Man, it’s hot out there lately. The warmer water temps have brought us a strong Trico hatch and some good rising fish in the last few days. Please do your part and take care of the fish out there—fight ’em quick and keep ‘em wet. There’s even still a few PMDs around to give you a full summer smorgasbord of dry fly fishing. The hoppers are getting louder and louder in the hay fields around the river, and that magical time of attractor dry fly fishing has arrived. It’s a good time to get out there, but get out early and avoid the heat.
Dry flies: ‘Tis the season for early bird anglers, but night owls can still get into some consistent caddis risers and the terrestrial bite has been solid mid-morning through the early afternoon. For the latter two approaches, your arsenal should include a few different CDC caddis patterns (double ducks and cornfeds are crowd favorites), and a menu of chubbies in various sizes and shades. The best trico action can be found long before banker’s hours, and a hi-vis rusty or trico spinner in #18 or #20 with a well-practiced reach cast is hard to beat.
Nymphing: Trico nymphs have entered the equation, especially in the upper river. It’s a good idea to have at least one small black/olive nymph on your setup this time of year. A Zebra Midge will often work as well as anything else. There are still lots of PMD and caddis nymphs worth having right now too. I like to mix in small (18) Two Bit Hookers, Pheasant Tails and other classics. The fish are holding steadily in the mid river current lines, and they are looking for the fast water. Low flows have a lot of our fish smack dab in the center of the river. Weight is optional at this point, but having a B in the mix is a good idea in some spots.
Streamers: Streamer fishing has been decent, as well as a productive strategy to mix up your program if the nymphing runs are jammed and heads are down. Pounding the banks on overcast/cool-ish days will yield the most success, with some caveats: Target those banks with deeper ledges, and don’t shy away from less-obvious lies, like deep structure a rod’s length away from the banks, or fast-moving rifles with intermittent pools. Generally speaking, fish are holding deep in cooler water, and a sinking leader or intermediate-sink line does the trick to get your stuff in the zone quick. Vary your retrieve and FISH TO THE BOAT. Many streamer eats have been on the backcast stroke, when the streamer is nearly out of the water, or on a post-strip swing, jazzed up with a little jerk now and then. In short: Don’t give up on your fly.
Other bulletins: Sunscreen and sun protection are key this time of year. Bring plenty of water and be ready for some hot afternoons. Fight, handle, and release fish as quickly as possible. Use a no-touch, quick-release tool for removing flies, like the Snively “No Spook” or a Ketchum Release. With the warm days and the higher water temps we’re opening earlier. Shop hours are 6-6 for a while. Free coffee and semi-intelligent shop banter guaranteed.