It’s winding down. Most rivers close at the end of the month. A nice weekend. Sunny on Saturday. Warm. Fished in shorts. Minimal wind. No surface feeding. The water looked dead. Lifeless. Late afternoon, when shadows were lengthening, I decided to sit and watch a pool. Noticed the occasional bright green grasshopper drifting by. Waited. Waited. Then a sizeable surface disturbance. Casted a small greenish hopper pattern…the only good fish of the day.
There’s a great river out there
SEPTEMBER. IT HAS BEEN CHALLENGING. FEW BUGS ON the tailwater rivers I frequent and therefore few rising trout. I’ve had some luck searching the shallows for moving shadows and prospecting the deeper water with terrestrial patterns. I recently had ten days off of work so I was able to spend some full days on the water. So far September has been beautiful. Smokey at times from the fires west of here, also a few brief cold snaps but generally warm mid-day into early evening. I was able to wet-wade the past several days. Rivers are low and most clear. Tourists are gone. Few anglers around. It’s silent out there. My favorite time of year to spend a day, or ten, on my favorite rivers. Some fine trout on dry flies…
I casted small grasshoppers, large and small black beetles.
sunset and smoke
I was able to locate a few nice surface feeding trout last weekend in spite of the full sun and few insects. Their rises were inconsistent and subtle. If I didn’t know the river section I was on real well, I would have never seen them or I should say “hear them”. On the broad shallow flats that I like to fish, below or to the side of a good run, it is often the sound of a rising fish that first catches my attention. When I hear something I focus on the water in the region where I think the sound emanated from. I often take several soft steps up or downstream to change my visual angle depending on the light and glare. Most importantly I try to be patient, refrain from casting and wading, and wait for another sound or even better a surface disruption. Sometimes I hear the fish multiple times before I can actually visually pinpoint its location especially when the lighting situation is challenging. Usually these trout are closer to shore than I originally thought. If I was in a hurry and didn’t take the time to locate them, I probably would wade right through their feeding position, or cast over them and they would be off to the safety of deeper water.
Many drift boats/rafts beach on the flats that I frequent. Anglers generally get out of their boat, immediately wade through the shallow relatively calm flat to reach the main current flow or edge where they repeatedly work their nymph rigs. Usually they catch fish. However with this tactic they miss some of the best visual angling that the river has to offer. Some large trout like to feed lazily on the slow water flats. They slide in from deeper water and position themselves wherever there is some sort of gentle current channeling drifting food. If you can find (see or hear) one of these subtle feeders and make a connection, you are in for a real treat. A large trout hooked on a shallow flat heads for deeper water at breakneck speed. Often they take me into my backing.
slow flat off of main flow
When sight-fishing I always try to pick a shallow flat where the sun is going to be on my back. If it is cloudy it does not matter as trout rise more frequently and confidently when the light is low and a hatch, if there is going to be one, will be stronger.
The featured trout were caught on the shallow flats of a local tailwater river.
Hot. Let me repeat, Hot. Full sun. Blue skies. Everything is dry. Fire ban on. Forest fires one province over in BC. Smoke could be on the way.
On my favorite rivers few bugs. Hatches have been weak all summer long. Not many rising trout. You have to hunt to find the odd one. Challenging out there.
With the pandemic everyone seems to be outdoors camping. It’s real busy in my region. It’s busy on the rivers: rafters, kayakers, swimmers, and many, many anglers. More than usual. Can’t find parking in some of my favorite spots. Challenging out there.
Some photos from the past few weeks. All trout caught on small dry flies: mainly Pmds, Ants and Beetles.
“Cause a little bit of summer is what the whole year is about”
Late July. Summer. It took forever to get here. The sun is blasting. It’s even warm in the early morning. That’s rare in the Rocky Mountains. The local ice cream shop is packing them in. My lawn is burning. Abby, my dog, is lazier than heck. The kitchen ceiling fan is spinning. Thunderheads build in the late afternoon heat. A lot of storm watch alerts. Blankets on the vehicles to protect them from hail.
Friends have been in town. Long days spent wet wading the rivers. Fishing until darkness. Little time spent indoors or for other things. That’s alright, it’s summer. And where I live it’s brief. It’s just a flicker. Catch it while you can…
Lots of fish pics. Few people pics. Some dog pics. Most trout featured caught sight-fishing with dries/emergers, size 16-18.; mainly Pale Morning Duns with thorax built with Golden Retriever hair. A few trout taken on beetles and crickets.
an old rainbow
ranch creek side cabin
“You can’t force or push around Nature. It just does what it does”
Rivers high but manageable. No Blue Winged Olives. I’m surprised because everything lately looks just right for a good hatch. A few Skwala stones around. Only a few. They are pretty big. Maybe size 12. Easy to spot on flat water. The dark body contrasting well on a grey smooth river surface on a cloudy day. I watched a few drift through the shallows. Most remained untouched. Then a rise. Cast. The impression disappeared. It has been a tough spring. Few dry fly connections…but here’s one.
I was on the Crowsnest river this past weekend. Sunday was a rare nice day and warm. It felt like Spring! Some Midges were out in the afternoon, however, no fish were up on the section I was on. I even saw a couple of Blue Winged Olives at about 4pm. Just a few but promising. With no rises I started focusing on the river bottom instead of the surface. It’s a completely different type of looking. Through the river glare I eventually spotted a few dark shadows creeping along the bottom mid-pool. They would travel upstream six feet or so then drop back a bit, and then repeating the cycle. They were active. They were feeding. I managed one on a size 18 PT nymph with a cassette tape wing case and a small black beadhead. A dull fly; no shine to it. I landed a classic Crowsnest river rainbow. No hook marks. It was nice to be out sitting riverside in the sun. Nice to sight-fishing again. A new season.
A spot (bend) on the Crowsnest river where rising fish can sometimes be found. A rare day with no wind. A good place to walk and watch. Still early. Still winter. Haven’t seen many midges, yet. Maybe in a few weeks…maybe around another bend….