July 25, 2016
July 25, 2016
The reason that I have not posted blog entries for several days is because I once again had “technical difficulties” beyond my capability to solve. So, this email concerns about a week of fishing on the Double R Ranch. I’m sure that I won’t have similar difficulties more than another dozen times this season . . . .
THE CALLIBAETIS HEN WINGED SPINNER
Last Wednesday we were blessed with the greatest flight of Trico spinners that I have ever witnessed on the Double R Ranch field water. It looked like a picture on a magazine (although I have always suspected that some editing chicanery is involved). The cloud of Trico mayfly spinners extended 20 yards downstream from the head of Beat #7, 15 feet high and reached out into the middle of the creek. At times it was hard to breath without ingesting one’s recommended daily protein allotment. Trout were “podded up” all through Beat #7 as well as at the throat and tail out behind the island. After witnessing this majestic sight, in my view there can be no doubt that the dredging project has not only not lessened the insect population, but has already improved this section overall.
Perhaps “blessed” is not the appropriate word, as the fish were tough during the 2 hour Trico activity. I only landed one trout on a Trico imitation, my friend Tom Lampl’s Sparkle Dun, but also I hooked and lost a half dozen other fish. Then we had a nice hatch of Blue Winged Olives with pale gray wings and the trout were on them. I managed to land two fish using an oversized BWO pattern and missed several more trout. After the BWOs waned I noticed a fair amount of spent Callibaetis spinners on the water. It looked to me that the damsels were about to take over and I figured I had a brief window before the trout lost interest in mayflies. So, I cut back the leader to about 5X and tied on my favorite Callibaetis spinner pattern, the classic “Hen Winged Spinner.” Okay, I frequently mention that pattern in this blog, but with good reason. The larger trout love it. On my 4th cast I hooked my largest trout of the year. The huge brown totally cleared the water and violently shook its head. Now, I can kill myself for not dropping my rod tip to give it more slack, as it broke off. I’ll probably fail to drop my rod tip another 20 times this season.
Last Thursday, I spoke with a Member who fished behind the island and in the dredged section of Beat #6. He had a great day, landing two rather large fish and missing others. He was very enthusiastic about the changes to the upper end of Beat #6.
In my view and that of many other Members, the dredging project has met or exceed expectations. Not only have the trout moved into the deepened water but the insect hatches are strong throughout the dredging project. We spent $120,000 on this project, although only 30 percent of the membership financially contributed to the cost. We cannot continue to rely so heavily on the minority of Members who historically have made very generous contributions. You know, if every one of our hundred or so Members contributed $1,000 we would have the money to dredge the additional 120 yards which Nick Purdy is planning for this winter. Remember, all donations are handled by our 501(3)(c) organization (“Idaho Community Foundation”) and you qualify for a tax deduction. Your Stream Keeper is making a $5,000 donation this year (having had a good winter at the poker tables down South).
Bug activity and actively feeding trout remained the norm through the posting of this blog entry. When the wind dies down in the morning the Trico hatch has come on and, depending where you are on the Ranch water, there have been thick spinner Trico falls. On some of the mornings when the air temperature has been a bit chilly (relative to this time of year) the Tricos have been preceded by a sparse hatch of #18 Blue Winged Olive duns which have interested the fish. But, once the Ticos emerge or their spinners congregate, the trout generally have lost interest in the BWOs. We have seen a quantity of Callibaetis spinners and some duns. Some mornings a hatch of #18 truly yellow bodied Pale Morning Duns have followed the Tricos and we are now seeing a significant amount of damsels as well. I have noticed a bunch of mature grasshoppers on the gravel road when the sun warms them up so I would throw a hopper pattern on breezy afternoons or, for that matter, any afternoon. I favor a #10 Dave’s Hopper. Don’t neglect your beetle and ant patterns, either.
My sense is that the Trico hatch has reached its apex and will wane over the next week or two. When that happens, look for a resurgence of #20 to #22 Blue Winged Olives and some size 26 tan bodied BWOs. The hot weather should also bring the Callibaetis back in force. The damsels and grasshoppers should provide some interesting fishing as the heat persists. Just keep your eyes open and check the spider webs before you launch your float tube.
Members, I urge you to comply with the 5 mph speed limit on the gravels roads. It is plainly stated in the Club Rules that were sent to each of you and which are available in the Sign-In Wagon. Lately, I have noticed a number of Members literally “racing” to their intended beat. Each year Nick Purdy spends thousands of dollars on gravel, blading and labor costs in an effort to maintain the gravel roads. Driving your vehicle in excess of the 5 mph speed limit only serves to create pot holes and further degrade the gravel roads. Your Stream Keeper will be enforcing the 5 mph speed limit. Also, remember that the speed limit on the paved Ranch roads is 15 mph.
Doug Andres, Stream Keeper, Double R Ranch