river walking

Mornings on way to one of my favorite trout rivers with Abby…SW Alberta.

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hacklestackers

The Hacklestacker. A creation of Bob Quigley. An innovative fly tier who is unfortunately no longer with us. Over time I’ve learned that his creations such as the Hacklestacker, Quigley Cripple, Film Critic and other patterns, can fool some very picky (selective) flat water trout. Here are some PMD and BWO Stackers all tied on size 18 hooks; with size 18 or size 16 hackle.

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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…

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beefy brown on dry

 

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chewed pmd on sleeve

 

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smoke- driving to river

grain

horizon of smoke

other bwn

brown on pmd

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shucks

spent pmds

thickbow

rainbow on pmd

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abby riverside clearer day

anglebwn

brown trout

 

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cdc pale dun

 

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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

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cattle in smoke

 

pmd

half hackle, size 18

big guy

caught on size 18 half hackle

 

 

casting dries under Beijing sky

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.

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smokey sky

smoke

on pmd size 18

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river 10am

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rainbow on pmd, size 18

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cdc pmd size18

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small tailwater flies

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.

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cdc

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head on

 

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late july ties

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.