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
The Crowsnest. A small river. Really just a stream. Beautiful. Some call it the perfect trout stream. Home to impressive rainbows. The closest river to my house. A walk away. When summer takes hold and small flies hatch, its large trout slide into the slow/soft water areas and feed subtly. Often in shin deep water or even less. Here’s one that was located the other evening in the shallows…taken on a beetle.
Over the long weekend I went to 3 rivers to see how they are shaping-up. It was unsettled weather: cool and high winds. The dry-fly fishing is improving daily. Hatches are strengthening. Some trout are willing to rise. Here are some photos from Saturday’s outing. All trout taken on small dries under a big sky…
a riffle trout
When looking for rising trout I watch the flat water river sections first. That’s where they are easiest to spot. If there is no activity then I search the riffles. Trout in this location are much more challenging to find due to the water being broken and faster. Throw in river glare and spotting can be especially daunting. So I focus on very shallow sections. Often water just six inches to one foot depth. Large trout feeding sub-surface in very skinny water occasionally break the surface, and therefore make noise and notify you that they are around. Sometimes it’s barely perceptible above the constant sound of the flowing water. But you get good at hearing it. You just have to stay in one place for a while and listen. Large trout in the shallow riffles also push or displace water as they intercept nymphs and emergers, and occasionally rise for a dun. Their feeding can disturb and slightly change the riffle surface pattern. Again, almost imperceptible. You have to concentrate and watch the water to notice. It’s all subtle. You have to observe and concentrate…kind of the key to learning and becoming a better fly angler or really a better anything.
The trout in these ultra-shallow areas can often be enticed to take a dry-fly or a dangling emerger pattern. On my broad local tailwater river fish hooked in the riffles sometimes have to sprint 40, 50, 60 yards before they get to the main deeper flow. Thrilling first runs. Thrilling stuff.
simple dangling fly, black wing for glare
Of course an angler can fish the riffles blind by swinging a streamer or prospect with a nymph below a strike indicator, or below a big dry-fly. These can be effective ways to cover these bumpy areas and catch trout.
I find spotting them first before casting, however, requires all of your senses and observation skills, and the practice further develops and hones your angling abilities. A decade ago I would have walked by the riffle stretch I fished this past Sunday afternoon and spotted nothing. It’s the same now as it was then…but now I see (and hear) more.
trout in riffles
In the evenings trout are showing themselves by feeding just subsurface (bulging) and a few on top. The best summer time may fly hatch is underway: Pale Morning Duns (PMD’s). I’m finding some fish in areas where the drifting may flies collect…big back eddies and smaller slow swirls. I’m seeing fewer rising fish on the slow flats and on current edges as bug density is still not high. Here’s one of the nicer rainbows spotted rising the other evening…
leaving the river