smokin’ trout

August. Smoke everywhere. It keeps coming. It’s blocking the sun. There was an evacuation alert (fire) the other day. No rain in sight. That’s bad. Cooler recently. That’s good. I just spent one week walking a nearby river in the Coulees. Challenging breathing. Challenging angling. Small fly stuff: size 18 dries and emergers… Pale Morning Dun mayflies and small Caddis. Most fish were on emergers. Real daunting angling. Some were found sipping on duns. My best fish were taken on duns.

Early in the week I missed several great trout. A hand-tied leader popped mid-section on a biggie; on more than one occasion fish wedged my line between river bottom boulders and freed themselves; several powerful trout on reel screeching first runs cut me off on rocks in the low water conditions; a fly line got sliced and diced and rendered useless; I missed several connections as the small fly didn’t set once eaten, especially on the tiny emerger patterns I tied on Klinkhammer style hooks.

In frustration I talked to myself. I talked to my dog. I looked-up and talked to the sky. I hung in. I walked and searched, and fished my way through the slump. I made some adjustments and things eventually started to click.

I started connecting more consistently when I opened (slightly) the hook bend on my klinkhammer flies with hemostats and also slowed down my hook set. In the future I’ll tie on emerger/scud hooks. A less acute bend. I also tied on stronger tippet, especially when approaching a fish from above and casting down and across (fly first) to it.

The tailwater trout were selective. They would have nothing to do with ants, beetles, grasshoppers, and attractor patterns. They stuck to the main items on the menu. It was Pale Duns, small Caddis flies (mostly on the emerger stage).

The thicker the smoke the better the top water angling. Like clouds it intensified the hatches. And in the low light trout were more willing to surface. Even some of the bigger trout made an appearance.

It was some of the most demanding and best sight-fishing I’ve ever had. You simply couldn’t make any mistakes with the powerful trout in the low water conditions. An angling error meant a lost fish. Fish perfectly and you could still lose a fish. I lost my share. A few great smokin’ trout caught and released on tiny dries. Ridiculous! One memorable week in August…

brownreelrt

beefy brown on dry

 

chewed

chewed pmd on sleeve

 

windsheildreel

smoke- driving to river

grain

horizon of smoke

other bwn

brown on pmd

pmd3 (2)

shucks

spent pmds

thickbow

rainbow on pmd

abby2

abby riverside clearer day

anglebwn

brown trout

 

pmd2

cdc pale dun

 

benttree2

riverside cottonwoods

topbwn

brown trout

lwater

low water but cool

bowb

rainbows were thick

riverglare

small flies and glare- tough combo

black wng

black wing for river glare

cattle smok

cattle in smoke

 

pmd

half hackle, size 18

big guy

caught on size 18 half hackle

 

 

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4 thoughts on “smokin’ trout

  1. Hi Bob, you’ve been keeping your local trout well exercised lately. Great fish. I’m surprised that the PMD’s have held up so well. Is that normal for your waters?

    I haven’t river fished since I ran into Jim on the Henry’s Fork in June. Hopefully soon though. Instead, I’ve been poking around in the high country chasing cutthroats and goldens.

    • Les: It is normal for a couple of our tailwaters….it seems the Pmds sometimes go right into early September, esp on one of the rivers. Odd! You’ve been the high country…watch out for fires!!! I’ll check your blog to see if you’ve posted lately. I caught some nice ones but if you knew how many hours I put in to get em you’d laugh…things have been tough. Thanks for dropping in.
      bob

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