August 11, 2015
August 11, 2015:
My sense is that the Trico hatch may be beginning to wane on the field water of the Double R Ranch, or it may be that the fluctuating weather has made the location and time of the Trico hatch vary from day to day. Some days I have encountered (or received reports from members) that trout are feeding in sizeable pods on particular “beats” whereas other days a hatch of Tiny BWOs substitutes for the Trico hatch. Today the Trico hatch did not come off until 9:30 a.m. where I was fishing, but other anglers encountered the hatch earlier in the morning. Most days a Callibaetis hatch has been coming off after the pods dissipate, usually around 10:30 a.m. and ending by Noon or 1:00 p.m., but today it didn’t happen. They key out on the field water continues to be the wind. As soon as the breeze dies off early morning Tricos and/or Tiny BWOs pop up. The wind seems to impede the Callibaetis hatch even if it is sunny. We are still experiencing bank sippers after the pods disappear and this is when the larger trout have been caught, but the brutes are difficult to hook. For your Stream Keeper last week the bank sipper catch included 18 and 19 inch Rainbows. In the afternoon the field water has involved slow fishing but some anglers have been catching the occasional afternoon trout on dry damsel patterns, soft hackles, beetles and other terrestrials. On Sunday afternoon there was a flight of flying ants behind my trailer, not repeated the next day. So, the key is to be observant and take advantage of what you encounter. It is tough fishing but, after all, it is August on Silver Creek. I never promised you a rose garden.
There has been some interesting evening fishing on the field water. The determining factor is the WIND. If and when the wind dies down, you may encounter rising fish on Beats 5 through 9, and from the bridge down to the Sign-In Wagon. Your stream Keeper hasn’t fished the evenings yet, but I suspect that the trout are taking BWO spinners and perhaps Callibaetis as duns are present on my trailer every afternoon.
Your Stream Keeper has also received reports that on still mornings Members have been encountering hatches of the pesky Trico and the more forgiving Callibaetis on The Pond.
ON “OLD” FISHING BOOKS:
The other day I dropped by the second hand store in Shoshone which I had passed probably a thousand times without perusing through its extensive merchandise. Due to a backache I was not in a buying mood, so none of the treasures really caught my eye except for a copy of The Trout and the Fly: A New Approach by Brian Clarke and John Goddard. I didn’t get a chance to look through the book until Sunday when I was waiting for my laundry to dry at the joint in Hailey. That made me reminisce about the early books on fly fishing which we Baby Boomers read in our youth, which coincided with the childhood years of this now popular sport of fly fishing for trout and ocean run fish. Books like: In the Ring of the Rise; A Modern Dry Fly Code; The Living River; Nymph Fishing for Larger Trout; and those glorious books by Halford and Skues. The next generations of landmark fishing works is exemplified by classics such as: Caddisflies; Selective Trout; Hatches; Micropatterns, etc. I believe that the following will eventually be viewed as contemporary classics: Learning from the Water (by Rene Harrop); Tying & Fishing Soft Hackled Nymphs (by Allen McGee). Okay, so I failed to mention a few notables, but this is largely a reflection of my personal preferences. The point is made. If you insist, email me other candidates and I probably won’t argue with you.
The “old” classics commonly focused on problems encountered in fishing mayfly hatches. Their authors would painstakingly detail some new discovery, or for the first time would articulate insights gleaned from decades of plying their personal Holy Water which were transferable to one’s own Home Waters. Us readers would find the most value in the “how to figure it out” or “what to do” components of these dissertations in an era where many anglers were fishing in the dark both day and night. Thus, the old classics seemed to be Minor Revelations. Books like In the Ring of the Rise would focus the fledgling angler on topics such as reading “rise forms,” fishing particular stages of the mayfly, more effective “presentation” and the like. Now, no self-respecting angler could just rely on generic patterns like the Royal Wulff, Adams, Pheasant Tail, Tupp’s Indispensable, etc. and claim the trout “just weren’t biting” when changing to another pattern did not improve his catch. We suddenly realized that progressing in the sport of fly fishing was akin to peeling back layers of an artichoke. The old classics revealed to us the ever increasing levels of sophistication in the Rubric’s Cube of hooking trout on artificial offerings. This made us all aware that fly fishing portended a life time of personal inquiry and opened up a whole new galaxy of experimentation which could be pursued by the average angler and fly tier. And, we were slapped in the face by the realization that maybe the real key to success was the manner of presentation rather than the choice of fly, which of late has become my personal mantra.
The Trout and the Fly: A New Approach continued the revolutionary “how to” tradition and contained perhaps the best early tutorial about “rise form” interpretation, regarding what the trout sees, an early mention of fishing “sunken” spinners, and the new “Upside Down” dun pattern featuring the hook point positioned above the dry fly. It was illustrated with some photographs that are surprisingly fine for the period. It set the mark for future works of this kind from which we have all benefited even if The Trout and the Fly itself has slipped into obscurity. It is one of the many significant fly fishing related books issued by noted publisher Nick Lyons.
The rigors of personal observation and scientific inquiry perhaps came to a head with the landmark Caddisflies. Author Gary LaFontaine employing scuba gear in the course of his discovery that emerging caddisflies develop a light reflecting “gas bubble” on their way to the water surface. This resulted in a lot of readers, myself included, visiting carpet stores in search of samples which we could then dismember and extract Antron fibers to imitate the “trigger” of “the bubble.” Now, the market has provided us with hundreds of colors of Antron yarn and dubbing in nice little plastic packages; times have changed but the revolution of synthetic materials goes on unabated.
It may be that these days it is more difficult for the insightful angler to get an innovative book published, as the market is dictating that publishers stick to conventional books written by fly fishing giants with a pre-existing reputation. What a shame. However, we are occasionally blessed with comprehensive books written by fly tying geniuses, such as Rene Harrop’s recent Learning From the Water. Your Stream Keeper regards this to be the Book of the Decade, essential for any angler serious about fishing spring creeks and rivers that can fish like spring creeks such as the Henry’s Fork, the Firehole and the Missouri. Each year I re-read the appropriate chapter before the advent of specific mayfly hatches as the season progresses on the Double R Ranch. Give it a try; it will improve your game.
Doug Andres, Stream Keeper