Monday, July 17, 2017

Monday 7/17/17 Report- big flies & small flies

I love seeing pictures like this- local guide Zach took his boys out fishing last night, the smiles say it all. It's so important to get kids into the sport- it sounds cliched but they truly are the future of our sport, and all are potential future advocates for trout & cold water conservation. Youth recruitment is overall down in recent years for both fishing & hunting.

Water level is great, medium and very nice, giving anglers the ability to access most spots. As of 9am this morning, total flow is going to 308cfs in the permanent C&R/TMA (274cfs from dam in Riverton plus an additional 34cfs from the Still River). MDC had cut flow by 60cfs Friday, and as of this morning they restored the previous flow. Water temps are running from about mid 50's to mid 60's depending on the day, distance below dam (coldest near dam in Riverton above Still River, warmer in Collinsville/Unionville), and time of day (coolest in early AM). This means that you can still fish all the way downriver to Canton/Collinsville/Unionville, albeit the best summertime fishing in lower river is typically going to be mornings & eves. If you are fishing the lower river, also remember the lowest water temps will always be in the mornings.

With ideal water levels, trout-friendly water temps, and quite a few bugs hatching, we are seeing a lot more rising trout, especially at dusk. If you're out in the evening, stay until dark if you can or you will miss out on some of the best fishing/hatching. Although evenings are prime hatch time, you may find sporadic risers at any point during the day too (try terrestrials such as ants/beetles on them first). Mornings are typically treating nymphers the best (think big Stones, Caddis Pupa, attractors, and smaller #18-22 nymphs). You may also see trout rising to Summer/Winter Caddis #18-24 in the early/mid AM, this is typically when the hatching of them picks up in the summertime (July/August). Fishing remains good to excellent for many anglers, with #16-18 Sulfurs still only in the upper river from roughly Campground all the way up to the dam (downstream end of hatch is moving upriver every day, soon it will be only above the Still in the upper 2 miles below the dam in Riverton), and good numbers of Cahills/Light Cahills #12-14 all the way up too. In the permanent TMA/C&R, look for these bugs in the evening, and maybe a little earlier up in Riverton (colder water near dam there). Attenuata (Blue Wing Olives) in about a #18-20 have been a frequent evening sight- look for the matching size rusty spinners at dusk (they change from olive to rusty brown when they molt to spinners).

As we move into July/August, most (but not all!) of the bugs get smaller, so if you are nymphing make sure to downsize your flies. #18 and even #20 nymphs are typically some of my best summertime fly sizes here, with fly size more important then the exact pattern. Some days small flies are the difference between struggling to hook a trout versus catching more than you can count! The two main exceptions would be Isonychia nymphs (about a #10-12), and big Stonefly nymphs (#6-12, you will see their shucks on the rocks). Iso's are typically active later in the day, say late afternoon through dusk, and big Stonefly nymphs emerge by crawling out onto rocks overnight and into the early/mid mornings. If you do have a big fly on, make sure you also have another pattern in your rig no bigger than a #18, it's more in line with what they are seeing this time of year.

We are seeing a #10-12 Iso hatch from the lower river all the way upstream through the permanent Catch & Release area, and even reports of them well up into Riverton near the dam now. Isonychia are a fast water mayfly, so look for them in riffles, pocket water & pool heads- you WON'T see them popping in the slow to moderate speed pool water. Hatch time can start as early as late afternoon and go as late as dark, typically peaking in early/mid evening. Both the nymph and the dries fish well for this hatch. The nymph is an unusally good swimmer, so try both dead-drifting & swinging it, at moments I've even done well making short strips and retrieving it like a small streamer. July is normally the big Iso month in the permanent C&R/TMA, but they will be present to some degrees straight into mid-fall (they just get smaller).

We are closing out our Sage Salt, Sage Accel, Sage Bolt,  Sage Approach and Sage 4200 series reels, both in store and online and can be found on our Used / Store Specials page. These rods are being discontinued to make room for Sage's 2018 lineup which will be announced in a couple of weeks. Our closeouts are first come first served and won't last long so don't wait to come in or place an order.

Cortland's "Top Secret" Ultra Premium Fluorocarbon Tippet is now in stock in 3x-8x. This stuff has been difficult to keep in stock since it arrived recently. Customer & guide feedback on this new product has been exceptional. No hype or exaggeration, it literally is the world's best fluorocarbon tippet, hands down. Grady & I found it to be super strong, unusually flexible, hold & knot like a champ, very abrasion resistant, have excellent clarity, and just is an amazingly durable tippet. The combination of high break strength, stretch, and perfecty smooth plasma optical quality outer finish make it hard to break off fish & flies, and despite the slightly higher price tag, most using it report they go through it at about half the rate of normal tippet due to it's amazing durability. 

Hatches continue to be good: Attenuata/Blue Wing Olives #18-20, Summer/Winter Caddis #18-24 (mornings in permanent C&R/TMA), Sulfurs #16-18 (Invaria & Dorothea- upriver now, Campground to the dam in Riverton with the bottom edge moving upstream daily), Cream Cahills/Light Cahills #12-14, Isonychia ("Iso's") #10-12, Blue Wing Olives #18-24, Summer Dark Caddis #16-22, Tan Wing Olive bodied Caddis #16-18, and spinners/spent wings of all the above (especially #18-22 rusty spinners at dusk). The best dry fly activity has been in the upper end of the pools/faster broken water including Pipeline, Roberts, Whittemore, People's Forest, Church Pool, Greenwoods, the Wall, and Town Bridge. Terrestrials, ants & beetles are working as well, especially midday when other hatches tend to be sparse. Try also blind-fishing with attractors such as Mini Chernobyls #12-16 & Hippy Stompers #16-18.

Nymphing has been good to excellent for many using things like Caddis Pupa #14-18 (tan, olive-green, Caddis pupa are especially active in the mornings),  Antoine's Perdigons #16, attractor/hot-spot nymphs #14-20 (Frenchies, Triples Threats, Egan's Red Dart, Rainbow, Warrior, etc.), big Stoneflies #8-12 (Pat's Rubber Legs in coffee/black, Golden Stones, etc.) Quasimodo Pheasant Tails #16-22,  olive nymphs #16-20, Isonychia #10-14, Fox Squirrel Nymphs #12-16. The Mop Fly continues to produce good results at moments, and is a good pattern to play "clean-up batter" with in a nice run after you've fished your usual nymphs, it'll often score you 1-3 extra fish. FYI the big Stonefly Nymphs crawl out in the dark and in the early AM, so keep that in mind. They also only live in fast water, especially where the bottom is cobbled with rocks for them to live/hide under. You will see their shucks on the rocks in fast water, and also often on concrete bridge abutments.