picky feeders

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…

a hot day

rainbow trout

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low light browns

“I feel that luck is preparation meeting opportunity”–Oprah

roman, brown trout on small dry fly, best of the weekend

Early August. Sunny, dry and hot. Summer finally arrived. A browning lawn, line-ups at the local ice cream shop…With the heat the top water fly fishing slowed down. Then this past weekend a prediction of a cool low front and rain moving in, and best of all, not much wind. Opportunity!? With the changing weather a visiting friend and I walked the well warn path along a favorite river, searched and found some rising fish. In the low light conditions we even located some great brown trout. As always, weather can either be an angler’s friend or foe. This past weekend it was our ally. We were present. We were observant. We were persistent. And we had a bit of luck…our small dry flies held on some great trout. Some photos…

photo by roman

 

successful dry fly during weekend, size 18 pmd, parachute

 

 

brown on size 18 pmd dry

 

brown trout caught by roman, photo by roman

 

brown on size 18 pmd dry, photo by roman

 

abby, drying off

 

deceased riverside pike…tail

 

roman, another great brown on dry fly

Late July- Low and Slow

“I tell you, we are here on Earth to fart around, and don’t let anybody tell you different”– Kurt Vonnegut

Dry fly fishing has become a morning and evening affair due to sunny days, summer heat and some breezy afternoons. The water level on the Crowsnest river is low and slow and perfect for walk/wading and searching for rising trout. It’s nice to walk the water on a warm summer night and look for a fine trout. Here’s a good one which was spotted sipping just off of a bank in shallow water the other evening. It was fooled by a size 18 pmd dry fly: simple pale yellow thread body, light dun cdc for a wing and visibility, and a bit of dubbing up front to accentuate the thorax….really, a bit of nothing on a hook. The small fly held….ridiculous! A good trout landed and released. An evening I get to keep.

“I asked myself about the present: how wide it was, how deep it was, how much was mine to keep…”–Kurt Vonnegut

 

 

 

 

some

SOMEone flipped the switch at the end of August. September has been real cold so far. SOME mornings snow at elevation. SOME mornings right around zero. SOME mornings even colder. On Saturday it was 3C pretty much all day and foggy. SOME good Baetis hatches. SOME good fish have been looking up. SOME selective. SOME very, very selective. SOME frustration getting them to commit. SOME failure. SOME success. SOME brown trout. SOME photos from past two weekends. All trout, not SOME, taken on size 18 BWO’s.

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flies

size 18 BWO’s

 

bwnet

 

brwnleg

taken on hacklestacker BWO, size 18

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focused river guide

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broad tailwater and wind

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low challenging clear water on crowsnest river, fish landed below

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classic crowsnest river rainbow

 

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same brown below

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brown trout on size 18 parachute BWO

 

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…

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