Picabo Angler

Pee-Ka-Boo is a Native American word meaning "Shining Waters."

Picabo Angler is a destination: A full-service fly shop & outfitter located on the banks of world-renowned Silver Creek

June 16, 2017

June 16, 2017.

GREEN DRAKES ON THE DOUBLE R RANCH . . . !

          I’m repeating this early season blog entry on the subject of “Green Drakes” because a nice hatch of them appeared on the field water of the Double R Ranch yesterday. Anglers reportedly scored using my Pheasant Tail Soft Hackle in size 14. Members also encountered Callibaetis on the lower field water and Pale Morning Duns also made their appearance here and there. It is my understanding that the White Miller Caddis has not yet made its early season appearance, but be on the look for them as the mornings warm up. The creek level remains high for this time of year; the wooden boardwalks approaching the creek are flooded, much like what we encounter in the fall.

          If several years ago it had been suggested that I would find the need to prepare a handout regarding the Green Drake mayfly on the Double R Ranch, I would have laughed. Historically, Green Drakes were consistently encountered on the Nature Conservancy Preserve but only rarely downstream. However, since the Pond Project we have started to experience a sparse but fishable Green Drake hatch which, if it shows up, appears sometime during the first ten days of the season. You will recall that the Nature Conservancy performed its pond project rather belatedly that spring of 2014, after the Double R’s project, just as we were about to refill The Pond. This resulted in an unanticipated amount of silt making its way downstream of The Pond, necessitating the 2016 dredging project at Beats 6 and 7. But, the upside of the silt migration was that a quantity of Green Drake nymphs accompanied the silt downstream. I’m sure that the lowering of the temperature of the field water 3 to 5 degrees was also an important factor in the appearance of Green Drakes.

During the first week of the 2014 season on 5 days I observed a sparse hatch of Green Drakes in Beats 4 and 5. During the 2015 season a slightly denser and more widespread hatch of Green Drakes occurred at times during half of the first 10 days. The hatch was sparser and more sporadic during the spring of 2016. During each of the three seasons I hooked a couple of trout on Green Drake dun imitations, chiefly my Green Drake Hatch Matcher. Some days the Green Drakes came off in bright sunlight whereas other times I encountered drake duns under dark stormy skies for 20 minutes until the sun broke through. It appears that the Green Drake has established itself within the field water. Anglers travel from all over our nation to fish the sometimes blizzard hatch on the Henry’s Fork. Perhaps we have something similar to look forward to if, indeed, the migration of Green Drakes to the field water of the Double R becomes a permanent growing emergence.

Given the hatch yesterday, it looks like the Green Drake hatch is now firmly established on the Double R Ranch.

          Green Drakes hatch sporadically. They may only hatch 3 or 4 days out of ten. Numbers are rarely enough to cause trout to hold into feeding stations where trout can feed selectively. The Duns are so large (size 10 to 12), and suffer so severely from their genus’ characteristic of taking a long time to erect and dry their wings to facilitate take-of that trout will focus on the distressed insects even when the hatch is sparse. The scattered big duns get the trout interested in large flies.

           Cloudy days with intermittent spitting rain will frequently give rise to a hatch. So, if you have heard that Green Drakes have been hatching on the Double R and the weather forecast is snotty, you should head down to the field water armed with cripples and large dun imitations. Anglers should also keep in mind that trout retain their memory of such a large bug such that at times the trout continue to take large dun imitations for days after the hatch has ended (as with Brown Drakes, Hexagenia and Callibaetis).

          Emergence of the Green Drake mayfly typically begins late morning to early afternoon and extends for just a brief one to three hours. On days when the hatch is particularly finicky, the Green Drake may come of in ones and twos for five or six hours. The Green Drake hatch commonly explodes when a sunny sky rapidly becomes dark due to rain clouds passing over, then subsides when the sun returns. Some anglers will observe that this is the polar opposite of Callibaetis behavior. Strong winds usually put the Green Drake hatch down.

          Green Drakes are “crawler” type mayflies, preferring the rocky substrate of streams. Consequently, our latest stream restoration project(s) involving the dredging of silt down to gravel cannot but help to expand Green Drake habitat on the Double R field water.

                                        HATCH PROGRESSION:

          Nymphs:

          The Green Drake nymphs are blocky in shape, with 3 tails and yellowish-brown to dark brownish black in color. Your Stream Keeper’s recommended Green Drake nymph patterns include: Charles Brooks’ Ida My, an Idaho classic; the Western Green Drake Nymph; Pheasant Tail soft hackle.

          Cripples & Emergers:

          Because of the Green Drake’s characteristic of taking a long time to fly off the water as duns, you will find that cripples and emergers will often out fish dun patterns. Many Green Drakes are crippled or stillborn during their emergence. Some trout concentrate on those Green Drakes which have become stuck in the surface film, ignoring the perfectly formed duns that are able to make it through the meniscus to ride on top. In cool weather it is common for trout to focus on emergers and to ignore duns.

Productive emerger patterns include: the Lead-Winged Olive; Partridge & Green soft hackle; Tarcher-Style Green Drake Emerger; Craig Matthews’ Green Drake Emerger; Green Drake CDC Emerger.

Cripple patterns bringing anglers success include: Rene Harrop’s Green Drake Last Chance Cripple; Quigley’s Green Drake Cripple.

          Duns:

          When trout are taking Green Drake duns off the surface, many standard dry patterns will work provided they are tied in Green Drake colors. Keep in mind that when the duns have just hatched their underbodies frequently are of a yellowish shade with greenish tops. Thus, you’ll want to pick up dry flies with olive or yellow bodies and gray wings. Productive patterns include: the Compara-dun; the Sparkle Dun; the Thorax Dun; a green bodied Paradrake (which features an extended body); the Green Drake Hatch Matcher.

A large Wulff, with its mayfly profile and colors that are a mix of olive and brown and not nearly as garish as you might think once they are wet in the water and subdued by fly floatant, might owe a degree of its productivity to the scattered and sparse nature of this hatch.

          Spinners:

          Spinner falls of the Green Drake are even sparser than the dun hatch. It is widely reported that the spinners of the Green Drake gather just before dark to mate, and during hot weather may not congregate until well after dusk or before sunrise. For the precious few occasions when you actually have the opportunity to fish the Green Drake spinner fall, you can’t go wrong with Sylvester Nemes’ Green Drake Spinner (body of dark green floss, 3 golden pheasant crest fibers for tailing, rib of fine gold wire, thorax of dark brown dubbing, split wings fashioned from off-white rooster hackle or white poly).

Doug Andres

Stream Keeper, Double R Ranch

June 10, 2017

June 11, 2017

MISSING PICABO

As I’ve mentioned, my arrival in Picabo and the Double R Ranch is delayed this season due to an open sore on the stump of my amputated right foot. It is the first Opening Day that I have failed to fish in 12 years, and as I sit here playing poker in Oregon my thoughts turn to a number of things which I miss about the Picabo area during the early season.

I obviously sorely miss waking up 30 feet from the banks of Silver Creek and hearing the muted sound of creek water rushing by my trailer. Then there is the smell of the foliage made wet by the morning dew. The cackle of Magpies and Eurasian Doves is in the air and I am greeted by hungry cats who are impatient when it comes to being fed. The hum of farm machinery and ranch vehicles running by is a constant reminder that this is a working ranch, not just the trout haven I think of it as being. I walk out with my morning coffee to evaluate the progress my vegetable garden has made in the last 24 hours; it won’t be long before I can start to pick heirloom tomatoes, lettuce, pole beans and fresh herbs.

Due to the heavy snow pack which undoubtedly was accompanied by an unusually thick layer of snow in the desert, we should experience an amazing bloom of wildflowers along the highway between Picabo and Twin Falls. Last year I really enjoyed my many spring trips down to Moss Greenhouses and this year should be even more beautiful, so make that trip for me whenever you can.

I will sorely miss the smell of the first cutting of alfalfa and the feasting on the mice and voles by the squadron of hawks which assembles each spring. It is also a time of plenty for four legged critters including foxes, coyotes and the like.

Naturally, I will miss the succession of early season hatches, both the mayflies and the White Miller Caddis, which provide some exceptional fishing each spring. I’ll even miss the “combat fishing” during the Brown Drake hatch which I attend at Point of Rocks, but just as an onlooker in recent years.

I am anxious to reunite with my two farm cats, “Penguin the Mouser” and his sibling, “Sister Sledge” aka “The Anchor Baby,” who eat me out of house and home under the guise of controlling the number of mice and voles. I also will sorely miss Nick Purdy’s dog “Marley” and the many dogs of Members.

But, first and foremost, I will miss the opportunity to commune with people in town, local friends up the Wood River Valley and Members of The Double R Ranch Fishing Club whom I have not seen since last season. Catching up with their winter exploits is a rite of spring which I look forward to. Several of my friends have built new houses over the winter and I will end up missing their Open House celebrations. I can’t believe that I likely will miss the annual Members’ Barbecue after the July 4th weekend for the first time in memory

Doug Andres, Stream Keeper, Double R Ranch

 

 

 

June 8, 2017

June 8, 2017

FISHING REPORT

Well, I obviously have not been out personally fishing the Double R Ranch water, but I have received numerous reports from Members who have fished the Ranch on different days and at different times. Many have indicated that the early spring fishing has been productive and exciting. It is my understanding that only 5 or 6 anglers have been fishing the Ranch daily, so Members have plenty of solitude and can usually fish their favorite beats. The hatch reports vary, probably because of the different days and times of fishing, but here is an overview of what I have been told. Thus far, it is mostly a mayfly thing.

Blue Winged Olives are definitely the mayfly to look for during the first half of the day. While some larger BWOs were spotted at the beginning of the season, now we are encountering them in the #18 to #22 range. The hatches are denser on snotty, overcast cool days but the bugs can be larger when it is warmer. So, lure the trout with your favorite dun pattern and don’t fail to try emerger, cripple and spinner offerings when the occasion presents itself.

Pale Morning Duns. Currently, Members can encounter two distinct species of Pale Morning Dun mayflies at separate ties of the day. Don’t ask me to identify whether the specific species is Inermis or Emphemereta (sp?) because: (a) I’m not there; (b) I couldn’t do it anyway; and (c) one would have to examine the male genitalia and that is probably illegal in at least 14 states. However, one brand of PMD is about a size 18 to 20 with a distinct yellow coloration, and the other is much larger, a size 16 to 14 in a cream or Light Cahill hue.

Callibaetis are making their appearance, particularly on the sunnier warm days, both on The Pond and in the Field Water. They are a genuine size 16, bordering on size 14. Generally, the action has involved the dun stage of the mayfly; I haven’t received reports of great spinner fishing yet.

Caddis. I’ve received reports of White Miller Caddis appearing here and there on the Field Water in the morning. As the mornings become more consistently warm, look for this caddis to dominate trout attention.

Nymphing has been the most productive tactic, at least based upon the reports (probably because many Members are using subsurface offerings). Callibaetis nymphs and soft hackled flies seem to bring the most success. One new Member landed a 23 inch Brown trout on a Pheasant Tail Soft Hackle, giving the fly a twitch or strip.

Doug Andres, Stream Keeper, Double R Ranch

 

May 29, 2017 Memorial Day

May 29, 2017

MEMORIAL D AY

As much as I have always looked forward to the excitement of fishing the season opener on Silver Creek, I routinely shun fishing on Memorial Day itself. It is out of a deeply held personal respect for the veterans of World War II in particular, but also for other military conflicts.

I myself avoided and opposed the conflict of my youth, the Vietnam War. At the time I was rabidly anti-war, participating in rallies as did many of our youth at the time. I received the typical “student deferment” available to the college bound. I was under a deferment at the time of the first “lottery,” wherein draft numbers were drawn on the basis of the holder’s birthday. I drew 346 out of 365, so I was essentially immune from the draft and dropped my student deferment, completed college and went on to law school. Of three fellow high school sports team mates, one came back in a bag and one in a wheel chair. At the time I didn’t have the emotional maturity to grieve for them, and more or less filed away the losses in my subconscious, as I also did for the four students killed at Kent State, the Kennedy assassinations, etc.

Fast forward to the summer of 1998 when I spent 14 weeks in a Portland hospital due to a bout with a neurological paralysis called Guillan-Barre. One in a hundred Guillan-Barre patients experience and are left with sometimes debilitating back pain, and I was afflicted in that manner. One night in the hospital the pain was so persistent that I ended up receiving 8 shots of morphine before it came under control. I couldn’t sleep and was pretty much at the mercy of my thoughts. The only thing on then network television was the last 25 minutes of Platoon. When it was over I broke down and all the subconscious guilt “on the shelf” came forward. For the next two years every time I watched a show related to WWII or Vietnam I similarly broke down emotionally, even when watching the half hour situation comedy Mash or reading Tom Brokaw’s The Greatest Generation. When I have divulged this reaction to Vietnam veterans they uniformly chide me for feeling guilty over not serving my country during that era, but one can’t help how one feels. Then, one day when I woke from a nap the second half of The Green Berets was on the TV and I watched it without incident.

Since then I have largely been fine except when watching the incredible mini-series Band of Brothers which always airs on Memorial Day, a firm commitment for me. As the years have passed I am okay until the last segment which talks about what the survivors did with the rest of their lives. One would think that would be an uplifting segment but it always does me in.

This year the watching of Band of Brothers left me wondering whether our Nation could win World War II if it was fought today. Putting our current technological superiority aside is the population united enough to personally sacrifice for the freedom of mankind? Are we too enslaved by creature comforts that we cannot endure the rigors of wartime living? Could we all mobilize to struggle for an abstract concept like “freedom?” I wonder whether the youth of the world understands how close we came to the end of freedom. It keep me awake.

Doug Andres, Stream Keeper, Double R Ranch

   

May 26, 2017 - Opening Day Jitters

May 26, 2017

OPENING DAY JITTERS!

One more day to Opening Day of the trout season on the Double R Ranch and Silver Creek as a whole! Tomorrow!

Aah! The magic of Opening Day. The tradition and excitement goes back decades for many of us. As time goes on, the import of Opening Day is not so much how many fish one lands, or even if one hooks a single fish. For me, it is the reality that I am alive for one more season, something to be thankful for and amazed. Another chance to learn something from the creek. Another extended opportunity to observe nature and its creatures. Another series of fishing ventures with good friends. Another series of wardrobe and tackle failures. Of errant casts. Of striking too soon. Of losing fish. Yet, also those days when one gets it all together and figures out which of several insects are prompting rises and what stage of the mayfly is of greatest interest to the trout. And selecting a fly that actually works from your multitude of fly boxes. Surprise, surprise, surprise!

From what I’ve heard, lately on the Double R Ranch water the weather has been somewhat snotty and/or cold. The trout have been rising to Blue Winged Olives that have run as large as a size 16, but they are are to become smaller as the weather warms up. The duns start to come off just before mid-morning and can last a good while, provided the wind stays down. There are no big “pods” of rising trout, just fish rising here and there. But they are working fish, not just sporadic rises. On calm evenings or late afternoon look for BWO spinners hovering over the creek, in past years around my trailer. I’m not sure what the BWO hatch will do when the forecast calls for sunny days and warmer weather. My sense is that the wind will be more of a determinative factor. If we are blessed with sunny warm weather, we might well encounter Callibaetis mayflies. Currently, there have been some Pale Morning Duns in the afternoon.

Doug Andres

Stream Keeper, Double R Ranch

May 23, 2017 - Early Seson Hatch Forecast

May 23, 2017

Early Season Hatch Forecast.

Four days until the season opener on the Double R Ranch. Your Stream Keeper will not be arriving until mid-July due to some medical issues relating to his foot, but I will be writing this blog and providing you with information which hopefully will augment your experience on Silver Creek. Below is my forecast for insect hatches during the opening weeks of the season.

Blue Winged Olives. Baetis mayflies are present on the Ranch water almost every day of the season, in various sizes and species. During the opening weeks look for BWOs hatching in sizes 16 to 18, in true olive coloration, with the more dense emergences occurring on “snotty” mornings. In that event don’t hesitate to cast emergers and cripple patterns.

Pale Morning Duns. You’re most likely to encounter this cream or pale yellow bodied mayfly beauty on the field water in the afternoons, in sizes 16 to 18. Good dun patterns include the Sparkle Dun, the Hatch Matcher, Rene Harrop’s PMD Transitional Dun, and a parachute PMD.

Callibaetis. Starting around mid-day on both The Pond and the field water, look for this usually #16 mayfly whose female “spinner” has speckled wings. Sunny days can produce dense and prolonged hatches both n The Pond and in the field water.

When nothing is hatching, search the field water with generic patterns including soft hackles, mid-sized nymphs and small streamers.

See you soon!

DOUG ANDRES, Stream Keeper

 

 

 

 

                       

                    ANNOUNCEMENTS

Please do not hesitate to contact your Stream Keeper for information or concerns before I arrive in mid-June. You can reach me at 503.939.7657 or dougandres.whenpigflies@gmail.com. Some announcements:

Members’ Barbecue. Mark your calendar for the annual Members’ BBQ which is scheduled for Sunday, July 9, 2017. Details to follow.

Rental Lockers. Currently it looks like we have 2 lockers available for rent. If you are interested, contact the Stream Keeper. The way I have been working this is that Members who rented a locker last season are automatically renewed unless I’m advised that they decline. Hold off on paying your rental fee until I arrive in mid-June.

Gazebo Reservations. As you know, a Member may reserve the Gazebo by putting his or her name on the reservations calendar on the refrigerator inside the Gazebo. Your Stream Keeper will not be able to do this for Members until he arrives in mid-June.

Signing In. In the Stream Keeper’s absence it is still mandatory that Members register themselves, guests and guide using the Sign-In Log that is present in the Sign-In Wagon.

Extra Guests. While the presumption is that each Member will bring only one Guest, the Club Rules allow a Member to bring more than one Guest provided everyone in the party fishes the same Beat and moves together into the following Beat. Also, Members must clear each multiple guest situation in advance with the Stream Keeper, and I will handle this even before I arrive in mid-June.

Opening Day Barbecue. Nick will be barbecuing a couple of lambs for an Opening Day get together at the Gazebo, starting around 4:00 p.m. Plan to bring whatever you choose to drink and a salad, side dish or dessert.

Dredge Project. Due to weather conditions and equipment break downs, our contractor was not able to complete this year’s stream restoration project. We decided to have the contractor remove the dredge boat before the season started so as to avoid interference with the fishing. The project will be completed in the future.

Four Weight Rods. Just a reminder that Club Rules prohibit the use of 3 weight or lighter rods.

Club Rules. Your Stream Keeper would appreciate it if every Member would re-read the Club Rules which were mailed to each member and which are available in the Sign-In Wagon, so as to avoid unnecessary issues and conflicts with other Members.

DOUG ANDRES, Stream Keeper

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May 21, 2017 - Whie Miller Caddis

May 22, 2017

WHITE MILLER CADDIS

Opening Day of trout season on Silver Creek is only 12 days away, May 28, 2016. In case the weather warms up for the beginning of the season such that we encounter flights of White Miller Caddis, your Stream Keeper is posting this blog entry about that species.

The term “White Miller Caddis” is a label applied to a family of caddis flies featuring antennae unusually long for a caddis fly, also colloquially known as the Long Horned Caddis.  The species we encounter early season on Silver Creek is the Oecetis.  A similar species distributed all over Yellowstone National Park and nearby waters is the Nectopsyche.    

On Silver Creek the initial hatches of the White Miller usually occur during the first week of June but may be present on Opening Day if spring arrives early.  A hot afternoon winding down into a warm evening is the prescription for a dense White Miller hatch.  One will see swarms of White Millers dancing over the creek surface in the morning, often before the day’s mayfly hatch.  In the morning and evening on the Double R Ranch field water at that time of year, there is often a blizzard hatch blanketing the creek from bank to bank. 

Your Stream Keeper finds the White Miller to be one of the most difficult caddis to bring to the dry fly, at least in the morning.  I’ve had only sporadic success with standard caddis patterns such as the X Caddis, the EZ Caddis or the Elk Hair Caddis.  Blue Ribbon Flies of West Yellowstone has been touting a new dry pattern which is constructed much like a Stimulator but in a blond shade; tying instructions are available on the web site.   

Historically, on the Double R Ranch field water I have had some success running a #10 Pheasant Tail Soft Hackle subsurface under egg laying flights of White Miller caddis. A #10 soft hackled fly tied with a body of peacock Diamond Braid and a grouse hackle collar also works well, particularly when the setting sun has passed over and makes this pattern sparkle.  Another pattern with proven results is Allen McGee’s “PMD Ascension Flymph” found in his second book.

Consistently hooking trout on a dry caddis pattern has been rather elusive as far as I am concerned, although I have always had limited success with a #14 Light Cahill if it has been tied sparsely. I have invented several patterns directed at this problem. However, it was not until the 2015 season that I lucked onto my solution. One evening during a dense flight of White Millers I tied on, of all things, a #14 Callibaetis Hatch Matcher left on my fly patch from a prior session. I promptly landed a dozen trout, including a 22 inch Brown, my largest trout of the season. I suspect that any sparsely tied light tan dry pattern would produce, but I see no reason to continue to experiment.

Doug Andres, Stream Keeper, Double R Ranch

May 21 2017 - Pale Morning Duns

May 21, 2017

Pale Morning Duns . . . . . i.e. Ephemerella

           I’m posting this blog entry regarding one of the most important and productive hatches on many fly fishing venues, including early season on Silver Creek, in case you are heading to your favorite fly shop to restock your fly boxes.

The Pale Morning Dun hatch is the favorite of many a Western angler, particularly on Silver Creek where the insect has grown to a bona fide size 14 in recent years.  The cream to light yellow body and light to medium gray wings make it easy to recognize the PMD, and the bright, large floating natural allows us to readily identify feeding lanes.  The fishing conditions are generally warmer, wind free and more tolerable to the angler.  The PMD has usually appeared on Silver Creek by mid-June in most years but can even be encountered on Opening Day when we are blessed by an “early” spring, like 2016.  The PMD hatch generally comes off around Noon but warmer days provide for an earlier emergence which lends more validity to the “morning” portion of the name.  On the Ranch they can also hatch late afternoon and into the evening.

The two most common species of PMD are E. Inermis and E. Infrequens.  Distinguishing between these two species is not a reasonable or necessary option for the angler as size, color and other anatomical characteristics overlap to a degree that makes field identification virtually impossible.  To be sure which species you are faced with imitating requires a microscopic examination of the gentalia of the male spinner; if this is of interest, your Stream Keeper recommends that you pursue it at home behind closed doors as it is probably still a crime in at least 14 States.  

HATCH PROGRESSION.

Nymphs & Soft Hackles.

The PMD is classified as a “crawler” mayfly rather than a “swimmer” like the Blue Winged Olive.  It is important to remember that the PMD nymph lives on and among bottom rocks in freestone streams, because in spring creeks the PMD nymph establishes itself in the more stable stream environment where plants have taken root.  In the Ranch water where our stream restoration projects have exposed the gravel bottom and allowed quality aquatic vegetation to take root, we may expect to encounter improved hatches in future years, as contrasted with the “Point of Rocks” water where the density of the PMD hatch has waned in the face of accumulated silt. 

Your Stream Keeper’s favorite nymph patterns for the PMD nymph include: a #14 Pheasant Tail Soft Hackle tied with red-dyed pheasant tail fibers; the Gold Ribbed Hare’s Ear; the traditional Pheasant Tail Nymph tied with red-dyed pheasant tail fibers; and Mercer’s Poxyback PMD Nymph (available from The Fly Shop in Redding, CA). 

When the hatch begins you will noticed that the trout have moved up higher in the water column than during the pre-hatch period.  At this time you will do better fishing a nymph pattern that is un-weighted so that it targets trout within six inches of the surface.  Pulling slightly on the fly line so that the nymph swims in a “burst” will often draw a strike from reluctant trout. As the hatch progresses one might consider tying the nymph pattern below an emerger or dun pattern so that the offering appeals to trout keyed on different stages of the hatch.

Cripples & Emergers.

Even though the PMD is a relatively strong mayfly which does not struggle getting through the meniscus, trout will often target “cripples” to the exclusion of Dun patterns, particularly in calm and glassy situations where one wonders why more hatched Duns are not present.  Your Stream Keeper’s favorite emerger patterns include Quigley’s PMD Cripple, the PMD Foam Emerger, the PMD CDC Emerger, and Rene Harrop’s PMD Cripple.

Duns. 

 There certainly are sessions where heavily hackled Dun patterns are effective on Silver Creek; however, day in and day out greater success will be enjoyed by fishing sparse flies or “no hackle” patterns.  Presentation of the chosen pattern is equally critical.  Your Stream Keeper’s favorite PMD Dun pattern is the Reverse Tied CDC Winged Parachute in sizes 14 and 16. Other “go to” flies for me are the PMD Hatch Matcher, Quigley’s PMD Hackle Stacker, the PMD Sparkle Dun, the PMD Hair Winged Dun, Rene Harrop’s No Hackle Dun, and the PMD Thorax Dun.

Spinners. 

Fishing the evening PMD “spinner fall” can be most exciting, particularly for the larger trout that frequently haunt the banks and qualify as “sippers.”  Even though PMD spinners are generally light to dark brown in color, the same rust colored spinner patterns which work for Blue Winged Olives will usually bring success for the PMD spinners including:  the Red Quill Spinner; the Rusty Sparkle Spinner (i.e. tied with white Z-lon wings); and the CDC Rusty Spinner (i.e. tied with white CDC wings topped with gray Z-lon).  

Doug Andres

Stream Keeper, Double R Ranch

     

May 9, 2017 - Lockers, etc.

May 9, 2017

LOCKERS

If memory serves me well, at the end of last year’ season we had just a single float tube locker available for rental. I have just been advised that another Member is relinquishing his locker. The way I have been working it is that a locker is automatically renewed to the past member. Members interested in a locker should contact me and I will reserve it. Members should hold off on paying the annual rental fee until I arrive in early June. Please let me know if you do not intend to renew your locker this season.

SNOW PACK UPDATE & DREDGING STARTS

Reports are that the snow pack at various points in the Wood River Valley drainage has now risen to 200 percent of usual for this time of the year. Since the snow in the fields has largely disappeared and the severe anticipated runoff in the Wood River has not really started in earnest, the level of Silver Creek in the field water of the Ranch has now dropped down to near normal. But, the fact remains that we have a great snow pack from the standpoint of recharging the aquifer and keeping the creek flow normal throughout the coming season.

DREDGING PROJECT

Nick Purdy advises that the contractor has now arrived on the Ranch and has begun setting up the dredging apparatus. We are optimistic that the project will be completed by Opening Day. If not, one of the most productive places to fish will be just downstream of the active dredging. Last season I watched fish feeding on nymphs displaced by the dredging operation. Kind of like a San Juan Shuffle on steroids!

Doug Andres, Stream Keeper

 

 

May 8, 2017 - Blue Winged Olives

May, 8, 2017

BLUE WINGED OLIVES

          Below you will find a version of my handout (available in the Sign In Wagon) regarding the Blue Winged Olive mayfly (aka Baetis) which Members can find on the rack inside the door of the Sign-In Wagon. I’m posting the handout as a blog entry now, before the season even begins, because I am getting reports of Blue Winged Olives hatching on the Ranch water on a consistent basis and because anglers will encounter BWOs on other waters this time of year.

          Day in and day out throughout the season, there is a possibility that anglers will run into BWOs, whether they are fishing Silver Creek or some other river. Trout will often respond to BWO patterns even when a hatch is not visible to the angler, or is not present on the water to begin with, because fish are used to encountering BWOs most weeks during the season. The question is which species of the Baetis family is the culprit. On Silver Creek we are blessed with spring hatches, summer hatches and fall emergences of a variety of BWO species. Some BWO species are larger than others, some are gray, some are dark olive, some are pale olive and we even have a tan bodied Baetis during the heat of August which is a size 26!

          In my view the most important characteristic for BWOs is size, followed by the pattern’s profile, then color. This may be why anglers have consistent success fishing the BWO hatch with the classic Adams dry fly, the Parachute Adams, the Female Adams (with a yellow butt that imitates an egg sack) and other variants.

Your Stream Keeper’s approach is to maintain a selection of a few dry patterns in a range of sizes and a variety of body colors. I tend to favor the Hatch Matcher, the No Hackle, the Hackle Stacker; the Pulled Down CDC Winged Parachute and the Sparkle Dun. I like to carry these patterns in size 16 to size 22, if I can tie them or buy them that small. I always carry these patterns in a spectrum of body colors, including gray, pale olive, standard olive and dark olive. I don’t feel that the shade of dun hackle is that important, except that I prefer dark dun hackle for Fall Baetis.

B. Tricaudatus, B. Vagans, B. Parvas, Pseudocloeon, . . . . names that we embraced or have been pushed on anglers in the past . . . . .  are part of the Baetis Complex that consists of at least 60 species in the Baetidae family.  For decades entomologists debated species identification and renamed species based on structural criteria; as of late, the debate rages on fueled by DNA analysis.  However, for fly fishermen field identification is irrelevant as the behavior of the Baetidae complex is generally consistent throughout the 60 species. 

All we need to focus on is the size and color of the insect present on Silver Creek, the stage of the hatch that immediately confronts us, and what will likely happen next.  Trout will feed on members of the Baetidae complex whenever they get a chance at them, without bothering to identify them to species level. 

Fly patterns devised under the old classification systems still work under the new nomenclature as they did in the past, although we may have to adjust color and size as we encounter species new to us on water new to us.  Despite sporting new names, the insects themselves display the same old shapes, colors, sizes, and hatch on their old waters according to the same annual and daily schedules.  Many prefer the generic label Blue Winged Olive, and most writers regard the BWO as the most important bug for trout over the season.  Most of us have observed that trout frequently key on BWOs even when a larger insect hatching at the same time. 

Emergence & Duration.  Predicting the time of emergence is not difficult if one keeps several principles in mind.  First, BWOs tolerate heat and sun only to a limited degree.  For that reason, in the early season there generally is one emergence during “banker’s hours,” whereas as the sun dominates one may encounter an early morning hatch and an emergence towards the end of the day.  For the same reason, cooler overcast weather will result in a more protracted but sparser hatch.  A more truncated and denser hatch may attend a hot sunny day; indeed, the BWO hatch may be over before you realize it has started.

HATCH PROGESSION.

Nymphs. 

Nymph activity during the “pre-hatch” period is often more important for the BWO complex than other mayflies.  BWOs are considered “swimmer” mayflies because they freely propel themselves in 3 to 5 inch bursts across the stream via quick pulsing movements of the abdomen combined with flips of the tail.  For that reason, fishing a blunt nymph pattern or a dark soft hackled fly across the creek using the traditional “wet fly swing” presentation can be very effective before the hatch.  Your Stream Keeper’s favorite patterns for this pursuit include:  #14 to #18 Pheasant Tail Soft Hackles tied with red-dyed pheasant tail fibers; a plain old Pheasant Tail Nymph; Mercer’s Poxyback BWO Nymph (available from The Fly Shop in Redding, CA); and the BWO Nymph featuring dark olive or olive tan dubbing to match the natural.  

One needs to be very observant as often the visible “rises” are really nothing more than the backs of fish that are feeding on nymphs just below the surface; pounding the water with Dun patterns or emergers may yield the occasional fish but it is not necessarily the more efficient or productive presentation.

Emergers.

Emerger patterns can be very important when fishing a BWO hatch.  The surface film can be a rather formidable barrier for this small insect especially on smooth currents and calm days; a greater percentage of “cripples” will be present under these conditions.  However, the BWO has an easier time escaping the surface film on “broken” water created by wind. Conversely, when BWOs hatch on calm glassy flats many more of them will fail to make it through the meniscus.  One needs to be vigilant and fish “emerger” patterns when a significant number of “cripples” is observed. 

Your Stream Keeper’s favorite emerger patterns include: the BWO Sparkle Dun; Quigley’s BWO Cripple; Rene Harrop’s BWO Cripple.

Duns. 

To many anglers the emerged BWO Dun provides the greatest sport of the hatch; suddenly, the surface is blanketed by little dark green ships with gray sails.  Some days it seems like every fish is vulnerable to a dun conspicuous dun pattern cast three feet above a working trout; on other days one can’t buy a fish. 

Your Stream Keeper’s favorite BWO Dun patterns include: the Reverse Tied CDC Winged Parachute; the BWO Hatch Matcher; the Olive Sparkle Dun; Quigley’s BWO “Hackle Stacker;” the olive Hair Winged Dun; and the BWO CDC Biot Comparadun.

Spinners.   

After emerging and leaving the water, the BWO transitions into a “spinner,” mate in flight, and later return to hover over the stream, with the female intent upon depositing their fertilized eggs on the surface.  Some BWO females will actually dive into the water and some creative tyers have designed patterns to imitate this behavior.  When fishing spinner patterns to “sippers” along the bank in the evening, most any cripple pattern will work provided that the body is either a shade of olive or rusty brown in hue, such as the Blue Quill Spinner or the Red Quill Spinner, respectively.  The standard Rusty Spinner is a productive pattern for the Baetis spinner fall.

Doug Andres

Stream Keeper, Double R Ranch

          

 

 

May 7, 2017 - Top Ten Books

May, 7, 2017

Stream Keeper’s Top Ten “Must Read” Books

(In No Particular Order)

Over 30 years your Stream Keeper accumulated an extensive library of fly fishing, entomology and fly tying books. However, the space limitations of trailer life forced me to jettison the bulk of my collection. My current focus is on fly pattern books and entomology reference works. If I were required to clear the shelves to just ten books to read this season, it might be the following:

Learning from the Water, Fishing tactics & fly design for the toughest trout, Rene Harrop

Tying & Fishing Soft Hackled Nymphs, Allen McGee. Even BETTER, Allen’s new book, Fly Fishing SOFT HACKES: Nymphs, Emergers and Dry Flies.

Western Mayfly Hatches, From the Rockies to the Pacific, Rick Hafele & Dave Hughes

Mayflies, An Angler’s Study of Trout Water Ephemeroptera, Malcolm Knopp & Robert Cormier

Caddisflies, Gary LaFontaine

Mastering the Spring Creeks, A Fly Angler’s Guide, John Shewey

Selective Trout, A Dramatically New and Scientific Approach to Trout Fishing on Eastern and Western Rivers, Doug Swisher & Carl Richards

Hatches II,  A Complete Guide to Fishing the Hatches of North American Trout Streams,  Al Caucci & Bob Nastasi

Tying Emergers, Jim Schollmeyer & Ted Leeson

Micro Patterns, Tying & Fishing the Small Fly, Darrel Martin

Tricos, A Practical Guide to Fishing and Tying Tricorythode Imitations and Related Patterns, Bob Miller

The Art of Tying the Wet Fly & Fishing the Flymph, James E. Leisenring & Vernon S. Hidy, 1971

A River Never Sleeps, Roderick Haig Brown

Spring Creek, Nick Lyons

PELICAN UPDATE:

            Usually, by now the White Pelicans have arrived in force on Silver Creek and area waters. Last season, on this date there were over 50 pelicans down in the Picabo valley and along the creek. I ran them off the Double R several times but they returned every day. Last year, Idaho Fish & Game funded a temporary position for a “Hazer” to dissuade pelicans from forage flights on Silver Creek. As I mentioned, due to some medical issues I will not be able to make it to Picabo until the beginning of June. So, I personally can’t haze the Pelicans. If any Member is down in the Picabo area, I am requesting that they drive the ranch road and scare off the Pelicans.

Doug Andres

Stream Keeper, Double R Ranch

May 5, 2017 - Green Drakes

May 5, 2017.

GREEN DRAKES.

          I’m including this version of my new “Green Drakes” handout as a blog entry well before the season so that those Members who tie their own flies, place an order each spring, or undertake retail therapy at their fly shop have plenty of time to replenish their stock of Green Drake imitations.

          If several years ago it had been suggested that I would find the need to prepare a handout regarding the Green Drake mayfly on the Double R Ranch, I would have laughed. Historically, Green Drakes were consistently encountered on the Nature Conservancy Preserve but only rarely downstream. However, since the Pond Project we have started to experience a sparse but fishable Green Drake hatch which, if it shows up, appears sometime during the first ten days of the season. You will recall that the Nature Conservancy performed its pond project rather belatedly that spring of 2014, after the Double R’s project, just as we were about to refill The Pond. This resulted in an unanticipated amount of silt making its way downstream of The Pond, necessitating the 2016 dredging project at Beats 6 and 7. But, the upside of the silt migration was that a quantity of Green Drake nymphs accompanied the silt downstream. I’m sure that the lowering of the temperature of the field water 3 to 5 degrees was also an important factor in the appearance of Green Drakes.

During the first week of the 2014 season on 5 days I observed a sparse hatch of Green Drakes in Beats 4 and 5. During the 2015 season a slightly denser and more widespread hatch of Green Drakes occurred at times during half of the first 10 days. The hatch was sparser and more sporadic during the spring of 2016. During each of the three seasons I hooked a couple of trout on Green Drake dun imitations, chiefly my Green Drake Hatch Matcher. Some days the Green Drakes came off in bright sunlight whereas other times I encountered drake duns under dark stormy skies for 20 minutes until the sun broke through. It appears that the Green Drake has established itself within the field water. Anglers travel from all over our nation to fish the sometimes blizzard hatch on the Henry’s Fork. Perhaps we have something similar to look forward to if, indeed, the migration of Green Drakes to the field water of the Double R becomes a permanent growing emergence.

          Green Drakes hatch sporadically. They may only hatch 3 or 4 days out of ten. Numbers are rarely enough to cause trout to hold into feeding stations where trout can feed selectively. The Duns are so large (size 10 to 12), and suffer so severely from their genus’ characteristic of taking a long time to erect and dry their wings to facilitate take-of that trout will focus on the distressed insects even when the hatch is sparse. The scattered big duns get the trout interested in large flies.

           Cloudy days with intermittent spitting rain will frequently give rise to a hatch. So, if you have heard that Green Drakes have been hatching on the Double R and the weather forecast is snotty, you should head down to the field water armed with cripples and large dun imitations. Anglers should also keep in mind that trout retain their memory of such a large bug such that at times the trout continue to take large dun imitations for days after the hatch has ended (as with Brown Drakes, Hexagenia and Callibaetis).

          Emergence of the Green Drake mayfly typically begins late morning to early afternoon and extends for just a brief one to three hours. On days when the hatch is particularly finicky, the Green Drake may come of in ones and twos for five or six hours. The Green Drake hatch commonly explodes when a sunny sky rapidly becomes dark due to rain clouds passing over, then subsides when the sun returns. Some anglers will observe that this is the polar opposite of Callibaetis behavior. Strong winds usually put the Green Drake hatch down.

          Green Drakes are “crawler” type mayflies, preferring the rocky substrate of streams. Consequently, our latest stream restoration project(s) involving the dredging of silt down to gravel cannot but help to expand Green Drake habitat on the Double R field water.

                                        HATCH PROGRESSION:

          Nymphs:

          The Green Drake nymphs are blocky in shape, with 3 tails and yellowish-brown to dark brownish black in color. Your Stream Keeper’s recommended Green Drake nymph patterns include: Charles Brooks’ Ida My, an Idaho classic; the Western Green Drake Nymph; Pheasant Tail soft hackle.

          Cripples & Emergers:

          Because of the Green Drake’s characteristic of taking a long time to fly off the water as duns, you will find that cripples and emergers will often out fish dun patterns. Many Green Drakes are crippled or stillborn during their emergence. Some trout concentrate on those Green Drakes which have become stuck in the surface film, ignoring the perfectly formed duns that are able to make it through the meniscus to ride on top. In cool weather it is common for trout to focus on emergers and to ignore duns.

Productive emerger patterns include: the Lead-Winged Olive; Partridge & Green soft hackle; Tarcher-Style Green Drake Emerger; Craig Matthews’ Green Drake Emerger; Green Drake CDC Emerger.

Cripple patterns bringing anglers success include: Rene Harrop’s Green Drake Last Chance Cripple; Quigley’s Green Drake Cripple.

          Duns:

          When trout are taking Green Drake duns off the surface, many standard dry patterns will work provided they are tied in Green Drake colors. Keep in mind that when the duns have just hatched their underbodies frequently are of a yellowish shade with greenish tops. Thus, you’ll want to pick up dry flies with olive or yellow bodies and gray wings. Productive patterns include: the Compara-dun; the Sparkle Dun; the Thorax Dun; a green bodied Paradrake (which features an extended body); the Green Drake Hatch Matcher.

A large Wulff, with its mayfly profile and colors that are a mix of olive and brown and not nearly as garish as you might think once they are wet in the water and subdued by fly floatant, might owe a degree of its productivity to the scattered and sparse nature of this hatch.

          Spinners:

          Spinner falls of the Green Drake are even sparser than the dun hatch. It is widely reported that the spinners of the Green Drake gather just before dark to mate, and during hot weather may not congregate until well after dusk or before sunrise. For the precious few occasions when you actually have the opportunity to fish the Green Drake spinner fall, you can’t go wrong with Sylvester Nemes’ Green Drake Spinner (body of dark green floss, 3 golden pheasant crest fibers for tailing, rib of fine gold wire, thorax of dark brown dubbing, split wings fashioned from off-white rooster hackle or white poly).

Doug Andres

Stream Keeper, Double R Ranch

May 4, 2017

May 4, 2017.

I’m not sure why, but some winters are dramatically more productive than others from the standpoint of my fly tying output. A comparison between this past winter and the prior winter is illustrative. Two winters ago I only tied one dozen flies, whereas this past winter I tied up scores of dozens. I’m not sure why this happened. If I knew the answer, I would hold the personal secret that would guarantee I would not “waste’ future winters. This year I spent two months in Las Vegas playing poker maybe an average of three days a week, with the remainder of my time devoted to tying flies, hitting out of the ordinary tourist spots and trying 8 Dim Sum restaurants.

While I am poised for the coming season on Silver Creek, it appears that I will have to miss Opening Day and will not arrive in Picabo until mid-June. One evening at a casino I walked too aggressively on my prosthetic leg causing a huge sore to develop, for the first time ever in seven years. For the past two months I have been visiting a “wound clinic” three days a week. The healing is progressing but painfully slowly, such that my target arrival date is June 15.

I found myself having a renewed interest in “spinner” patterns and tied 6 dozen of each of 9 patterns for this year’s “Top Donor’ appreciation selection, including: a #20 Male Trico Spinner (black body); a #18 Female Trico spinner (cream body); a #18 Blue Winged Olive Spinner (olive body); a #18 blue Winged Olive Spinner (gray body); a #16 Callibaetis Hatch Matcher; a #16 Hen Winged Spinner (for Callibaetis); a #18 Blue Winged Olive Hatch Matcher (gray body); a #16 “Tiger” Spinner (a new creation with a body made from the sulphur orange shade ofnew material called “Synthetic Quill Body Wrap.”

I then turned my attention to restocking my depleted inventory of Hatch Matchers, tying up 2 to 4 dozen each of my most productive and favorite patterns, including: #16 to 20 Callibaetis Hatch Matchers; #18 to 20 PMD Hatch Matchers; #16 to 20 Blue Winged Olive Hatch Matchers; and the #16 Purple Haze Hatch Matcher.

One of my favorite delicate spring creek mayfly imitations is a pattern I call the Pulled Down CDC Winged Parachute, featuring Micro Fibbet tailing, thread body, pulled down CDC feathers for wings and Whiting 100 parachute hackle. I tied up 2 to 4 dozen to address each of 3 mayflies we encounter on Silver Creek: #16 to 18 Blue Winged Olive; #16 to 18 PMD; and #16 Mahogany Dun.

Of course I replenished my soft hackle armory by tying up 8 dozen each of my #14 Pheasant Tail Soft Hackle and my #14 Who Knows Freaking Why Soft Hackle.

My future tying agenda, for the remaining weeks before my arrival in Picabo, includes: several Rene Harrop mayfly patterns; Sparkle Duns for Blue Winged Olive and Pale Morning Dun; Allen McGee’s “PMD Ascension Flymph;” Lampl’s Trico Killer; and some dry fly patterns from Allen McGee’s exciting new book on soft hackles, Fly Fishing Soft Hackles: Nymphs, Emergers, and Dry Flies.

I’ll be locked and loaded for this season, whenever it happens to start for me.

Doug Andres, Stream Keeper

  

May 3, 2017

May 3, 2016.

Only 24 days until Opening Day!

Time to start preparing for the trout season which opens on Silver Creek on May 27, 2017. Each fall I simply stick all of my fishing gear in the closet. Terrible approach, but as I go through my annual preparations I become very excited about Opening Day.

Rods.   After putting the rod carrier back on top of your vehicle, turn your attention to your rods. I remove last season’s grime with a wash cloth moistened with a mild dish soap solution, dry the rods off with a soft cloth and apply rod dressing so that the line shoots through the guides of my rod. Now would be a good time to have the fly shop repair any loose guides and check your rod tip. Remember to lubricate each section of your fly rods with ferrule wax so that you can easily break down your rod.

Reels. Detach the spool from your reel and use a tooth brush and a mild dish soap solution to remove accumulated dirt and grit from the innards of your fly reel. Apply reel lubricant per the manufacturer’s specifications. Tighten all screws and the handle.

Fly Lines. Inspect your fly lines for cracks or other wear which can compromise the ability of the line to float or cast. Your Stream Keeper uses only double taper lines and sometimes can avoid a new purchase by simply reversing the line. Nevertheless, one should wash the entire fly line with a mild dish soap solution, dry the line off with a soft cloth and apply a commercially available line dressing.

Waders & Boots. I start each season with a brand new pair of waders and have my fly shop repair any leaks to last season’s waders which become my back up waders. I generally put a new pair of laces on my boots.

Chest Pack/Vest. Since I am going to remove fly boxes from my chest pack anyway, it’s a good opportunity to empty your vest or chest pack and restock essentials like leaders, hemostats, tippet spools, floatant, sunglass wipes, nippers, etc.

Flies. You’ll cut your bill at the fly shop by reorganizing your fly boxes, as you discover flies you thought you had lost or didn’t have in the first place.  This year your Stream Keeper has to reorganize all of his fly boxes because on the last day of my 2015 season I ran over my chest pack, destroying eight expensive stuffed to the gills fly boxes. It’s a great opportunity to make some changes. While I’ll continue to maintain a separate fly box for each mayfly, I have decided to devote special boxes for the flies I find to be most effective, including No Hackles, Hackle Stackers, Hatch Matchers, Spinners and Soft Hackles. If I were you, I’d make an early trip to your fly shop when it has a full fly inventory; you may be disappointed if you wait to buy Trico No Hackles during the height of the hatch.

Doug Andres

Stream Keeper Double R Ranch  

Dredging Permit

February 27, 2017

Dredging Permit Granted!

I am pleased to report that last week the Blaine County Commissioners granted our application for a permit to continue our dredging project from where we left off last season down to the top of Beat #3. So, I feel that Members should expect the same degree of improvement in fishing Beat 6 to Beat #3 as they experienced last season from Beat #7 down to the island at Beat #6. This stretch should be uniformly deeper than in recent years and that great fishing and congregation of large trout along the east bank should return.

The Growing Snow Pack . . . .

Recent winter storms have grown our snow pack to 173 percent of normal for this time of year. I suspect that we should be in good shape even if we experience our customary warm spring rains. The one downside could be that area freestone streams like the Big Wood will get into fishing shape relatively late this spring such that Silver Creek may be the only show in town for the opening weeks of the season.

Triggers . . .

Down here in Las Vegas it is one of my “days off” . . . that is, from playing poker. If I was to play poker every day, I would soon grow weary of a past time which can get boring quickly. So, I limit my play to 3 sessions a week. Lately, there have been a number of activities which have turned my focus to fly design and the characteristics that make a pattern effective. One activity is perusing though fly shop catalogues for inspiration, and I am working on my annual order with Redding’s “The Fly Shop” which I feel offers the best selection of innovative and eclectic fly patterns. A second is tying and putting together my “Top Donor” fly selection for Members whose contributions go beyond the call of duty. Another is poring over the flies contained in Allen McGee’s new book, Fly Fishing Soft Hackles: Nymphs, Emergers and Dry Flies, and re-reading Rene Harrop’s Learning from the Water.

Lately, I have been giving more thought to what I feel is a critical element in the design of productive flies . . . the importance of a “trigger.” In my view, the common characteristic of most all effective patterns is the Trigger. Some of our most reliable flies feature materials which seem to trigger a response from trout; a classic example is the peacock herl and red floss body of the Royal Wulff, as are the partridge, grouse or quail feathers integral to soft hackled flies. A trigger may also be formed by exaggerating one aspect of a fly; examples include the extended body and split tail of the heritage pattern known as the Hatch Matcher and the oversized Zelon tail of my friend Tom Lampl’s Trico Hair Winged Dun.  I have always felt that some spinner patterns are more effective than other spinner offerings if the thorax area is exaggerated, so I have incorporated that element into most of the spinner patterns that I have tied for this season’s Top Donor Selection; thus far, I have tied 6 dozen of each of 7 spinner patterns.

Doug Andres, Stream Keeper, Double R Ranch

 

Soft Hackles

February 18, 2016

Allen McGee’s new book on soft hackles flies.

Last spring a dozen Members attended a program at the Picabo Store put on by Allen McGee, a friend of mine whose research, fly design and book writing focuses on soft hackled flies. A substantial portion of his presentation concerned flies and other material contained in Allen’s new book, Fly Fishing Soft-Hackles: Nymphs Emergers and Dry Flies, Stackpole Books 2017.

Fly fishers who are looking for new and more productive fly patterns will benefit greatly from Allen’s new innovative masterpiece which ventures into the realm of tying particular stages of specific aquatic insects, rather than the traditional generic ties one commonly encounters in the neighborhood fly shop. Anglers who tie their own flies over the winter will find a wealth of creative and original fly patterns, offerings that Silver Creek trout probably have never seen before. Those who prefer to buy their flies will get their juices flowing just by reading Allen’s thoughtful prose and insights into the feeding behavior of trout.

Allen’s exhaustive work covers the nymphal, emerging and adult stages of mayflies, caddis, stoneflies, midges and terrestrials. One will find informative treatment of various hackling techniques, body construction, use of CDC and integration of a wide range of soft hackle feathers into fly design. The photographs of Allen’s flies are remarkably clear and the fly recipes are detailed. Allen offers fly patterns for the complete life cycle of specific aquatic insects, including the lesser known mayflies one only encounters during an outing on isolated trout streams. I view this book as the most significant achievement since Rene Harrop’s Learning From the Water. Pick up a copy.

Snow pack continues to grow!

Reports are that the snow pack in the Wood River Valley continues to grow. With last week’s falling of another 15-20 inches the snow pack to date is above 170 percent of what we usually have by this time of the year! All this bodes well for a great water year on Silver Creek, particularly if the snow continues to accumulate.

Doug Andres, Stream Keeper, Double R Ranch

 

Super Bowl...Super Snow Pack

February 7, 2017

SUPER BOWL . . . SUPER SNOW PACK

My local sources in the Wood River Valley have informed me that over the past 3 days they’ve received a blessing of 24 inches of snow fall, and 5 more inches have already fallen today. Moreover, that brings the snow pack to date for this time of year up to 153 percent of normal. This is obviously great news for the aquifer feeding Silver Creek, particularly given that over the past decade we’ve been fighting water issues. Last season our snow pack was barely above normal. The one fly in the ointment would be the usual warm spring rains which eat away at the snow pack reserve. It is hard for me to imagine that there is 5 feet of accumulated snow where my trailer sits during the fishing season.

Super Bowl Sunday was a blessing for me as well. I watched the game in the Poker Room of the Encore Casino and made $1,500 in profit at the tables and another $80 from the slot machines. On days like Super Bowl Sunday there is a quantity of what we call “stupid money” at the table, guys who really should not be playing such big games and who probably come to Vegas expecting to lose whether they play table games or poker. It never fails me on Super Bowl Sunday or playoff game weekends.

I’ve had a bunch of visitors thus far during my stay in Vegas. Some of them do not play poker and are not fans of table games so with them I have focused on great restaurant dinners and other off the beaten path sights. One was the “Mob Museum” which focuses on the role of organized crime in the early day of Vegas. Another fun sight, particularly for us older citizens, is the “Pinball Hall of Fame” which has free admission and several hundred vintage slot machines which you can play for 25 to 75 cents; it is a lot cheaper than the slots. I caught my first live boxing match several weekend ago, a title bout rematch between Karl Frampton and Leon Santa Cruz at the MGM Grand Casino. I also heard Carlos Santana at the House of Blues, an artist I hadn’t caught since 1971 and he was good as ever.

Since I only play poker three days a week I have had plenty of time to tie flies. Currently, my focus is on the “Top Donor Selection” I tie each season for our most generous donors to the ongoing stream restoration work. This year the theme is “Mostly Spinners” and I am tying various spinner patterns with which I have had success over the years.

Doug Andres, Stream Keeper

 

 

The Perfect Storm

January 20, 2017

It has been suggested that your Stream Keeper maintain his blog over the winter months. My initial reaction was to deny any ability to write about fly fishing when I don’t wet a line all winter and since I have spun all my accumulated yarns in last season’s blog entries. I haven’t fished during the trout off season since I fly fished for Redfish in Pensacola before I lost my leg below the knee back in 2010. But, I suspect that there are so many aspects of the fly fishing world to write about besides the actual day-to-day conduct of the fishing itself. So, I will give it a try, hopefully 2 or 3 days a week.

Right now I am hunkered down in Las Vegas, playing (relatively) high stakes Texas No Limit Hold’em poker 3 days a week, and tying flies, reading and writing the remainder of the time. More fundamentally, I am working on my fly fishing game. How so?

Patience, my friend. How many times last season did I rush my cast, failing to wait for the right time to present the fly to a nice working fish, or not thinking through the selection of the fly? As I look back I realize that I just could not wait. I couldn’t slow down. I was in a rush, which often cost me the fish. Some days it didn’t matter much because the fish were rising feverishly and another noteworthy trout would present itself in a rise a minute later. So, it was not difficult to forget your indiscretion. But, then there were those sessions where the opportunities to hook a trout, big or small, were preciously few, and I would come away from the creek frustrated with my costly impatience. I came to realize that I was lacking in discipline, the discipline of patience.

Over the years I have begun to believe that the quality of having patience, or discipline, is common to both fly fishing and poker, at least in terms of my mental makeup and also my ultimate success at both past times,  . . . if satisfaction is measured in large part by objective success, i.e. the number and quality of fish hooked and the amount of money cashed in at the end of the poker session. When I don’t display the requisite patience, the results are subpar in both endeavors.

In Texas No Limit poker you are initially dealt two “hole” cards. Afterwards, 5 “community” cards are dealt face up: first three cards known as “the flop,” then a single card called the “Turn,” then the final community card called “The River.” After being dealt the hole cards, one has an opportunity to “call” the mandatory ante (known as “the big blind”), raise or fold. One is allowed to check, bet or raise after the Flop, which can be made in any amount, limited only by the chips you have at the time. When you bet all of your chips, it is said that you are “All In.”  The strategy comes down to when to bet, how much to bet, or whether to bet at all. The latter sounds simple, but it is not. Very little “luck” is really involved as the game is really a matter of knowing the percentage chance that your initially good hand will hold up against the improvement in your opponents’ hands as more community cards are dealt successively. Success rises and falls on the timing and amount of one’s bets, raises, checks or folds. There are many dilemmas and decisions to be made.

For example, if you make too large an initial bet with your strong hole cards (e.g.  pair of Aces or Kings) you can scare everyone out of the hand, getting little for a precious big hand that one gets dealt 1 out of 222 times. Yet, if you make a relatively small bet, many players will “call” and join in the hand, and someone may well benefit enough from the three card flop such that your Pocket Aces are now beaten, and you might not learn that until you have thrown bad chips after good chips. You might lose your entire chip stack.

You have to wait for the optimal and strategic time to go “All In” or commit a substantial amount of chips. You need to make sure that you have the best hand (“The Nuts”), or at least that there is a very high percentage chance that you have the winner, before you make a move. There are many situations during a poker session where it is merely probable that you have the winner or at least are ahead of the pack. You could immediately make a big bet, designed to force others to fold so that you can take the pot, but someone with a similarly strong or promising hand might well call and develop a stronger hand with the fall of the next community card. Had you better display patience and just check, or make a smaller bet to build the potential pot until you are sure that you have the winning hand?

You can get impatient and frustrated waiting for the Perfect Storm at the poker table. I would estimate that in 1 out of 150 hands one runs into the situation where one has a “monster” hand and an opponent has a slightly inferior hand but must be committed to it. This situation is where one makes his money. You can sit there all day waiting for this Perfect Storm, and it may not happen even once in a session. When I say that poker is boring and frustrating, I am really saying that some days the cards require more patience than I seem to be able to muster.

So, too, with fly fishing on Silver Creek, at least in my experience. If I can fish in a patient manner, I make the most of the occasional opportunity to hook a large or fussy trout. To me, the Perfect Storm of trout fishing occurs when you encounter a rising trophy trout and have the patience to assess what the trout is feeding on, to select an appropriate fly, and to make a presentation which dupes your quarry.  The reward and satisfaction can be overwhelming when patience is displayed. In contrast, when I cast feverishly and impatiently there is often a sense of disappointment in myself, even if I have landed a bunch of fish, for I mourn the mistakes I have made in my haste and the lost opportunity.

Doug Andres, Stream Keeper, Double R Ranch

 

  

October 3, 2016

October 3, 2016

Sorry for the hiatus in blog entries. I’ve been a bit undisciplined recently as I have been fishing the creek with my two youngest sons. As the years pass I’ve come to the conclusion that there is nothing better than fishing with these two young men who are 19 and 24 years old respectively. We only had three days to ply the waters of the Double R Ranch but they were memorable. Not because of the fishing but for the opportunity to catch up on each other’s lives over dinners, campfires and on the water. We fought inclement weather, periods of nasty wind and the rain, but we braved it together and managed to catch some trout. For my youngest son it was his introduction to Silver Creek and it is safe to say that he is “hooked.” A return visit next spring is in the offing.

The Mahogany Duns are hatching and the fish are keen to them. Nice brown bodied #16 mayflies which look like Chinese junks floating down the stream and disappearing into the mouth of trout. Many of the trout we took were bank sippers but other trout were taking the bugs right in the chop created by the fall breeze. Just about any brown or mahogany bodied dun imitation will work fine. These imitations present a very visible fly so it is hard to “miss” a take, although we managed to do that quite often. Thus far I have seen no reason to fish a spinner, nymph or emerger imitation. The trout are readily taking dun patterns with gray or dark wings.

The Mahogany action can start at any time of the day, depending on the air temperature, wind or sun. Anglers have had success with Callibaetis nymphs as well. Large ginger caddis are also emerging throughout the day, as you can see trout clearing the water in their effort to grab emerging caddis before they escape the water surface. The adult caddis are a rather large size 14, much like an October Caddis but a bit smaller with no true orange coloration. Try fishing an X Caddis or Elk Hair Caddis along the bank between beats 14 and 11 (i.e. from the Gazebo Bridge down past the Sign-In Wagon). You might be surprised by the size of your catch.

Doug Andres, Stream Keeper, Double R Ranch