May 30, 2016
May, 30, 2016
2016 STREAM KEEPER’S LETTER TO MEMBERS
Welcome back to the Double R . . . . 2016 promises to be another productive fishing season. This newsletter should serve to bring you up to date on some new developments impacting your angling experience.
I am thankful that Nick Purdy has brought me back for a fourth season as your Stream Keeper. If you need any assistance, you can flag me down, stop by my trailer, phone me (503.939.7657) or pop me an email at email@example.com.
Stream Restoration – Beat 7 and Island at Beat 6.
This year’s stream restoration project reached completion on April 21, 2016. We retained our dredging company to clean out the accumulated silt along both banks beginning at the head of Beat #7 down to Beat #6, then removing the silt from the back channel behind the island all the way down to the cosmetic wooden rail fence, then up the road side of the island. The cost exceeded $110,000.
Beat #7 fished very well the past several years early in the season with soft hackles, nymphs and small streamers but primarily in the middle of the stream, as the current had pushed the silt outward creating skinny water up against both banks and a somewhat deeper channel in the middle. Now that the dredging project has removed the silt from both banks we should experience some nice subsurface fishing for trout holding against the bank. Members will also be able to float closer to both banks, giving them a better shot with dry flies at those large fish that hold against the south and north banks sippng mayflies.
But, the most exciting aspect of this restoration is the removal of 5 feet of silt – all the way down to bare gravel – behind the island. Some of you may remember the time when anglers could float behind the island and hook large Brown trout both at the entrance to the back channel and down at its return to the main channel. I have not been a Member that long; all I can recall is making 50 foot casts to the entrance, hooking trophy fish and losing them as they ran around behind the island.
The project removed silt below the island and on the road side of the island. Fish should hold against the island’s bank and in the dredged section below the island. I am optimistic that the larger Brown trout will once again be found in front of the wooden cosmetic rail fence.
Just how good will the fishing be during the first season after the project’s completion? I wish that I had a crystal ball. While it may take an entire season for the aquatic vegetation to re-establish itself (and the “swimming” category of mayfly species, e.g. Baetis and Pale Morning Duns require good quality vegetation in order to thrive) the center of the channel between Beats 6 and 7 were largely undisturbed by the dredging which isgood thing for those mayflies. We should be aided by the twice a day movement of nymphs commonly called “behavioral drift.” When I arrived at the Double R on April 1st before the project was completed, trout were already rising to gray and black midges and Baetis. Since the project was completed there have been days when the best concentration of rising trout could be found within the dredging boundaries. I would appreciate it if Members would give me reports concerning their angling experience and the quantity and species of aquatic insects they encounter this season within the project site.
I felt that a rule change was necessary in order to minimize angler conflicts over the back channel. I can envision the situation where one Member fishes through Beat #7 and is within sight of the entrance to the back channel only to observe another Member entering the creek at beat #6 and paddling his float tube to the head of the back channel. Both Members likely will want to fish the back channel and would feel that they have preference. In the past there have been conflicts between Members in similar circumstances. For example, one Member’s perception will be that in floating down from Beat #7 he became so close to the entrance to the back channel that the other member in essence “jumped in front” of him. When I have been asked to address such conflicts in the past, I have always stressed stream etiquette and the need for Members to communicate on-stream, just as anglers do on non-private waters. Nevertheless, given the anticipated amount of interest in fishing this newly rehabilitated water, we thought it best to enact a new rule in order to minimize angler conflicts. The new rule states that the entrance to the back channel is part of Beat #6; in other words, that a Member who enters at the Beat #6 access point can move his/her float tube to the back channel entrance and thus can expect to fish behind the island. But, we all need to use common sense and stream etiquette. I will not be sympathetic to anyone who “jumps in front” and cites this new rule. Talk about it or wait your turn. For example, if a Member is hunkered down behind the island, after a discussion there should be no problem with another member fishing the main channel and continuing on down to Beat #5.
Lastly, we have a long standing rule which encourages Members to not fish the same Beat day after day, so that other Members have a fair opportunity to fish the same water you also prefer. Beat #7 and Beat #6 (including the back channel) obviously will be of great interest this season. Let’s be courteous and give each other a shot at what will likely be some exciting fishing.
Opening Day. .
A number of strategies should bear fruit at the opening of this season. I’ve been watching the bug hatching and the fish rising since my arrival on April 1st and the creek appears alive once again. The situation for opening day and the early season should be as follows:
Blue Winged Olives.
This Baetis hatch is coming off at variable times in the morning and one may encounter both Duns and Spinners out in the field water and on The Pond. Think about swimming #14 to #18 Pheasant Tail soft hackles, Pheasant Tail nymphs, and other dark nymphs before the emergence of Blue Winged Olives. Standard Baetis emergers and dry patterns should produce provided they are sparsely tied. Your Stream Keeper’s favorites include: the Sprout emerger; Quigley’s BWO Cripple; BWO Hatch Matcher; BWO Hackle Stacker; the BWO Sparkle Dun; Adams; and Rene Harrop’s patterns. Try a Rusty Spinner pattern for those “bank sippers” after the hatch subsides.
Pale Morning Duns.
The PMDs spread out fairly widely over the field water and have been coming off mid-morning, generally after the Baetis. The Duns are of a pretty nice size this season, generally a #16 but sometimes a #14 or a #18. Pheasant Tail nymphs, dark bodied nymphs and soft hackles work well before the hatch. Your Stream Keeper’s favorite surface imitations include: parachutes such as the PMD CDC Cut Winged Parachute; the PMD Hackle Stacker; the PMD Sparkle Dun; Quigley’s PMD Cripple and Rene Harrop’s patterns. In my experience, PMD flies tied in “Light Cahill” shades are move effective than bright yellow bodied flies during the PMD hatch.
During early season, these large mayflies may be encountered on warm, sunny afternoons both on the field water and out on The Pond. A Callibaetis nymph or emerger is a fine choice before Duns or spinners appear on the field water or on The Pond. During a bona fide hatch your Stream Keeper tends to favor his Callibaetis Hatch Matcher, Quigley’s Callibaetis Cripple and the classic Hen Winged Spinner.
You may remember that we had a hatch of green drake mayflies out on the field water the first week of the past two seasons, often after foul weather, for the first time in my memory. My sense is that the nymphs came down with the silt that escaped the Pond Project, and that the Green Drakes were able to establish themselves and have thrived in the lower temperatures created by the bottom release capability of the New Dam. Keep an eye open for them. Make sure that your imitations are sparsely tied.
White Miller Caddis. In the early season we are blessed with a species of “Long Horn Caddis” called the Nectopsyche, a cousin to the Ocetis found on the Firehole and Madison rivers inside Yellowstone National Park. During the height of this hatch one will see clouds of these rather large caddis hovering over the water. Despite the quantity of these caddis and the number of trout splashing and rocketing out of the water, until recently the only way your Stream Keeper could hook trout was to swing a #10 Pheasant Tail soft hackle subsurface under the hovering caddis. However, last season your Stream Keeper scored well dry fly fishing with, of all things, a #14 Callibaetis Hatch Matcher! I suspect that most large sparsely tied light colored dry flies would work, such as a Blonde Wulff, a Light Cahill or the like.
New Access Improvements.
This spring Nick and I have focused on giving Members more fishing opportunities by expanding access.
We’ve made two new access improvements on the south side of The Pond. You’ll find two new shot boardwalks on the south side of The Pond; now you can float from the 20 foot boardwalk on the south side of The Pond all the way down to the irrigation gate and easily exit.
We also installed two short boardwalks between the entrances to Beat #12 and Beat #11, which are “exit only.” Now you can launch at Beat #12 and fish the productive holding water where this deep section of the creek widens into pond-like water, and get out in the shallows at the tip of the new boardwalks.
On a number of the existing boardwalks we have replaced the deteriorating plywood and applied a –skid proof overlay.
We have extendednumber of handrails to make it easier to enter and exit the creek.
Soft Hackle “Seminar” – August 8, 2016.
We are pleased to announce that Allen McGee (author of Tying and Fishing Soft-Hackled Nymphs and another recently released book on soft hackled flies) has agreed to provide Members with his Power Point presentation about Soft Hackles at the Picabo Store on August 8, 2016. It is scheduled to begin at 2:00 p.m. and a late lunch will be available for purchase. Your Stream Keeper is of the opinion that McGee writes the best books concerning soft hackled flies. By reservation only, so that we can be sure to have enough food and seating. For reservations, please contact your Stream Keeper by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
All ten of the Golden Willow shade trees planted at the picnic tables last season have survived the winter and have leafed out. Most of the 518 willows appear to have fared similarly.
A couple of years go Phil Lynch and Mike Buich suggested that I put on some aquatic entomology classes for Members, providing information on the mayflies we enjoy n the Double R Ranch water. I finally obtained some Power Point lessons and have been working on two classes, one to be held in mid-June focusing on spring and summer mayflies and the other to be held in late August focusing on the fall mayflies. The classes will describe the mayflies, will discuss aspects of their life cycle of interest to anglers and will identify some flies that are productive. The classes will be held at the Picabo Store and an informal meal will be available. Further details will be announced in the Sign-In Wagon and via my blog which can be found at the Picabo Angler website. The Spring/Summer Insect class will be held in mid-June and the Fall Insect class will be presented in August, both starting around 5:00 p.m. By reservation only; contact your Stream Keeper.
Fishing from the bank.
Just a reminder that fishing from the bank is permitted on some stretches of the Ranch water but not allowed elsewhere.
Permitted. Members may fish from the bank on The Pond, upstream of the Gazebo Bridge, at the Kiddie Pond, and on the south side of the creek for 20 feet immediately below the Gazebo Bridge.
Prohibited. It is not permitted to fish from the bank anywhere else downstream of the Gazebo Bridge. Beginning at the Gazebo Bridge and extending down to Hwy 20, angling is not permitted from the banks.
Islands. Members are not allowed to stand on, or fish from, islands on the Ranch including islands in The Pond or the island at the head of Beat #6. The purposes of this new rule are to protect nesting birds and to minimize angler conflicts.
Access Points. Starting at the Gazebo Bridge, anglers may enter and exit the creek only at the numbered access points. No one is permitted to enter or exit the creek anywhere in between the numbered designated access points. We have removed all but one of the “No Entry” signs because we felt they were ugly, but the policy still remains in order to prevent the riparian areas from being degraded and in order to minimize angler conflicts.
“New’ Mayfly Sightings.
From what I have read over the winter, our lowered water temperature may enable “new” mayflies (i.e. mayflies present on the Conservancy water) to establish themselves in the field water or on The Pond over the next several years. I would appreciate being informed of sightings of Sulphurs, Gray Drakes and Green Drakes. If you think have observed some other “new” species, please let me know.
I would be glad to give individual fly tying lessons to Members, to show them how to tie the Hatch Matcher, CDC Winged Parachute, Cut Winged Parachute, Pheasant Tail soft hackle, “Who Knows Freaking Why” soft hackle and other of your Stream Keeper’s favorite offerings for Ranch trout.
Obey Speed Limit.
Please make a better effort to obey the 5 mile per hour speed limit on the road which follows the field water. Nick has dumped tons of gravel over the past several years and high speed travel creates pot holes and creates additional maintenance expense.
Expanded Merchandise Selection.
John Huber has a nice selection of Double R and Picabo Angler clothing and merchandise at the fly shop in the Picabo Store.
This season we continue to prohibit guides from guiding parties consisting entirely of Non-Members. Members may be accompanied by the guide of their preference, but we encourage Members to give Picabo Angler guides an opportunity. Please make sure that your guide makes an entry in the “Guide Book” as well as signing you in on the Angler Log. It is a Member’s responsibility to ensure that this record keeping happens. A Member is responsible for insuring that his/her Guide complies with Cub Rules. PRINT LEGIBLY!
Last season we allowed Members to bring more than one Guest provided that the Member and Guests all stayed within the same Beat and crossed over into the next Beat all together (or if they fished The Pond). All a Member has to do is give the Stream Keeper prior notice; please do not bother Nick Purdy with these notifications as part of my focus is to take the day-to-day burdens off Nick’s shoulders. It worked out well last season. However, there were several incidents where this protocol was violated (i.e. a Member and his Guest(s) in two different Beats) with adverse impacts on other Members. If this happens, it will force the Stream Keeper to deny permission to the offending Member for more than one Guest.
Even if a Member has only one Guest, they still must fish together in the same Beat at all times.
This season I will again be authoring a (more or less) daily blog which you can find on the Picabo Angler website, picaboandgler.com. Just go to the website and click on the “Double R Fishing Report” tab. The main reason I am frequently out on the water is to be able to provide Members with accurate current information specific to the Double R water (rather than to Silver Creek in general) on both the Blog and the Hatch Chart in the Sign-In Wagon.
We have continued the restriction that fly rods lighter than a 4 weight are prohibited on the Ranch.
On the refrigerator of the Gazebo you will find a calendar on which you can record your reservation for that facility.
No access at Bud’s House.
Bud’s house has been rented for the season by a Member. Out of courtesy, please refrain from parking or entering the creek at Bud’s House. You can still launch your float tube at Beat #1 (just upstream of “The Cabin”), float down to the metal bridge, walk back along the gravel road until just upstream of The Cabin property where a hand rail and green metal gate allows you to get back to your vehicle.
Parties, Parties, Parties!
The annual Members’ Barbecue is set for Saturday, July 2nd.
The Fourth Annual “Stream Keeper’s Paella Party” is set for 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, September 10 at the Gazebo. The menu will once again feature my now infamous Paella (with boneless chicken thighs, shrimp, scallops and spicy sausage), heirloom tomato salad, Big Wood Epi bread, sliced watermelon and, for dessert, grilled peaches with ice cream. Bring your own beverages but no side dishes. Feel free to bring an appetizer.
Two winters ago we widened the irrigation ditch (coming off the southeast corner of The Pond) to create a fishing pool for your children, grandchildren and other beginning anglers. There are fish in there right now!
Doug Andres, Stream Keeper, Double R Ranch