The big pulse showed up right on time as predicted (May 13). A week of downright hot temperatures got our cricks and streams up and moving. But a funny thing happened on the way to run off….. it turned cold, as in way freek’n cold and snowy which served to reduce the amount of snow melt and at least temporarily allowed for some reasonable fishing opportunities. It hasn’t been all peaches and cream, but there has been a small window of extended opportunity which has been greatly appreciated.
As is typical of spring fishing, the water has gone up, the water has gone down, the water has turned dirty, and then the water has cleaned up ….. which is merely a way to say, we’re back to fishing on the late May and early June roller-coaster. Get used to it, because it’s here to stay until early July. Currently we are sitting on about 120% of our normal snow pack and most of that is still sitting up in the mountains. When it finally does turn warm/hot, get ready because the area streams are gonna rip. So please don’t be stupid ….. cause stupid hurts and will kill you if you’re not paying attention. Last year we lost two folks who were wading and fishing in places and times when they should not have been out there. You don’t want to do that or like the folks last year, you will become the headlines in the Carbon County News.
Strangely, there have been lots of bugs out and about and in good numbers representing a diversity of species ranging from March Browns to PMD’s to a size #16 caddis. Most of the fish have not really shown a lot of interest in the dries, likely because they are not really settled into their hiding and feeding locations. The rising and falling and then rising and falling of the rivers will not permit them to find that comfortable holding and feeding location for more than a day or so, and then things change and the fish must adjust their holding locations. What once was a good place to hang out in moderate current can change into a torrent within hours when the melt off or incoming precipitation drives the hydrograph towards the moon. The most consistent approach has been and will continue to be a subsurface presentation of weighted stonefly nymphs or some big nasty dark-ish streamer. The bigger the better, fish’m low and slow or in the case of the streamers, slap and strip them against the cut banks.
And most importantly, tamp down your catching expectations. It’s the tough time until July or so. Enjoy the journey and don’t sweat catching fish or not. The other day I wondered about for a couple hours and never caught or turned a fish due to high mucky water. But I enjoyed the heck out of the bird watching. Yellow Warblers, Yellow Rumped Warblers, Yellowthroats and Redstarts were all hunting the same bugs which the trout could not see or get to. It’s neo-tropical migration season and that alone is worth a walk along the stream. Lots of good stuff going on, but please be careful and enjoy.
Oh, and lest I forget, it’s Memorial Day. Think about it!