Believe it or not, there are two flies in this picture, and they’re both catching fish right now.
When it comes to catching fish on dry flies, it’s pretty hard to beat watching a big old brown trout come up to smash a big foamy size 10 Chubby Chernobyl or Circus Peanut. It’s kind of hard to beat how easy it is to see the fly, how they float like battleships, and how often a fly dragging a bit against the current gets just as much response as one presented in a perfect dead drift. After all, who doesn’t love the simplicity of tossing a big bug and having a fish crush it? They might think it’s a stonefly or a grasshopper or whatever else, but who really cares? These amalgamations of bug parts just work—usually—then there are the times when an obviously rising trout will completely ignore the big cheeseburger you just presented. It’ll usually happen in the really glassy, slow water where you can see a dimple from a hundred yards. On these days, it can seem like the only rises you see are from tiny fish eating flecks of dust off the surface. Don’t let them fool you. There’s a good chance those fish are nowhere near as small as you think, and they’re just barely pushing the surface to slurp down a tiny, dainty mayfly we all know as the Trico. This time of year we see massive hatches of Tricorythodes mayflies, and rest assured that the trout see them too. Inhabiting the exact opposite end of the size spectrum from the Chubbies, Tricos are usually in the 18-22 range in western states and even smaller in the east. They’re distinctly identifiable by their size and three fine tails, as opposed to their also tiny cousin, the Blue Winged Olive’s two. Color can vary a bit, and patterns range from white-bodied to black-bodied and just about everything in between. These little guys emerge by crawling up the river banks, then start flying around to mate, migrate upstream, and deposit eggs before dying and falling back to the water. Trico spinner falls often get many fish fired up into a quiet frenzy, and presenting a spinner on the surface or just under it to a subtle rise can yield surprisingly good results. It takes some focus for a trout to make a meal out of these micro mayflies, so when they lock in and start feeding, you’ve got to put it right where they want it. The real fun part comes when you realize that tiny fish that just took your Trico is a 22″ brute that isn’t very happy his micro-snack is trying to pull him somewhere. If you’re good enough, you’ll land him. If not, you’ll have that much more experience for the next one, just around the bend.
Water temps are fluctuating daily, so keep that thermometer handy and use it often. We’re seeing temps in the upper 60’s and low 70’s somewhere in the 2 pm-4 pm range. Cool-weather moving in this week oughta temper that some more. Floating on the Green and New Fork is still doable but getting bony for some of the bigger boats. Check in at the shop before heading out so you don’t ding up your gel-coat.
Quacker Watch 2021: Nobody’s done it yet, so as a reminder, the first person to stick a 26″ or better trout on a duck fly and present irrefutable evidence gets a couple of really cool hats gratis. We’ve heard of some “almosts” but so far no dice. Yours truly is eagerly awaiting a good story and pics. Get the full story by clicking HERE.
The Fishy Stuff:
Green River: 249 CFS @ Warren Bridge. Flying Ants, Tricos, Hippy Stompers, PMD’s, Cirus Peanuts.
New Fork River: 231 CFS @ Big Piney. Flying ants, Tricos, Chubby Chernobyls, Water Walkers. Floating is pretty limited to small rafts on the upper stretches; bigger hard boats should stay below the East Fork Confluence. Unless you want to get your gel-coat redone, that is.
Seedskadee: 613 CFS @ Fontenelle Dam. As usual, the stretch from the dam to Slate Creek has been fishing well on Tricos, BWO’s, Caddis, and even small foamies like Chubby Chernobyls or Hippy Stompers on the surface and emergers and nymphs underneath. Try an unweighted pheasant tail in size 16 or 18 on an indicator rig if you really want to stack up some numbers. Getting down into Seedskadee proper, temps have been high, so make it a morning game and do some bird watching in the afternoon.
Lakes: Alpine lakes are doing great as fish are packing on pounds to get ready for winter. The annual mosquito apocalypse up there appears to be over, which means much more pleasant days and hungry fish. On the frontcountry lakes, we’re pulling good numbers of Mackinaw pups (sub-10lb class), Rainbows, and Kokanee on trolling gear or jigging. The big dogs are starting to get going with their spawning behavior, so they’ve been a bit more shy and will likely stay on the stubborn side until we get a little further into August or early September.
Cast ‘n Blast: It might be tough to imagine with the heat of this summer, but before long, we’ll start having colder nights and listening to birds whistling overhead. Opening day isn’t that far away, and it’s almost like the dogs know it. October can be phenomenal for ducks around here with very light pressure in the area and plenty of birds. Pair that with chucking streamers for lunker browns, and you’ve got yourself a heck of a day. The only one sleeping harder than you after one of these days will be your guide. Space is limited, so give us a shout to get your trip set up!