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…
beefy brown on dry
chewed pmd on sleeve
smoke- driving to river
horizon of smoke
brown on pmd
rainbow on pmd
abby riverside clearer day
cdc pale dun
low water but cool
rainbows were thick
small flies and glare- tough combo
black wing for river glare
cattle in smoke
half hackle, size 18
caught on size 18 half hackle
August. Hot as “H”. A Sky full of smoke. Looks like a smog blanket in Beijing. It’s burning west of here. In British Columbia. The residue is drifting eastward. We had almost two months of it last year. To quote Yogi Berra, ” It’s Deja Vu all over again”. Cool, clear Rocky Mountain air… total myth. It’s a heat wave. Fires are burning. And I’m casting flies/fries under a Beijing sky.
on pmd size 18
rainbow on pmd, size 18
cdc pmd size18
The flow has finally dropped on a local tailwater river. There are now many more targets for the dry-fly angler. Many of the softest feeders I spotted in the shallows were Cutthroats and the hybrid, Cutt-Bows. They were often much more demanding and discriminating than the other risers. It’s mainly small flies hatching, Pmd’s size 18, 16. Challenging at times…with the slower water many rise to duns.
Simple Pale Morning emerger and dun patterns that I’ve been casting this summer. This hatch is still going quite strong on a few nearby tailwater rivers. And some small grasshopper flies I hope to use in the upcoming weeks.
Sunlight finally fills the ravine. The river can now be searched from above. Climb out and up. Follow a deer or cattle path. Perch on the edge. Watch for life. Look for movement in the flow. Then drop back down…
brown taken on size 16 pmd
looking west; continental divide
rainbow on pmd
Joe F. – best of the week
One week in July. Summertime. A visiting friend. Chasing trout. Walking. Wading. Watching. Sight-fishing. Three rivers visited. Two fished regularly. One in the day. The other in the evening. A fishing rhythm. Trout on small dry flies: size 16, 18 Pale Morning Duns; small beetles; ant patterns. A few taken sight-fishing nymphs. Some good ones caught. Some good ones lost. A fly rod found. The owner found.
trout-spotting from the bank
Outside all day. Then back at it in the evening. A good week.
One week in July…
crowsnest rainbow caught by Joe F
my best rainbow
low water sight fishing
half day on a pond
small dry flies