Saturday was rough, Sunday was as good as it gets! Welcome to fishing. It’s all about the averages. It was Father’s Day today, so I slept in. I hit a local stream at 10:00 and nymphed for two hours. I educated more than 20 fish in a short two hours on the water. I fished only a Caddis Nymph and the Narly Midge with most of the success on the lower fly (Narly Midge). Fellow guide, Monte, was an early riser today (it was a late night in the Trout Shack last night) and hit the water by 9:30. He fished a different stream and threw an Elk Hair Caddis for five hours straight and said he couldn’t remember having a better outing.
We’re dealing with low water levels and, for the most part, record high early June temperatures. All combine for a quandary when it comes to trout fishing. Warm temperatures, those above 68 or so, means uncomfortable fish and less success, but it also means more stress on the fish when you catch them…potentially killing them, especially the larger fish. I’m telling fisherman to carry a thermometer and be done fishing when the water temps get to 68 degrees…at least in the spot you’re in. Walk back to your vehicle and drive upstream a couple of miles. Likely the water temps will be lower the closer you get to the spring that feeds the stream. I’ve been doing some temperature checks and one road mile can have a three or four degree improvement in water temps. In the end, don’t fish the water at 68 degrees or warmer, even if you can catch fish.
We had some rain in the watersheds on Thursday and again today. Reports of a half inch or less to upwards of an inch. Not enough to do anything other than buy us another few days or a week of the status quo. We’ll need ten inches or more of rain to start gaining on the water levels for a sustained period of time. My advice is to fish early and late. If you can get your fishing in by noon or start it after six pm, you’ll generally have more success and it will be easier on the fish. Of course, cool and cloudy days should not have the water temperature issues that 85 degree plus days have. Normally temps in the 80’s or 90’s aren’t too big of a deal, but with half the water flow of normal, those hot days can warm the water too much.
Caddis will be good for the next few months. Large mayflies still frequent the evenings and sporadically throughout the day, so be prepared for anything. We’re still a few weeks away from Tricos, but the Caddis should satisfy the dry fly enthusiasts until then. Midges are always active, so be prepared for them early or late in the deep pools.
Flies to Fish in the coming weeks:
Nymphs: Copper John, Prince, Pheasant Tail, Hare’s Ear (#18 to #14), Caddis (#16 to #14), Midge (Narly, Zebra, Brassie…and all of the other varieties) (#20 to #16)
Dries: Griffith’s Gnat (#20 to #18), Light Hendrickson (#14), Sulphurs (#14 & #12), March Browns (#12 to #14), Caddis (#16 to #14) Always consider a soft hackle/emerger before/during the hatch….I usually fish it in tandem with my dry fly.
Terrestrials: It’s almost time. I have not fished one yet, but they’ll be out there soon. Small on the hoppers, beatles, crickets, ants.
Fishing report by Kent Kleckner of Bear Creek Anglers in Decorah, Iowa.