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October 6TH Double R Fishing Report

Monday, October 6, 2014:

The past several days on the Ranch water there has been a Blue Winged Olive hatch around 2:00 in the afternoon and a Mahogany Dun hatch around 3:30 p.m. and the sporadic appearance of those bugs here and there most afternoons before the height of the hatch.  Oh, there have also been some rising fish in the morning, probably feeding on a few BWO duns or spinners.  I suspect that this pattern will continue on these warm days before the weather takes a turn for the south.  Guys are also scoring on beetles.

Yesterday afternoon I went out around 3:00 in search of the Mahogany Duns.  As soon as I hit the water the breeze came up.  I could see a few Mahogany Duns but they were getting blown off and the rise form of the trout indicated fish swirling below the surface.  So, I tied on a #18 Pheasant Tail soft hackle tied with red dyed pheasant tail fibers which made it a good match for the Mahogany nymph.  I ended up having an epic afternoon on the soft hackled flies, hooking 12 trout, landing 8 Rainbows up to 17 inches and missing several nice “tugs.”  I’ll be out there this afternoon!

Doug Andres

Stream Keeper 

October 3RD Double R Fishing Report

Friday, October 3, 2014:


The first of what I suspect will be an extended period of great fall fishing.  I got on the field water with a friend around 2:00 p.m. and we encountered  a nice hatch of #20 Baetis, which I “matched” with a #20 green bodied Female Trico No Hackle for just one fish.  After some frustration I switched tactics, changing over to a #20 soft hackle which I swung in front of “swirling” fish, hooking up once.  About 3:45 p.m. a really good Mahogany Dun hatch came off and the fish started to get greedy around 4:15 p.m. when my friend had to start his drive to Salt Lake City so I had to leave the feeding fish.  So, the afternoon may be when you’ll want to get down to the Ranch water.

Back by popular demand . . . . . 


Most of us know at least one fly fisherman who will only tie on dry flies.  Some of Them will only cast to rising trout.  Some of Them will only cast in an upstream direction.  Some of Them will only cast to individual rising fish.  Some of them will only fish Dun patterns, eschewing cripples, emergers or even Knock Down Duns.  Some of Them aren’t even English, or of aristocratic lineage.  Some of you are Them.  Some of you aren’t Them but have Them angler friends whom you perceive to be a bit snooty.  And, you can’t understand how a fly fisherman would rather not catch fish, or even cast a line, if a dry fly is not attached to his leader.  You feel the whole thing puts too much pressure on taking a friend out on your favorite productive water.  You’ve tried to communicate the joy of hooking large territorial Brown trout on streamers, large soft hackles and other “meaty” flies.  You don’t know what to think of Them, or how to deal with Them on a consistent basis.

I call them Missionary Position Fly Fishers, because they only fish On Top.

Hey, I’m not one of Them but I’ve known or run into my fair share of Them.  I used to be somewhat intolerant of Them, but have now found Peace.

At the end of productive morning on the Henry’s Fork I asked a guy at the Last Chance access how his day had been.  With a deep frown he told me that he had not made a single cast because “there were no Risers.”  I ran into him the next day around Noon and he related the same experience, appearing a bit more disappointed than the previous day.  On the third day he was elated, having cast to three fish, albeit without a hook up.  

The next year at the Wood Road access on the Henry’s Fork I approached the boat ramp in my float tube and came upon a half dozen dudes from Japan, all standing on the bank obviously on the lookout for rising fish.  I wanted to fish the usually productive water in front of them but didn’t want to cause an international incident, so I just left the river.  I made the same float the next morning and came upon the same contingent engaged in the same observation mode with fly in keeper.  After sitting in my tube for a half hour enjoying lunch and a cigar, I decided to push the tube out past what I felt was reasonable casting range and fished my Who Knows Freaking Why soft hackle further out into the Henry’s Fork, landing a half dozen spirited Henry’s Fork rainbows in 20 minutes.  I heard one guy remark to his companions that I was a very good fly fisher.  As walked past them back to my shuttle car I asked in my broken Japanese whether they wanted to see the fly I had been using.  As they eagerly approached me I was thinking that this could be the start of a bond, then, one of them appeared disappointed and said to me, “Wetto fry.”  I felt like I had been caught fishing a nymph downstream on an historic English caulk stream not wearing Tweed.  

Perhaps my most Immaculate Deception was conversing with recently deceased Bob Evans who fished the Henry’s Fork more than a hundred days a season, but only with the Dry Fly.  Bob was a great mentor to dozens (perhaps hundreds) of developing anglers over the years, taught me a lot and gave me numerous shuttles in return for one of my home baked pies.  But, he was rumored to break off all communication if he found out that you fished the Dreaded Nymph.  Bob died without discovering my affinity for fishing soft hackles subsurface (sometimes blind rather than in front of working fish!)  One of my deepest regrets is having deceived such a fine person (even more so than lying to my ex-wife when it was occasionally necessary to explain my late returns from fishing trips).   

My best friend in these parts is one of Them; he will only cast dry flies to individual working fish and will not run a dry fly through a pod of fish, even during a Trico hatch.  Over the years we’ve had a number of spirited discussions about what I refer to as his “problem.”  We’ve long past the Pedestrian and have elevated the debate to a more lofty search for Truth and a focus on Entomological Integrity.  I’ve taken the postulated that the selection of a fly which does not imitate the current stage of the insect being preyed upon by the trout is wholly lacking Integrity.  (It was relatively easy for us to come to this fundamental understanding because we both disdain “attracter” dry flies.)   I have pointed out that many anglers incorrectly assume that the “ring in the rise” is always made by a trout taking a dun, or at least cripple or emerging dun in the film.  At the early stage of the hatch the rise form is often a swirl made by a trout nipping away at nymphs well under the meniscus.  From this I have urged my good friend that fishing a dry pattern to trout swirling for the nymphal stage of mayflies involves no more Integrity than blindly swinging a soft hackle under hovering clouds of White Miller Caddis or, even worse, blind.  I convinced my friend that fishing a Pheasant Tail soft hackle to fish swirling for PMD nymphs might very well be using a proper imitation of a specific stage of the insect, provided that the presentation was in harmony with the situation and gave him a selection of small soft hackles which he used with success, once.  

The ungainly debate between us rages on, although we become less passionate about The Controversy as seasons come and go.  In the course of these discussions I have learned a lot from my friend, and a lot about my good friend, both about angling and about Life.  While most of us arrive at the juncture where it is not the landing of fish which is important and we are more focused on mere hooking of trout by whatever means possible, my friend has attained a rare purity of satisfaction which comes from hooking a solitary trout on a fly he can see.  While it is either not for me, or I am evolving at a snail’s pace, I respect his Quest and his Arrival.  We should all respect Missionary Position Fly Fishermen, even if their stated preference may not involve my friend’s Zen principles.  After all, it’s just fishing. 

Doug Andres

Stream Keeper

October 2ND Double R Fishing Report "WILLOW PROJECT UPDATE"

Thursday October 2, 2014:

The weather was just too nice to spur the fall insects to hatch in force.  It was warm and sunny the first half of the day and just a few Blue Winged Olives were hatching in the morning with a few fish rising to them.  Mid-afternoon brought out a similarly sparse hatch and a buddy and I fished during the rather strong afternoon breeze.  We had just a few rises on a BWO dry then I scored a 14 inch Rainbow swinging a #14 Pheasant Tail soft hackle tight against the bank.  It took a hot shower, several Bourbons and a hot meal for me to warm up.


Progress continues to be made on my “Silver Creek Willow Project.”  Members and others have now contributed a total of $4,000, which will enable the Club to purchase the equivalent of 265 five gallon buckets of rooted willows.  

I recently was accompanied in a site inspection by Jeff Klausmann of Intermountain Aquatics, based out of Driggs, Idaho, which will be the vendor of the plants and trees we will install on the banks of Silver Creek on the Double R Ranch next April.  The mission that day was to determine where particular species of shrubs would be planted.  I learned that willows and other native plants used for re-vegetation need to be planted in specific locations along the slope down to the creek bank, in order to achieve the proper amount of moisture.  Jeff advised that, in essence, willows could be planted where the streamside Canary Grass is located and that areas containing Sedge would have to receive River Birch.  The Canary Grass can potentially out compete newly planted willows so later this month Intermountain Aquatics will return to spray round circles in the Canary Grass with environmentally safe herbicide.  I will personally cover the cost of the herbicide spraying and related flagging; 100 percent of the contributions to the Willow Project will go towards willows, river birch and 8 shade trees to be planted, 2 each, at the take outs at Beats 1, 3, 4 and 5.  Your Stream Keeper will arrive in Picabo at the beginning of April so that he is able to supervise the delivery and planting of the willows, river birch and trees.    

Doug Andres

Stream Keeper

September 30TH Double R Fishing Report "Paraleptophlebia"

Tuesday, September 30, 2014:

In the face of the forecast which called for 17 mile an hour wind, only the strong willed angler fished today.  It drizzled for a while this morning but then the rain subsided, the wind waned and the sun came out and illuminated a partly cloudy sky.  It was a beautiful fall day for maybe an hour before the slight breeze started to climb to gale force gusts.  A few #18 Blue Winged Olives appeared, causing a few trout to rise; no Mahogany Duns were sighted today, much less Callibaetis.  When the wind got strong I switched to a #18 Pheasant Tail soft hackle and picked up a single 15 inch Rainbow by swimming the fly parallel to the bank.  The forecasted wind came up and that’s all she wrote for the day.  Nap time!

MAHOGANY DUNS . . . . !      aka Paraleptophlebia

The relatively large Mahogany Dun mayfly is a welcome blessing each fall after matching our wits with the much smaller Blue Winged Olive and the miniscule Trico.  On Silver Creek this mayfly usually tapes out at a size 14 or a size 16.  Entomologists tell us that water temperatures need to plunge to 50 degrees for several days before Mahogany Duns will hatch but we don’t achieve those temperatures locally.  The daily emergence may start around 10:00 or 11:00 a.m. and can last two, three or more hours, ending between 1:00 and 4:00 p.m.  As with most mayflies, Mahogany Dun hatches last longer on cloudy days and even rainy days, and are condensed into a shorter time period on sunny days.  Mahogany Dun hatches tend to be on the sparse side unless conditions are optimal.

The distinctive feature of this “crawler” mayfly is that it generally resides and emerges along banks, at current seams, in pools, eddies and along the edges of weed beds.  For that reason the beginning of a Mahogany Dun hatch is often not immediately noticed by the angler.  But the Mahogany Dun hatch will often prompt larger trout to move into the shallows and sip daintily.  It is a prescription for exciting and excellent fishing by the more vigilant angler.  


The Mahogany Dun nymphs will migrate to the edges of the creek, can live in water just inches deep, and may emerge by crawling out on rocks or vegetation.  The larger and more mature nymphs tend to rest and browse on rooted vegetation and congregate in calmer water where leaves and other detritus accumulate.  The nymphs themselves are such poor swimmers that they may drift a long distance in the current before regaining a hold on the creek’s substrate.  Immediately before hatching the nymphs make an awkward swim to the surface; the duns escape the nymphal shuck in, or just under, the surface film.  The nymphs may make several trips to the surface before hatching.  Thus, there are occasions when fishing a nymph can be productive, including by slowly swimming a brown soft hackle along weed beds and the bank.  Effective nymph patterns include:  the traditional Pheasant Tail nymph; a Gold Ribbed Hare’s Ear Nymph; a dark Pheasant Tail Soft Hackle; the Western Red Quill Nymph; the Western Blue Quill Nymph.


There are times when the angler will notice “bulging” along the shoreline and has to decide whether the rise form involves trout taking emergers or duns.  If you see bubbles in the ring of the rise then observe whether floating duns are being taken or are floating through the feeding lane undisturbed.  If the duns are not being intercepted, then the trout are likely feeding on emergers.  Try one of a number of standard emerger patterns which hold in the film and have dark gray brown bodies, including the “floating nymph” design.  Typical patterns that may be effective in this situation include:  the Western Red Quill Floating Nymph; the Western Red Quill Emerger; the Western Blue Quill Floating Nymph; and the Western Blue Quill Emerger.  Alternatively, one could simply start with a dun pattern and switch to an emerger pattern if the dun pattern does not produce within a dozen casts to the bulging trout.


Duns of this mayfly look like large, slow moving Chinese junks ambling down the creek.  Trout will often take hatched Mahogany Duns in preference to more numerous but smaller Blue Winged Olives.  One excellent strategy is to drift a dun pattern within 6 inches of the edge of a weed bed or the bank.  Due to the fact that the duns hatch in calmer water, it is often beneficial to lengthen one’s leader to 12 to 15 feet and reduce your tippet to 5X or 6X.  Productive dun imitations include: the Mahogany Cut Winged Parachute; the Mahogany Sparkle Dun; the Mahogany Thorax Dun; the Mahogany No Hackle; and the Red Quill and Blue Quill, both of which are Catskill types in design.


Spinner falls of the Mahogany Dun can be important to the angler who fishes late in the day.  The Mahogany Dun spinners usually swarm in early evening and drop to the water about the time when it becomes difficult to see.  Bring your flashlight and reading glasses so that it is not difficult to change spinner patterns.  Unlike the other stages of the Mahogany Dun discussed above, the spinner can be fished out in open water with equal success.  Two spinner patterns which are effective for just about any mayfly are equally productive when fished at the end of a Mahogany Dun session.  The Blue Quill Spinner’s body is constructed from a stripped peacock quill, its wing is fashioned from white hen hackle tips (tied spent or semi-spent), and the hackle is light blue dun, clipped top and bottom.  The Red Quill Spinner’s body is from a reddish-brown dyed hackle stem, its wings are made from white hen hackle tips (tied spent or semi-spent), and brown hackle is used, clipped top and bottom.           

Doug Andres

Stream Keeper

September 29TH Double R Fishing Report

Monday, September 29, 2014:

Today’s fishing on the Double R Ranch was a mixed bag, in that one’s success depended upon where and when you fished.  A buddy and I fished the field water between 10:00 a.m. and Noon, encountering a few Mahogany Duns and a few Baetis.  We each had strikes on dry imitations for both insects.  I “matched” the #18 Baetis with a #20 green bodied female Trico No Hackle.  After lunch my buddy fished The Pond for an hour and had several strikes on a small olive bodied parachute.  For about 2 hours he fished from the gazebo bridge back down to my trailer and encountered a good hatch of, all things, Callibaetis duns and landed a half dozen fish.  Just goes to show you that one has to be observant and willing to wait out the rain and the breeze.  What tomorrow brings is anyone’s guess.  Look for the hatches to stabilize and become more reliable as the weather improves starting on Wednesday.  

Doug Andres

Stream Keeper

September 28TH Double R Fishing Report "Mahogany Duns"

Sunday, September 28, 2014:

Mahogany Duns . . . !

Yes, it rained most of yesterday and this morning it was chilly, overcast and threatening rain.  Plagued by curiosity, I just had to launch the float tube at Beat #8 of the field water of the Double R Ranch around 10:00 a.m.  No fish were rising and initially no insects were on the water.  But within a half hour my buddy and I started to see some extremely tiny Baetis which were more cream colored than olive.  Then we saw a few Mahogany Duns floating by.  Fish started to take the smaller of the two bugs, within the calm margins left by the slight breeze.  My friend picked up a fat 15 inch Brown on a Mahogany Dun dry, but that was all she wrote for a while.  Around 11:30 a.m. the Mahogany hatch exploded.  They looked like a fleet of Chinese Junks floating through the Hong Kong harbor.  A beautiful sight after weeks of size 22 Baetis, for sure.  I finally landed a Rainbow on my favorite Mahogany parachute.  Fish were rising everywhere and the surface was covered with Mahoganies, but we were frozen to the bone and opted to return to my trailer for some hot soup and the last Mariner game of the season.  

The Fall hatches are upon us, guys and girls.

Doug Andres

Stream Keeper

September 27TH Double R Fishing Report "Fall Fishing"

Saturday, September 27, 2014:


During out ten days of Indian Summer fishing has been challenging no matter where you have fished Silver Creek.  I felt fortunate on those days when I only landed two or three fish.  But, each day was precious because I figured it was the very last day of sunny warm weather.  A couple of days ago I pulled out my cold weather fishing clothing, just in case the weather would finally change.  

On the Double R Ranch down in down in the field we had been experiencing Baetis  spinners followed by duns starting around 9:00 a.m., and lasting for maybe 2 hours if one was lucky.  In the mid to late afternoon there often were rising fish but all I could identify were size 24 Tan Baetis . . . . the Callibaetis seemed to have disappeared.  Then a few Mahogany Duns showed up but the fish did not exactly key on them.  The fish had developed lock jaw.  When my favorite Blue Winged Olive dun and spinner patterns failed I would often turn to a #18 Pheasant Tail soft hackle or my “Who Knows Freaking Why” soft hackle.  We were in the Transitional Doldrums which plague us on Silver Creek a different week each year as we await the great fall fishing.

Well, the weather changed last night.  The forecast is for gray, overcast snotty weather which should bring out those wonderful appetizing Fall Baetis and Mahogany Duns which appear both on the field water and on The Pond.  Also be on the lookout for that species of Baetis which locally is called the “Pistachio Dun.”  It is distinguished by its lime green body and the trout love them; one can often pick up fish with a lime green bodied dun pattern even if the naturals are not on the water. I saw my first Fall Ginger Caddis the other day, about a size 12.   Terrestrial patterns remain a good choice in between hatches and late in the day.

Doug Andres

Stream Keeper


September 18TH Double R Fishing Report "Indian Summer"

Thursday, September 18, 2014:


On the Double R Ranch the hatches have been fairly consistent and reliable the past week, while the cooperation of the trout have ranged from willingness to high level lock jaw depending on the day.  

The most reliable bug has been the Callibaetis.  You can pretty much depend on the Callibaetis starting to come off starting round 11:00 a.m. each morning.  Some days the Duns are the first to be sighted while on other late mornings or early afternoons the spinners appear first.  Some days you will encounter simultaneous significant quantities of both Duns and spinners.  Anglers have had success with Dun patterns such as the Parachute Adams, Callibaetis Thorax Dun, gray or tan bodied Comparaduns and Harrop’s Callibaetis No Hackle.  Effective spinner patterns have included the Callibaetis Hatch Matcher and the Poly Winged Spinner.  A good rule of thumb is to fish size 18 in “glass” conditions, size 16 when the wind creates a slight “chop” on the water surface, and size 14 in breezy situations.  

The smallish (size 20-22) Summer Baetis are still thriving during the current Indian Summer.  Mid-morning you are likely to encounter Baetis spinners and/or and emergence of Baetis Duns.  I have taken most of my fish long the edges of the now substantial weed beds and along the riparian vegetation that lines the “real” banks.  I tent to use olive bodied patterns for the emerging duns and rusty brown bodied patterns for the bank sippers which suck down spinners late in the morning just as the Callibaetis get started.  

I have encountered Mahogany Duns on two early evenings thus far.  They have been running at size 16 and their great visibility is a welcome relief from the bugs that make one squint.  Look for this bug to become the Bug of the Day once the weather cools down towards the end of this month and through October, both on the field water and on The Pond.

Doug Andres

Stream Keeper

September 5TH Double R Fishing Report "Transition"

Thursday, September 4, 2014:

Members (and other readers) I apologize for the one month drought in blog entries but the “mother board” of my old computer busted and it took me quite a while to purchase and set up my new lap top.  But, I’m back at it, whatever “it” may be.


We are now smack in the middle of the “transition” period of the season, i.e. between summer bugs and fall insects.  Many years that portends pretty marginal and unreliable fishing but that is not the case this season.  The trout are rising all over the field water of the Double R and up on The Pond, all day in the absence of wind.  With the great variance in weather one day to the next, we are experiencing an ever changing assortment of mayflies.  There also are 2 inch long grasshoppers next to the field water and some anglers are scoring on large black beetles in the wind.  But, the unanswered question is, “Where are the damsels?”   

Callibaetis has been my favorite hatch to fish these days.  Provided the wind does not get too strong, we have been experiencing Callibaetis action starting as early as 11:00 a.m.  Some days the action begins with a spinner flight followed by a hatch of Duns, some days the order is reversed, and some days they occur simultaneously.  The “naturals” currently are about a size 16.  One tip:  If you are fishing the Callibaetis dun hatch or spinner fall in “glass” conditions (which happens many days around noon for an hour until the wind picks up) one will have greater success with a pattern that is one size smaller, these days a size 18.  I have been using a size 18 Callibaetis Hatch Matcher followed by a size 16 Harrop Callibaetis No Hackle with a salmon colored body.  I’ve heard that Members have been scoring with Callibaetis Emergers. 

Blue Winged Olives (aka “Baetis”) can be a troublesome hatch to fish these days.  The “summer” Baetis have been on the field water for a month and most of us did well with them until the uncharacteristic overcast even rainy conditions of this August became a daily reality.  There are nearly 50 species within the Baetis family and those in the summer group thrive in the heat but hate the cold, rainy overcast weather which makes Fall Baetis explode.  Last night’s frost in Picabo may well be the “opening day” for our Fall Baetis, as I have observed dark gray spinners with brown bodies which are characteristic of some Fall Baetis species.  Tie or buy some spinners with this coloration (if you can find them) or drag out your favorite Rusty Spinner pattern, especially for those after-the-hatch “bank sippers.”

Mahogany Duns are my favorite fall insect and they have just started to appear on the water.  This bug will be the feature of a future blog entry.  They are a size 16.  They are most often seen in the quiet calm margins along the (true) bank or a patch of aquatic vegetation.  On the Ranch they are present both on the field water and on The Pond.  

“Pistachio” Duns.   Members have reported sightings of this unusual Baetis which we see each Fall on the field water, but generally not on The Pond.  You can use just about any dun pattern (Comparadun, Sparkle Dun, etc.) to imitate this unique mayfly, provided the body is made using Rene Harrop’s “Professional Dubbing” in his “Caddis Green” color (or something pretty close tending towards a chartreuse coloration).  Currently the “natural” is running around a size 18 but in the weeks to come the bug will appear in size 16.  

2nd annual “Stream Keeper’s Paella Party.”

Members of the Double R Ranch Fishing Club are invited to my annual Paella Party set to begin at 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, September 13 at the Gazebo.  I will be serving my infamous Paella together with a tomato salad, sliced watermelon, Epi bread and a dessert of Grilled Peaches with Vanilla Ice Cream.  

If you live under a bridge and haven’t encountered Paella before, it is a spicy Spanish rice dish.  I load the rice up with boneless chicken thighs, spicy Italian sausage, shrimp, scallops, crawfish tails and mussels.  

Bring your own adult beverage, soft drink or bottled water.  

If you really feel that you MUST bring something else (always appreciated) an appetizer would be fine.

Come and celebrate the end of summer and the beginning of fine fall fishing.


July 9TH Double R Fishing Report

Wednesday, July 9, 2014:


Early this morning in the lower end of the field water the usual clouds of White Miller Caddis were hovering over the surface and fish were working so I made the mistake of assuming that the trout were onto emerging caddis.  I remained under this delusion for an hour, heaving soft hackles and dry patterns with nothing but refusals and the isolated take.  Ultimately, I realized that the beginning of the Trico hatch was overlapping with the caddis, and then I began to see Trico duns on the water.  So, I lightened my tippet to 6X and tried three different colored Trico Hatch Matchers (black, green and sparkly green), to no avail.  The water was too glassy for the Hatch Matcher.  I changed to a size 22 Rene Harrop Trico No Hackle with a green body, my Ace-In-the-Hole pattern for Fussy Finned Trico Gluttons.  The results were immediate and amazing.  I only landed 6 trout but they included 18 inch and 20 inch Browns.  I “missed” or lost another dozen fish, all on the No Hackle.  The working fish pretty much gave it up for Lent around Noon, so I opted for a Mushroom Swiss Cheese Burger at the Picabo Store.  Last night, right behind my trailer trout were rising until dark on “small stuff” which I surmise were emerging male Trico duns, black bodied.  

Evening fishing is becoming interesting; some nights it could be Trico or Blue Winged Olive mayflies, other nights it can be flights of White Miller Caddis.  If no wind is in the forecast, consider coming down for some evening fishing, either on the field water or on The Pond.  

Speaking of which, with no wind to speak of, the trout have been rising all day and during the evening on The Pond.


Don’t be the guy who enters a gun fight armed with just a switch blade.  In my view, more than any other mayfly, the hatch of Tricos requires specific tackle, powers of observation and focused technique.

PODS:  Often you’ll find both Tricos and BWOs on the creek at the same time and we all struggle with figuring out which culprit the trout are taking.  A good rule of thumb is that when the trout are “podded up” they are keyed on the Trico.

NARROW FEEDING LANES:   One rarely observes a trout moving any distance to take a Trico dun.  I don’t know why this is the case; perhaps the small bit of nutrition is just not worth the effort.  Trout just sit there and sip what comes directly to them.  As a consequence, the feeding lane is narrow, narrower that is the case with just about any other mayfly.  A successful strategy involves drifting the Trico dry pattern straight downstream to a rising trout; the fish will suck the fly in and turn at least slightly, and that is when you should raise your rod tip.   When casting at an angle to a bank sipper you will want to pile up 2 or 3 feet of slack tippet several feet above the working fish so that your imitation drifts over the trout like a natural insect.         

LONG LEADERS:   Tricos usually do not tolerate the wind, so the monster Trico hatches you encounter will generally be on “glassy” water or, on windy days, in the calm margins along the bank.  The relatively thick fly lines can easily spook trout under these conditions (even a double taper line) so an extra-long leader will enable you to keep an appropriate distance from your quarry.  I’ve said before that my favorite leader is the Trout Hunter 14 foot 6 X knotless leader.  When fishing the Trico hatch I will augment that leader with 3 feet of 7X tippet because 7X readily piles up and is relatively easy to thread into the tiny eyes of size 20 and 22 flies.

DISCIPLINED CASTING:  The Trico hatch on glassy water does not call for sloppy or undisciplined casting; to the contrary, it is the time to bring out your casting “A Game.”  First of all, do not false cast nine million times; you’ll only spook fish by casting shadows over the water.  Second, refrain from casting blindly or right into the middle of a pod of trout; again, you will spook the closer fish with your fly line.  Instead, let you fly line and leader drift out of sight of working fish while you study the water, select a fish to target and figure out where it is best to drop your fly and how you want the leader to lay on the water.  Then, and only then, do you cast.  I often take the approach of pulling back on the fly line just as the leader is unfurling, so that the fly lands on the water gently with minimal disturbance; this also will minimize drag as the fly line, leader and tippet drift downstream at the same approximate speed.   

FLY PATTERNS:  I hate to say it but, as a general rule, when fishing the Trico hatch the specific fly patterns you use are less important than everything discussed above.  You only need an olive bodied dun pattern, a black bodied spinner pattern and a green bodied spinner pattern.  You are better off buying a quantity of one of each of those three basic patterns which have worked for you in the past than carrying a few of 50 different patterns.  The primary reason is angler confidence.  The secondary reason is redundancy.  With that said, there are certain patterns which I feel are a “must” for successful fishing of the Trico hatch; I carry them for the type of situation I experienced this morning.  In no particular order they include:  (1) Harrop’s Trico No Hackle, both olive and black bodied; (2) Shane Stalcup’s CDC Biot Trico; (3) Bob Quigley’s Trico Hackle Stacker in black (or olive if you can find or tie it); (4) any Rene Harrop Trico pattern.   These flies are available at the Picabo Angler fly shop.  

REQUIRED READING:  Get a copy of Rene Harrop’s relatively new book, Learning  from the Water, and digest the section about Tricos.  

TYING TIP:   If you tie your own flies and are getting on in years, consider picking up a box of “big eye” hooks.  They make it a lot easier to connect your fly to the leader, especially if you use a terminal knot that involves threading the tippet through the eye twice, such as the Improved Clinch Knot.  You’ll thank yourself next time you find yourself tying on a 7X tippet in the glaring sun with a big brute of a fish working in front of you.  Orvis makes a Big Eye dry fly hook, but I prefer the Daiichi 1110 because it is a flat eye, big eye hook with a shank that is a tad longer than the standard dry fly hook.

Doug Andres

Stream Keeper

July 3RD Double R Fishing Report

Thursday, July 3, 2014:

We’re in the midst of a week of 90 plus degree weather and a forecast of relatively low wind conditions, a prescription for strong emergences of both Tricos, damsel flies and White Miller Caddis (which have been on flights both morning and evening) in the field water of the Double R Ranch.  Last night trout were rising and jumping clear of the water on The Pond until sunset; consider an evening fishing session.


First, make sure you cast a short line.  Sure there are times when fish are so focused on feeding that you can literally fish right on top of them, but day in and day out on Silver Creek and other spring creeks you will catch more trout if you keep your distance from working fish or likely trout lies.  Wild trout have an innate fear of shadows created by the casting angler and of brightness caused by shiny reels and fishing equipment.  Cast as long a line as is within your abilities; practice and proper equipment will lengthen you cast.  

Second, make sure to fish a short leader.  While there are circumstances where the angler can “get away with” a 9 or 12 foot leader (such as when a “chop” is on the water or when fishing subsurface), Silver Creek veterans will advise you to fish a longer leader; again, to deep distance from the trout and to avoid alarming trout.  To a 2 foot butt section, your Stream Keeper generally attaches a 14 foot, 6X Trout Hunter leader, recently declared the best leader in the industry, which are available at the Picabo Angler fly shop.

Third, make sure you tie on a bushy, heavily hackled dry fly with a high profile.  The slow water of spring creeks affords trout an extended opportunity to differentiate natural insects from your fly offering.  Fly shops serving big western rivers sell heavily hackled and bulky flies designed to float in strong currents.  You will want to patronize fly shops in the immediate vicinity of Silver Creek where you can buy sparsely tied flies.  

Fourth, make sure you cast directly across or upstream of trout.  This is the best way to “line” fish and put trout down.  Experienced Silver Creek anglers cast both wet and dry flies downstream and in front of working fish to suspected trout lies.   Move your float tube to gain better position in relations to working trout.

Fifth, make sure that you “false cast” at least a half dozen times before launching your cast.  With fly floatant and flies constructed from appropriate materials, it is not necessary to “dry” your fly via false casting.  Repetitive false casting creates shadows and movement which only serves to spook fish who have evolved to be paranoid of predator birds.  Instead, let your fly drift directly downstream, pick up slack line with your free hand, pull the rod back and launch your cast in one movement.    

Each of these “no noes” will reduce your chances of consistently landing Silver Creek trout by 20 percent.

Doug Andres

Stream Keeper 


July 2ND Double R Fishing Report

Wednesday, July 2, 2014:

This is one of several times a season on Silver Creek which I characterize as being in “transition,” that is, between strong insect hatches.  The Tricos are just coming on but they are not yet a reliable consistent hatch all across Silver Creek; right now the angler will encounter isolated sporadic hatches of the tiny Trico, and it is a situation where you might not encounter the hatch in the same place you saw it yesterday.  For example, there were clouds of male spinners around my trailer for two consecutive nights but none last night.  The damsel flies are also about to come on in force.  A few adult damsels can be observed hovering over the water surface here and there, but not in the quantity where the trout riot, slashing after them and becoming airborne.  The weather forecast calls for a week of 90 degree plus weather and the sometimes questionable thermometer in my pickup read 105 degrees by late afternoon.  I would be surprised if the hatches of Tricos and damsels do not reach epic proportions sometime this week on the Double R Ranch water below the Gazebo Bridge.  Now would be the time to drop in at the Picabo Angler fly shop and pick up a selection of Trico and damsel patterns 

So, what is happening and what strategies could one pursue.  

FIELD WATER.  Arrive on the field water early and fish the dense flight of White Miller Caddis either with a large dry fly (an X Caddis, Light Cahill, Elk Hair Caddis, Goddard’s Caddis) or by swimming a #14 or #12 Pheasant Tail Soft Hackle under the insect hovering over the surface.  Be on the lookout for isolated trout making gentle rises up against the banks or in mid-stream channels and pursue them with a #18 or #20 Baetis spinner pattern; I use a BWO Hatch Matcher.  I believe that fish can be had by swimming a damsel nymph pattern along the banks and through the deeper channels, and I would bring some Callibaetis patterns along as well.  When all else fails, put on a beetle or ant.    

THE POND.  The Pond was on fire this afternoon.  In 10 minutes I observed a dozen fish clearing the water, their tails as much as 2 feet above the surface.  I suspect that the trout might have been chasing Callibaetis nymphs on their way to the surface, but it might have well been damsel nymphs or even a caddis emergence.  This behavior occurred both when the surface was calm and in the “chop” formed by a slight breeze.  If you want to fish dry, target the sipping trout with a #16 Callibaetis Hatch Matcher or other spinner, or a sparsely tied Callibaetis dun pattern.  To take their more acrobatic brethren, you might cast a Bead Head Gold Ribbed Hare’s Ear nymph or other Callibaetis nymph, let it sink to a count of 15 , and make 6 inch retrieves.  Be on the lookout for small Baetis or possibly even Tricos.  I saw an inch and a half long tan grasshopper on the bank of The Pond yesterday, so beware.       

MEMBERS’ REMINDER . . . . The annual Members’ Barbecue starts at 4:00 pm on Saturday, July 5, kicking off with adult beverages, leading to the roast pig and roast beef dinner, and centering on the official dedication of the new dam and related Pond Project.  There will also be a sporting clay competition and an art show (with 10 percent of the proceeds donated to our stream restoration fund).  There are rumors of dancing into the night . . . . 

RV PARK . . . . . It used to be difficult for fishing RVers to get relief from the July and August heat in Picabo, but no longer.  The Purdys have built a 17 space RV park kitty corner across from the Picabo Store, where you register.  Tell your friends that the new park has water, a waste dump, bathrooms and electricity to run your air conditioner.  Hey, a comfortable afternoon nap is now possible!


July 1ST Double R Fishing Report

Tuesday, July 1, 2014:

This entry should be of interest to those who tie their own flies and like to fish Silver Creek subsurface.  I am a “soft hackle” fan and have success with the soft hackled flies detailed below.  Tie a few up and let them rip.

If you think about or read too many fly tying books like me, it is likely that the first fly patterns designed involved soft hackle materials.  I mean, no synthetic materials were available.  The first flies were tied using what was available at the time (as early as the first century B.C.) were limited to bird feathers, wool and other animal fur, and thread fashioned from natural fibers.  Dyed thread or wool permitted anglers to tie in a limited range of colors.  Dry flies were not conceived until relatively recent times.  Yet, at least among the privileged class in England, the dogmatic convention of fishing dry flies upstream can be seen as discouraging experimentation with soft hackles and other wet flies fished down and with the assistance of the current.   

Unlike most commercially tied soft hackled flies tied on light wire hooks to be fished in the film as “emergers,” my soft hackle patterns are tied on 2XL, 2XH streamer hooks (e.g. the Tiemco 5262) so that they can be swung 3 to 5 inches below the water surface.  As a general rule you’ll not want to fish soft hackles on a leader lighter than 5X because the “take” is akin to that of a steelhead strike.  Unlike the traditional dead drift nymphing technique, you want the fly line and leader to drag the soft hackle across the stream and in front of trout.  Depending on the speed of the water you are fishing, you cast the fly either straight across the stream (if the current is slow) or on a 45 degree downstream (if the current is fast).  The goal is to swim the fly downstream in a natural manner, somewhat slower than the current speed.  When you are not casting to a working fish, just thoroughly cover the water giving special attention to lies along the reeds or solid bank.  You will want to avoid unnecessary slack and hold the line in your fingertips, as the take can be subtle.  Sometimes a slight, gentle mend of the fly line (not the leader) is advisable.  Sometimes you can prompt trout to hit the soft hackle by applying a slight “tug” to the fly line (or by lifting your rod slightly) when you think that the fly is right in front of a working fish.  Some anglers will strip the soft hackle like a big river streamer.  Always be vigilant because trout will frequently take the soft hackle on the “plop,” particularly during a hatch of damsel flies or under a flight of the large White Miller Caddis.  

I tie soft hackles for Silver Creek in a range of sizes, from a #10 to a #20, and selection of size is usually governed by whether the soft hackle gets caught in underwater vegetation or by the size of the insect which has been hatching.  You will want to invest in a bottle of “Zink” (the opposite of the “Gink” floatant) or other liquid product which helps the soft hackle sink immediately rather getting held up in the meniscus.  

I generally tie my soft hackles without a base of lead wire, but when I do I use red tying thread, for easy identification in my separate soft hackle fly box.

I buy whole bird skins for tying my soft hackles; you get better quality feathers and a wide range of markings than are contained in those little bags of loose feathers sold in most fly shops which typically include a lot of waste feathers not suitable for soft hackled flies.  A variety of Grouse and Chuckar skins provide me with a range of colors and marking for size 10 and larger soft hackled flies.  Partridge, both natural and dyed, is my feather of choice for sizes 12 to 16.  Several species of Quail and other small birds such as Starling do the trick for sizes 18 and smaller.  By the way, the purpose of tying in a firm thorax of peacock herl is to provide a base on which to support the soft hackle feather, so that the resultant hackle will “pulsate” with the ebb and flow of the current.   

In my fly tying life I grew up reading Sylvester Nemes’ series of largely repetitive books about soft hackled flies.  A more concise but thorough treatment of soft hackled flies, patterns and strategies to fish them is Allen McGee’s recent work, entitled “Tying and Fishing Soft-hackled Nymphs.” 

Okay, now the fly patterns.


The Pheasant Tail sot hackle is my most versatile soft hackle for Silver Creek, not surprising given the universal effectiveness of the myriad of pheasant tail patterns.   Why ignore or mess with something which works so well?  Well, for me the answer is that after a decade of experimentation I have found that using red or orange dyed pheasant tail fibers results in a fly that is consistently more attractive to trout; brown or olive dyed pheasant tail fibers make effective soft hackles as well.  My theory is that this coloration helps set the fly apart from sticks and other debris that has the same color range as natural pheasant tail fibers.  I have also eschewed the use of copper for ribbing, finding that “Hot Yellow” Uni-Thread lures more trout, perhaps it provides more realistic segmentation or functions as an attractive “trigger.”  No matter; I am sold on bright wire.  

Hook:        Size 10 to 20, Tiemco 5262 (or other 2XL, 2XH streamer hook)

Rib:        Hot Yellow Uni-Wire

Abdomen:    Red or Orange dyed pheasant tail fibers

Thorax:        Peacock herl

Hackle:        Grouse or partridge, depending on hook size.


This is a ridiculous fly.  It is ridiculous in appearance.  And, it is ridiculously effective on Silver Creek and in any stream you fish.  It is a bit depressing to know that I will never come up with a fly pattern more effective than this fly which I “invented” two decades ago.  Such is life, I guess.  The fly gets its name from uncertainty regarding exactly why the pattern is so universally effective.  Some speculate that the fly looks like a Green Rock Worm Caddis pupa.  Other accuse it of being a damsel imitation.  Still others feel it resemble a bait fish in larger sizes.  Who Knows?  Who Cares?  Beats Me!  The Who Knows Freaking Why will also catch steelhead!  It is a simple, quick pattern to tie.  The “trigger” of this fly is undoubtedly the metallic green abdomen and a variety of materials are available in today’s market which will fashion and effective body.     

Hook:        Size 10 to 20 Tiemco 5262 (or similar 2XL, 2XH streamer hook)

Abdomen:    Bright green metallic Diamond Braid (or similar material)

Thorax:        Red-dyed peacock herl, or other contrasting color

Hackle:        Natural Guinea, Blue Grouse or similarly marked feather


I swim this Blue Damsel Soft Hackle under hovering clouds of damsels in preference to dry adult damsel patterns because the trout will follow and take the soft hackle in addition to grabbing it on the “plop.”   I generally tie the pattern on a #10 hook but also have had success with a #14 which friends have nicknamed “The Smurf.”

Hook:        Size 10 or 14 Tiemco 5262 (or similar 2XL, 2XH streamer hook)

Rib:        “Hot Yellow” Uni-Wire

Abdomen:    Twisted Royal Blue dyed long pheasant rump feather, from the top of the rump patch

Thorax:        Red dyed peacock herl (or other contrasting color)

Hackle:        “Church” feather from Royal Blue dyed pheasant rump patch

Doug Andres

Stream Keeper


June 28TH Double R Fishing Report

Saturday, June 28, 2014:


The White Miller Caddis have been making an early morning appearance on the lower field water of the Double R Ranch.  On Friday morning your Stream Keeper landed a half dozen fish, including a 20 inch Brown and a 17 inch Rainbow, by swimming #14 Pheasant Tail Soft Hackles under the hovering caddis and in front of swirling fish.  Some Blue Winged Olives came off under the cloud cover.  Isolated hatches of Trico mayflies have been observed; look for the hatch to intensify with continued hot weather.  The trout have started chasing damsel nymphs; a green bodied soft hackle is an effective pattern for hooking these trout.  The Callibaetis hatch on The Pond is a reliable daily event; the larger trout have been holding against the north bank of the new islands.


If you want to do some serious summer reading focused on improving your knowledge of aquatic insects, fly design and fishing techniques, the following selection would be a great start, in no particular order:

Learning from the Water, Fishing tactics & fly design for the toughest trout,  Rene Harrop

In your Stream Keeper’s opinion, this is the fly fishing and fly tying book of the decade.  It focuses on hatches and techniques for fishing the Henry’s Fork, but the wisdom it contains is transferrable to Silver Creek, any spring creek and many other venues.  There are recipes for most of Rene Harrop’s significant flies.  If you want to read one fly fishing book this summer, you can’t go wrong with this one.

Tying & Fishing Soft Hackled Nymphs, Allen McGee

While I am a devoted soft hackle addict and cut my teeth on Sylvester Nemes’ series of books on the subject, I regard Allen McGee’s recent book as the repository of all Western Knowledge about soft hackled flies.  It contains pictures and recipes for more current fly patterns and detailed instructions regarding many effective techniques for fishing soft hackled flies, and they all work on Silver Creek.  A “must read” for soft hackle devotees.

Western Mayfly Hatches, From the Rockies to the Pacific, Rick Hafele & Dave Hughes

These prolific Oregon fly fishing authors have collaborated on a book chock full of information about our may flies, written in a straight forward manner easily understood by the average angler interested in practical information.

Mayflies, An Angler’s Study of Trout Water Ephemeroptera, Malcolm Knopp & Robert Cormier

This work will be right up your alley if you are interested in delving into the minutia regarding mayflies.  It is your Stream Keeper’s favorite reference book.   

Caddisflies, Gary LaFontaine

This is the greatest book ever written about Caddisflies, a timeless classic.  LaFontaine sparked the Antron craze, at least regarding its use for imitating caddis.  What I particularly like about this book is the Index which you can use to find out what species of caddis are present on your destination rivers and which LaFontaine patterns you should carry.

Mastering the Spring Creeks, A Fly Angler’s Guide, John Shewey

This may be the first “modern” work on fishing spring creeks.  Shewey covers a wide range of effective techniques and fishing strategies, illustrated by excellent photographs.   But what your Stream Keeper finds most interesting is the fly recipes.  Shewey has a dozen standard mayfly patterns directed at aquatic insects (both mayflies and caddis) and specifies what color materials needed for each species one would expect to encounter on Western spring creeks.  Particularly interesting is the absence of any parachute patterns. 

Selective Trout, A Dramatically New and Scientific Approach to Trout Fishing on Eastern and Western Rivers, Doug Swisher & Carl Richards

A landmark book with wisdom still valuable today. 

Hatches II,  A Complete Guide to Fishing the Hatches of North American Trout Streams,  Al Caucci & Bob Nastasi

Another classic and pioneering book with current validity, which should be present on the serious angler’s bookshelf right next to Selective Trout.

Tying Emergers, Jim Schollmeyer & Ted Leeson

An extremely helpful book for those fly tiers who are devotees of emerger patterns.  It will take your tying skills to the proverbial next level.

Micro Patterns, Tying & Fishing the Small Fly, Darrel Martin

This extremely talented master fly tier has written a manual for tying small flies capable of raising your catch rate when the PMDs, Tricos, midges and BWOs are minuscule.

Tricos, A Practical Guide to Fishing and Tying Tricorythode Imitations and Related Patterns, Bob Miller

Although Miller hails from the East, this small book is full of sage advice for fishing hatches of the tiny Trico mayfly.  It contains the recipe and tying instructions for the “wonder wing” pattern. 

The Art of Tying the Wet Fly & Fishing the Flymph, James E. Leisenring & Vernon S. Hidy, 1971

If you can find a copy of this out-of-print book, pick it up.  It will take you back to the early days of spring creek fishing, as Hidy was a noted Silver Creek devotee.

A River Never Sleeps, Roderick Haig Brown

Inspirational accounts of time on the river.

Spring Creek, Nick Lyons

One of Lyons’ finest works, this book chronicles a summer spent figuring out the puzzle of O’Dell Spring Creek which flows into the Madison River just outside of Ennis, Montana.  It will inspired the angler to explore a new river. 

Doug Andres

Stream Keeper


June 25TH Double R Fishing Report

Wednesday, June 25, 2014:

Over the past week I have begun to see a few of the White Miller Caddis which usually blanket Silver Creek in early June.  Yeesterday morning there was a bona fide flight of White Miller Caddis down in the field water.  I have no explanation for the relatively late emergence of White Miller Caddis this season.  I would have expected an early hatch this year due to the low creek level which has warmed the water, particularly downstream of Highway 20.  But, I feel the White Miller Caddis is about to become a significant event in our daily fishing.  Keep your eyes open, particularly in the evening.

The term “White Miller Caddis” is a label applied to the family of caddis flies featuring antennae unusually long for a caddis fly, also colloquially known as the Long Horned Caddis.  The species we encounter early season on Silver Creek is the Oecetis.  A similar but somewhat smaller species distributed all over Yellowstone National Park and nearby waters is the Nectopsyche.    

On Silver Creek the initial hatches of the White Miller usually occur during the first week of June but may be present on Opening Day if Spring arrives early.  The conventional wisdom at Point of Rocks is that the Brown Drake hatch will start 4 or 5 days after the onset of the White Miller emergence.  This season the Brown Drakes preceded the White Millers, if the White Millers have yet even came off at Point of Rocks.  

A hot afternoon winding down into a warm evening is the prescription for a dense White Miller hatch in the evening.  One will see swarms of White Millers dancing over the creek surface in the morning, often before the day’s mayfly hatch.  In the evening there can be a thick emergence, often a blizzard hatch blanketing the creek from bank to bank, from the Gazebo Bridge (Beat #14) down to Beat 10 or 11.  

Your Stream Keeper finds the White Miller to be one of the most difficult caddis to bring to the dry fly, at least in the morning.  I’ve had only sporadic success with standard caddis patterns such as the X Caddis, the EZ Caddis or the Elk Hair Caddis.  In fact, my effort to solve the “White Miller dry problem” led me to develop my “Nectarine” series of caddis dries which turned out to work well on every species of caddis except White Millers.  I have much better success with the White Miller flights on Silver Creek by running a #10 Pheasant Tail Soft Hackle subsurface under egg laying flights of White Miller caddis; a size 14 might be a better choice this season given the low creek conditions.  I have a theory that the fish you see swirling below clouds of White Millers or coming out of the water are really chasing White Miller Caddis making their way to the surface.  That could be why swinging a soft hackle can be so effective.  Last year when the White Millers emerged in force below the Gazebo Bridge I had a succession of four nights where in the two hours before dark I landed 21, 17, 19 and 31 trout, respectively.  So, once the White Miller hatch is upon us, don’t hesitate to come down and fish the evening hatch, err flight, of White Millers.

Doug Andres

Stream Keeper


Tuesday, June 24, 2014:

     As Stream Keeper of the Double R Ranch stretch of Silver Creek, I feel blessed that I can fish Callibaetis hatches on both The Pond and the field water.  Given the diversity of Callibaetis habitat on the Ranch we are able to fish this mayfly for an extended period of time.  The newly restored Pond is fishing well these days due to the deepened water and the new islands.  The Pond even fishes well with a slight breeze because the trout are tending to hold in the two foot band of calm water along the banks of the islands that are sheltered from the prevailing wind.  The mid-summer Callibaetis mayfly on Silver Creek is a rather large critter, often a size 14 but failing that a size 16.   Because of the importance to the angler of all stages of this mayfly, I carry two fly boxes dedicated to Callibaetis, one confined to dun patterns and the other containing a selection of nymphs, cripples and spinners.

    For the past two weeks Callibaetis have been hatching on The Pond in small quantities but now the spinner flights involve more bugs and the hatch of Duns thickens so the fish are becoming more active.  Thus far, out in the filed water the Callibaetis hatch has not yet come on strong.  The fishing on both The Pond and on the field water will only get better in the coming weeks as cloud cover becomes less prevalent, as air temperature rises and as the breeze wanes.  You’ll notice that the Callibaetis hatch will slow down with the clouds but resume with force once the sun breaks through.  The Callibaetis is truly a sun loving bug. 

    The Callibaetis hatch most often will commence in earnest around Noon and, depending on cloud cover, one can fish Dun, Spinner and Emerger patterns until late afternoon and sometimes even into the evening.  In the dead heat of summer the hatch can hold back until early evening when temperatures begin to moderate.  The female spinners, bearing classic speckled wings, will make their ovipositing flights after spending up to five days in streamside vegetation ripening their fertilized eggs.  While the male spinners may blanket the angler, trout rarely take the male spinner; the angler is best off finding a containing a quantity of spent female spinners and choosing a fly pattern that best imitates what is on the water.


    Nymphs are more important to success with Callibaetis than perhaps any other mayfly hatch if you believe reports from some writers that stomach content analysis reveals that trout eat 8 to 12 Callibaetis nymphs for each duns or spinner.  Callibaetis nymphs will be found concentrated over and adjacent to weed beds and other healthy aquatic vegetation.  The Callibaetis nymph uses its abdomen and tail to propel itself in 6 inch darting bursts, and will repeatedly move up and down between the safety of vegetation and the surface, which causes savage predation by trout.  Eventually, the nymph makes a steady, rapid swim to the surface triggering subsurface bulges which are often mistaken for the rise form of a dun being eaten off the surface.   On bright days the Callibaetis usually escape the water quickly; thus, the trout are left to focus on the nymph and the angler might be wise to follow suit.  In all of these circumstances the angler’s prospects for hooking a trout on a nymph pattern are good provided the fly is fished with movement at a variety of depths.  Effective nymph patterns include:  the Pheasant Tail Flashback Nymph; a Hare’s Ear Nymph; Mercer’s Poxyback Callibaetis Nymph; and a variety of tan to medium brown but slender nymphs.


     Unlike many of its smaller mayfly cousins, the Callibaetis nymph has enough mass and power to break right through the meniscus so usually few cripples attend the hatch of duns. The exception is on cold, gloomy days when more nymphs have difficulty exiting the surface and may be targeted by trout.  Cripple patterns that can be very effective under these circumstances include:  Quigley’s Callibaetis Cripple; Rene Harrop’s Callibaetis Floating Nymph Emerger; any cripple pattern in a tanish-olive shade with a biot body and a post made of CDC.


       There are few emergences of duns which excite the dry fly angler like the Callibaetis hatch, particularly on lakes, ponds and other still waters which experience “gulper” action.  In still water situations, examine rise forms to figure out which direction your targeted trout is heading and lead the trout with your cast.  Rather than cast to the first rise form you see, try waiting until the fish rises a second time in order to determine which direction the fish is heading and then cast in front of the second rise form..  If you are casting to a pod of trout in moving water, avoid spooking the pod by casting to the closest fish on your side of the pod.  If the trout seem to stay just outside the reach of your cast, try resting the fish until they become used to you and feed closer.  Even if the trout seem to be keyed on nymphs swimming to the surface, the fish can hardly refuse well-placed Dun patterns including:  the Callibaetis Hatchmatcher; the Comparadun; the Sparkle Dun; the Hair Winged Dun; the Callibaetis Thorax Dun; Harrop’s Callibaetis No Hackle; the Chopaka May.


    Most of us have experienced days when trout gorge themselves on spent female spinners (which feature speckled wings).  We’ve all probably had days when spinners were everywhere but no trout exhibited the slightest interest.  Some suggest this is because the trout are already satiated with nymphs or because the female spinners have become devoid of nutritional value.  When trout are onto female spinners effective fly patterns include:  the Callibaetis Hatchmatcher; the Callibaetis Hackle Stacker; the Hen Wing Spinner; the Gulper Special; the CDC Callibaetis Spinner; the Crystal Winged Callibaetis Spinner.  Trout generally ignore the male spinner of the Callibaetis (which lacks the speckled wing associated with the female spinner and generally is wholly white or a pale gray with black or dark thorax markings). 

Doug Andres

Stream Keeper

June 23RD Double R Fishing Report

Monday, June 23, 2014:

Only 15 more shopping days until Trico Season. . . .   

This miniscule mayfly, the favorite of many Silver Creek devotees, surely will come off early this season.  There already are rumors of sightings up on the Nature Conservancy Preserve.  Now is the time to re-organize your Trico box, replenishing your inventory of old standbys and picking up some new patterns to make the hunt interesting.  Your friends at Picabo Angler fly shop will assist you in preparations for Trico Madness.  


When one considers just how small the Trico mayfly measures, it is mystifying that huge trout exhibit tunnel vision when the Trico hatches.  The serious fly angler is captivated by the Trico, some following Tricos around the West.  An angler has to be serious if Trico hatches are the quarry as early mornings are mandated; press the “snooze” button a few times and one is out of luck.  Success with fishing the Trico hatch requires a different presentation than other mayfly emergences and detailed knowledge about the developmental stages of both sexes of the insect.  The Trico hatch on Silver Creek is world famous and a supreme test of the angler’s skill set and knowledge.  It calls for 12 to 15 foot leaders with three to four foot tippets of 6X or 7X material, an extremely cautious approach, and skillful presentation.  


Tricos fall in the “crawler” category of mayflies.  The nymphs are feeble swimmers at best, always preferring to crawl unless they become dislodged from their hold on rock substrate or lose their grip on aquatic vegetation.  Tricos emerge from the nymphal stage various manners.  Many hatch in open water in the surface film.  Others crawl up weed beds toward the surface, leaving the exoskeleton just beneath the surface.  Some Tricos simply crawl out of the water on rocks or on the protruding vegetation which has developed on Silver Creek by mid-summer.  None of these emergence methods seem to prompt trout to selectively feed on nymphs.  Trico nymphs generally are light to dark brown in color and are only 1/8 to 3/8 inches in length.  

However, trout can be taken on Trico nymph patterns well before the hatch begins.  An effective nymph pattern for Tricos would be tied in sizes 18 to 24, with tan to dark brown fur dubbing picked out at the thorax, and 3 pheasant tail fibers for the tailing.  The classic nymph pattern is Rene Harrop’s Trico Nymph.  If you have reason to believe that the Trico hatch is fairly imminent, make the cast cross stream or quarter it down, mending so that the fly is dead drifted.  A strike indicator can help the beginning angler respond to the subtle takes common with trout taking the Trico nymph, or one can fish the nymph as a dropper off a Trico Dun pattern or terrestrials like ants and beetles.  


All Trico addicts have days when they simply cannot hook a trout despite trying all manner of dun and spinner patterns, the two most common types of flies that anglers rely on for Trico action.  We fail to realize that there are times when trout feed on emergers in preference to winged adults or Trico spinners, as trout do with other mayfly hatches.  What is it about the Trico hatch which causes the piscatorial quarterback to fail to read the defense?   Be on the lookout for rise forms and bubbles which are sure signs of surface takes, then follow the float of a few duns to see if any of them disappear.  If you see bubbles but no duns go down, then it may be time to try an emerger pattern. 

Harrop’s “CDC Trico Emerger” can be very effective in these circumstances, as it will suspend in the surface film.  The abdomen of olive dubbing (synthetic preferable) represents the female which is what trout will see almost exclusively in their early morning feeding) the thorax is dark brown dubbing and the wing is a tuft of white or gray CDC (a great situation to use CDC “oiler puffs,” tied in by the stem and trimmed to one’s liking).  Alternatively, just add a piece of white or gray polypro yarn or a tuft of CDC when tying your preferred un-weighted Trico nymph, so as to represent the unfolding wings of the emerging nymph.

A good presentation strategy for the Trico emerger is to position one’s self directly upstream of working trout and cast downstream directly into the feeding lane in front of a single fish.  Try to cast in line with the rhythmic feeding behavior of the targeted trout.  It is preferable to employ a cast which provides slack tippet so that micro-currents do not create drag.  


Female Trico duns typically emerge early morning and molt into spinners within a few minutes to an hour, the precise timing being temperature dependent.  Most anglers arrive on the creek just in time for the flight of spinners, often not casting until swarms of “spinners” hover over the bank and water surface, resembling medieval towers.  These anglers are missing out on some of the best fishuing of the Trico hatch; get there early.  The color of the female’s abdomen is light green with a dark brown thorax.  When fishing dun patterns In the morning one should use green bodied flies to imitate the (female) dun because the dark brown bodied male dun usually does not hatch until evening (and sometimes after dark).  We’re talking about patterns tied in sizes 20 to 24.  

Female dun patterns which can be very effective on Silver Creek include:  a green or olive bodied Hatchmatcher; the Trico Sparkle Dun; the Trico No Hackle; A.K. Best’s Trico Quill Dun; the Trico Female Dun (tied with wings of light blue dun hackle tips).  On a good day with a thick hatch of female duns the angler can approach relatively close to trout feeding on duns because the trout may be distracted fleets of Trico Duns floating downstream.


When the female duns complete the molting process they will fly into the often large swarms of male spinners hovering over the creek or forming “towers” over solid ground, and mate randomly.  Male spinners will “fall” onto the creek immediately after mating, before the female spinners.  This is because after mating the female spinners spend a half hour to an hour in the riparian zone waiting for the fertilized eggs to ripen before returning creek to deposit her eggs.  The female Trico spinners are olive in color while the male Trico spinner is dark brown to black.  One should be armed with both colors whether your favorite spinner pattern has white wings made of clear antron, white polypro, CDC, Zelon or hen hackle.  Another twist is to fish double winged spinner patterns which can be tied on #16 hooks!  The Trico Hatchmatcher is an excellent pattern for fishing the spinner fall.

Progressive Strategy for Trico Success.  

  1. Get on the creek early in the morning. It can be worth it!
  2. Before the dun hatch, fish nymphs.
  3. Fish an emerger when you suspect trout are keying on emergers.
  4. Then fish a green bodied dun pattern.
  5. When trout begin to refuse a green bodied dun pattern which has been working and Trico spinners are in the air, consider switching to a dark brown or black bodied spinner pattern.  
  6. Later switch to an olive spinner pattern.
  7. Fish a 12 to 16 foot leader with a 6X or 7X tippet.
  8. Land and release your fish quickly.  Don’t handle trout.  The heat of August can exhaust trout and kill them.  

Doug Andres

Stream Keeper


Saturday, June 21, 2014: 

The Pond was alive with rising fish this morning.  In between minor gusts of wind the fish were rising to Baetis spinners and late morning Callibaetis spinners came out in force.  A few Green Drakes were present as well but were largely ignored by the trout.  Your Stream Keeper matched the surface activity with a #18 BWO Hatchmatcher and a #14 Callibaetis Hatchmatcher.  Any day now we are going to see significant hatches of Callibaetis duns on The Pond.  Try fishing the north side of The Pond, starting your float from the picnic table by the newly dredged “North Channel” and ending at the hand rail by the Dam.  Reports are that the Field water has been fishing well, too, with Baetis and Pale Morning Duns being the main culprits.  There are rumors of Trico sightings on the Nature Conservancy Preserve.  

The current variety of aquatic insects present on Silver Creek demonstrates the importance of being observant.  It makes sense to spend a couple of minutes identifying what insects are present and what bug is actually the focus of fish before tying on a particular pattern.  With the forecast for continued hot days and the low level of the Creek, we can expect an early emergence of the Trico mayfly.  Also, when the wind is down it is critical to fish a sparsely dressed fly and to attach a light tippet on your leader.

Doug Andres

Stream Keeper

June 7th Double R Report

Friday, June 6, 2014:


Today a friend and I made the 70 mile drive from Picabo to the turn off for Anderson Dam, heading down the canyon road to the South Fork of the Boise for a tailwater venue.  The South Fork is running low and clear, reportedly at 300 cfs but rumors are that the flow will soon be increased.  The slopes were blanketed with blue Bachelor Buttons, itself worth the drive.  I hadn’t been in the canyon since the fire several years ago.  While there are some silt deposits resulting from three landslides, most of the runs have cleared out.  We arrived mid-morning and encountered Cicadas, thicker in the first 5 miles below the Dam.  As we drove further down the canyon we ran into the beginning of an earlier than usual Salmon Fly hatch.  In mid-afternoon the hatch of black bodied caddis began to come off.  Success was had on size 18 and 20 black bodied Elk Hair Caddis.   If I were to return to the South Fork (and I may do that next week), I would plan to arrive mid-afternoon and fish stonefly nymphs and Salmon Fly dries in the upper canyon, then drive downstream and fish black bodied caddis dries in the glides and holes until dark . . . . all this after stopping for a burger and shake in Fairfield.  Picabo Angler has a nice selection of Cicada patterns. 

On the Double R Ranch we continue to see sporadic hatches of Pale Morning Dun mayflies and success can be yours if the wind stays down.  We continue to see some speckled wing Callibaetis spinners out in the field and some mid-sized Baetis spinners.  The Pond continues to fish well, mostly subsurface action.

Doug Andres

Stream Keeper   

June 6 Double R Report

Thursday, June 5, 2014:

The all too infrequent early June wind blew with a vengeance this morning, making it difficult for the Pale Morning Dun mayflies to hatch.  However, a few hardy souls popped up and drifted through the riffled water.  A half dozen anglers landed a few fish each in the lower field of the Ranch water despite the recurring gale.  The occasional Callibaetis spinner was sighted; soon the duns will be up in force, both in the field and on The Pond (where subsurface imitations continue to produce nice sized fish).

Seasoned Silver Creek anglers know that if one is going to fish the breezy days of early June, one must have several strategies to take fish in the wind.  Here are some tactics used by your Stream Keeper.

If just a few brave mayflies are floating through riffled water and are being taken by trout, consider tying on an oversized fly.  You can better see the imitation and the trout usually are not put off by the large offering.  In this morning’s breezy conditions my #14 CDC Winged parachute took a nice fish.

If the hatch is having a really difficult time coming off, try a large emerger pattern representing the hatching mayfly.  My Guest took a couple of fish early this morning using a standard PMD emerger pattern (i.e. with a reddish-brown abdomen, a light dun CDC post/wing). 

If it seems like the mayfly just cannot hatch in the strong wind, fish a bright bodied soft hackled fly or a dark nymph.  I have a soft hackled fly with a bright metallic green body and partridge hackle that I call the “Who Knows Freaking Why.”  This morning in a size 14 it produced 6 trout including a 21 inch Brown, my largest fish if the season thus far.  Cast the soft hackle to within a foot of the opposite bank (or closer) on a 45 degree downstream or straight across cast, with the goal being to have the current drag the fly line and swim the soft hackle downstream and across to lounging trout.   Periodically raise your rod tip or pull on the fly line, in order to keep the fly off the vegetation.  The “hit” is reminiscent of the take of a steelhead; the trout usually will hook themselves in the corner of the mouth.  The pattern:  the abdomen is Diamond Braid or Midge Diamond Braid, in the “Peacock” color; the thorax is red-dyed or natural peacock herl; the hackle is three turns of partridge or grouse.  

Keep an eye on the calm water along the bank in the direction of the wind.  Trout will hold there watching for the occasional mayfly that is able to hatch out of the wind.  Approach those fish with a more appropriate sized imitation, either a dun or an emerger. 

When all else fails, light up a fine cigar.