“It’s not down on any map; true places never are”–Herman Melville, Moby Dick
Rainbows taken on small dry flies in mid- September…
It’s September and it’s still all about small flies on the tailwater rivers I’ve been fishing all summer long. The occasional trout will grab a big fly like a grasshopper or dragonfly but most of the surface feeding is on the small stuff: PMD’s mainly, some size 18 and 20’s. This hatch is waning.
It has been mostly blue skies lately. No complaints as warm weather is always welcomed. Fishing is better on days with a mixed sky. Trout feed more actively when clouds block the sun and then vanish when the full light returns. Lately I spend as much time watching the sky as I do the river. Here’s a few trout spotted in early September.
I spotted several decent rising trout in the tail section of a big slow pool last week. They were feeding on pale duns. It was the end of a fishing day, I was tired and it was a long walk back to my car so I made a couple quick casts with no results and then moved on. One week later I returned. It was as calm as before. The trout were rising as before. It was the same weak PMD hatch as before.
In full sun and low clear water the trout inspected my flies carefully often rejecting my impressions last second. Fun stuff to watch. Many fly changes. Mostly the same result. Parachutes, hacklestackers, cdc duns, and a variety of emerger patterns were casted. All scrutinized. Just about all rejected. One trout ate a hacklestacker. I dug through my fly box and then hooked two fine trout on a fly tied several years ago with a swiss straw wing, one turn or so of dun hackle clipped on bottom, thread body, size 18 hook. I tied a few more this week…
I just spent a week fishing in my region. Most of the summer I have been a weekend angler. It was nice to be off work and stretch several river days together. I fish better when I have more time. I also tend to stop and take more photos while roaming around searching for trout.
I had one cloud covered rainy day and a strong hatch of tiny olives, and a few larger ones, occurred. The trout were mainly on emergers. I fished a few different dangling fly patterns with some success. The key word is, “some”. That was the easiest day.
The other days were full sun and therefore much more challenging. A few were calm, most were quite breezy. There were still some bugs around but not a lot. The rises were infrequent with the bright sky. And when they did occur they were real subtle. Just spotting the faint sips was an accomplishment. I often had to listen for signs of surface feeding on the blinding sun glazed flats. Most of the good trout located were hovering in just inches of water. It’s my favorite type of angling. In skinny water you have to be “sneakier than sneaky” in order to fool them. Mistakes are rarely tolerated… few second chances. To make things even more challenging the trout were generally only feeding on tiny stuff. Time flew by. Hours seemed like minutes. Relaxing? No. Engrossing? Yes. Fun? Yes.
On another river I used the sun and elevation when possible to my advantage in order to spot fish in the shallows. Then I’d drop down, choose my approach and try to fool them.
All week I casted olives when they were around, and fed beetles and ants to located trout when there was no hatch. While roaming around I found some old sheds; hiked some smooth wind sculpted hills; took pictures of small trees ( prairie bonsai) which always attract attention in the stark terrain; and caught a few wonderful trout. I also met a sheep herder taking a nap in the shade of my Jetta. He’s an old friend. Every year without fail we run into each other riverside.
One week, one fly, two feet…
Windshield time while driving to and from a river out on the flats. No stops. No lights. Nobody. Just a wily coyote chasing a blowing A&W wrapper.
“August is like the Sunday of summer”
We’ve had some clouds, some summer storms, some sun and cool nights and therefore river temperatures have remained alright even though the water is low. It looks like we might get through August without any angling restrictions. South of the border (Montana) the situation seems quite different.
I’ve been sight fishing small terrestrials and on one river Tricos; one of my favorite hatches. It’s a good time of year as a few trout are rising and the Blue Jays (baseball) are in the hunt for the playoffs. I want to see Jose Bautista hit a late game homer and fling his bat again…the best “take that!” moment in baseball I’ve seen in a long time.
Here are some river images from the past couple of weekends…I struck out several times but did manage to hit a few long ones…