July 14TH Double R Fishing Report
Monday, July 14, 2014:
“Here today, gone tomorrow” was the story line Sunday morning. Saturday’s strong Baetis hatch did not show up Sunday morning. But, the Tricos were out in force making for some exceptional dry fly fishing most of the morning and the trout “podded up” in some stretches of the lower field water. Your Stream Keeper once again caught all of his 8 fish on Rene Harrop’s olive bodied Trico No Hackle, in size 22. Later I tried my usually trusty olive bodied Trico Hatch Matcher but only experienced refusals. I came upon two “pigs” feeding consistently in a foot of water but could not hook them on the Hatch Matcher. I noticed that the two Brutes were swirling subsurface rather than sipping duns or spinners on top so I switched to a #20 Harrop Trico Nymph but could not buy a fish. My largest fish of the morning was a 17 inch bank sipping Brown trout. I was off my game and “missed” too many fish today. There were quite a few Callibaetis spinners and I probably should have cut the leader back and fished a Hen Winged Spinner or a Callibaetis Hatch Matcher. Bottom line is that despite the absence of a Baetis it was the most exciting morning for me this season. My Guest landed over 20 fish. The Pond continues to fish well pretty much all day unless the wind blows. On both The Pond and the field water we should soon be seeing a Damselfly hatch. The early morning flights of White Miller Caddis have begun to wane.
EFFECTS OF THE NEW DAM
While admittedly your Stream Keeper is no fisheries biologist, I have to say that I attribute the consistently good fishing in the “field” section of the Double R Ranch to the fact that we have lowered the water temperature as much as 4 degrees by using 80 to 85percentof the bottom release capacity of the new Dam. The winter’s Pond Project is working as designed, apparently worth the $500,000 cost, and may well turn out to be the savior of our trout during this low water year. The other evening Nick Purdy took a swim in The Pond, armed with a thermometer. The surface temperature in The Pond registered 69 degrees, but when Nick took a reading immediately below the new bottom release dam the reading was 59 degrees! Quite a difference from the pre-project era where The Pond warmed the water at a rate of 22 degrees per mile! I suspect that The Pond and the colder water below the new Dam (perhaps all the way down to Hwy 20) will become a refuge as we progress into August and the water on the Preserve and below Highway 20 increasingly heats up.
Meanwhile, due to increasingly higher water temperatures on the Preserve, The Nature Conservancy (TNC) management and its biologists are currently discussing what form of temporary closure is necessary and appropriate. One proposal is to prohibit fishing before 10:00 a.m. We all are probably aware that Montana Fish & Game has traditionally taken the approach of allowing morning fishing and closing rivers after 2:00 p.m. during drought years. I have heard that TNC’s rational for potentially prohibiting early morning fishing is that the culprit in fish kills and stressing is a dangerously low level of dissolved oxygen (cause by heat) rather than the warm temperatures themselves. So, recognizing that dissolved oxygen is at its lowest level at 6:00 a.m. and that it takes several hours of morning sun for photosynthesis to replenish dissolved oxygen, an opening time of 10:00 a.m. is being considered. Keep in mind that Silver Creek lacks the riffle water of your typical freestone river which aids in oxygenating the water; that might be one of the reasons why TNC is not just adopting MFG strategy wholesale. If anyone has more information about this difference in opinion, please flag your Stream Keeper down, stop by my trailer, call me at 503.939.7657 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.