Count Down to Clear

Good stuff Maynard

Yesterday’s local worm eater

 

Our local rivers and streams continue high and mucky.  Fishing is neither productive nor safe on the big water.  But seeing the glass as half full and not half empty …… I think we have pretty much hit the peak of run-off.  Volumes and velocities should begin to drop over the next 2 or 3 weeks.  Fishing and floating should be in full swing by the first of July…. pretty much as normal and expected.

Until then, I’ll be spending time on the little waters that do not head up into the mountains … i.e. no or limited run off.  As you can tell from the above, these little cricks can house some really nice fish. Not always easy, some very tight casting lanes and hiddy-holes to contend with, but, the fish are in there.  And yesterday, pink nuclear worms were on the menu.  With all the rain, there has been an on-going worm “hatch” over the last couple weeks.  Many may not consider fishing an artificial worm as keeping in spirit of fly fishing.  I say when in Rome, do as the Romans.

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It’s Here …. Runoff thoughts

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.

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Fatty from Jump Across .  Notice the water color?

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Delectable morel morsels 

Oh, and lest I forget, it’s Memorial Day. Think about it!

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Still America in the Burg of Bob

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Mayflies in May

Sometimes this fishing report comes across as more of a weather report.  Which it really isn’t, but …. the weather has a profound influence on rivers and snow melt off and corresponding water temps and clarity which effects the bugs which dictates a trout’s dietary preference.  It’s all connected…. and thus this spring has been cooler than the norm.  When typically we’d see baetis and March Browns in early to mid April, this year they’ve been late.

How-some-ever, the bugs are hatching now and have been for the last week or so.  Some days produce better hatch densities than others, but there has been a definite dry fly window on most days.  Usually, the hatches have been in late afternoon, much later than I would expect, but hey, the mornings have been down right nippy and those bouts of snow don’t help either.  So sleep in and grab another cup of joe before you go.

Next food substance to appear on the trout menu shall be Mother’s Day caddis.  Strangely, the hatch of these little morsels might actually make their appearance this year on Mother’s Day, again as a result of a cooler than normal spring.  Get your #14 elk hairs and soft hackles out of the closet now.

We’re getting to that time of the season when run off is soon to start.  That typically happens somewhere between the 10th and 15 of May.  But given the projections of cool and overcast ….. I don’t see it for the foreseeable future.  So enjoy!

And before I go … I have to give a shout out to my clients thus far this spring …. on some rather nasty days, they haven’t cancelled, they didn’t whine, they just went fishing and had a good time.  Fly fishing in snow is apparently a unique lifetime experience.

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