July 12, 2016
July 12, 2016
Take your pick!
It was a surprising day in terms of the variety of insects and its inauspicious start. The prior night the air temperature dropped to the high 30s so I figured that the Trico hatch would start late and likely be retarded. I sat in the truck with the heat blasting, drinking coffee until 9:30 a.m. I had almost given up hope of an interesting morning and had thought about retreating to the Picabo Store for a plate full of protein and unneeded calories. But, then I spied the first rises of the day, both upstream and downstream of one of my favorite beats of the upper field water. I was caught in the cross fire. There were only three other Members out fishing the field water.
To my surprise, when I got on the water a smattering of Callibaetis was all that I encountered. . . . no White Miller Caddis or Tricos. So I messed around with several patterns that turned out not to be productive: the classic Hen Winged Spinner and my Callibaetis Hatch Matcher. Fish were working everywhere but I couldn’t touch a trout with the Callibaetis imitations. As time passed from a distance I could actually see small mayflies on the surface and my first guess was that they were tiny Baetis since it had been a cold night. But when the working fish congregated in pods I knew that the Trico hatch was on. And, what a dense Trico hatch it turned out to be! And how difficult the trout turned out to be! I tried a variety of dun and spinner patterns: No Hackles, Para Spinners, CDC Reverse Tied winged Tricos, White bodied spinners, etc. To no avail. I finally tried one of my favorite emergers, the “Brooks Sprout” which I had picked up the day before at Picabo Anglers. It was a size 20 with a black body and black hackle. It turned out to be the Fly of the Day in terms of getting strikes but I only once got a hook set sufficient to land the trout, gorgeous, fat 17 inch Rainbow. Speaking of which, have you noticed how fat and healthy looking the Rainbows are this year on the Double R?
As the stage of the hatch progressed the Brooks Sprout stopped producing takes and I noticed Baetis spinners over by the reeds and a few Trico spinners hovering over the working fish. I decided to offer the trout my favorite AC/DC spinner for when I can’t tell which species of spinner are the main attraction. It is a little somber green biot bodied spinner with gray poly wings with prominent tails, very visible to the angler. It was responsible for two more fish.
To my surprise some Pale Morning Duns emerged when the Trico hatch wound down. Not the usual cream colored size 14 monsters but, rather, the more modest size 18 yellow hued beauties we are more accustomed to run into on other venues. Of course, I had left my PMD fly box back in the trailer. Big mistake! But, I managed to interest a few trout with the single PMD dry that was on my fly patch from earlier in the season which was a size 14 CDC Winged Parachute. Mostly, the trout just “nosed” the fly. Later in the day I returned my PMD box to the float tube and, just to be safe, I picked up some more size 18 PMD dries at Picabo Angler.
The hatches were still not done for the day. I could have stayed to fish to the relatively sparse adult damsel hatch but my failure to eat breakfast took its toll and I left.
Doug Andres, Stream Keeper, Double R Ranch