish for weeks. Maybe today, I hope.
Go get um now. Rain is forecasted for Sat and Sun. Who would have thought!
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