Mahogany Duns and masking hatches are something I write about every year. It is that important to anglers on Silver Creek, and it is also a glaring example of something we fly anglers hear all the time, but don’t see all that often.
The masking hatch, simply put, is a hatch of insects that you can see very well on the water, but in fact the fish are eating and keying on a much smaller bug, or as is the case with the Mahogany a larger bug but a difficult bug to see due to its dark color. In fact the best way to see the Mahogany Duns is to look at the water with the glare in order silhouette their dark bodies.
We see this a lot with Micro-Caddis and Flying Ants as well. These are insects that hatch in huge numbers, the fish love them, but we rarely see them on the water very well, as our eyes are drawn to more abundant bugs or brighter colored ones.
So, with this said, when you are on Silver Creek this week, be prepared to see A LOT of Fall Baetis throughout the day. You may even see Trico and Callibaetis, but the one to watch for is the Mahogany Dun. It is a true Mahogany color, it is about a size 14 and it is a plump insect. Everything a fish getting ready for winter needs. This bug will come in waves so be ready for it!
Morning Hoppers are not a kind of Hopper, but the time of day to be throwing Hoppers right now! Before the hatches start and before most anglers arrive on the Creek is the time to be casting your big Hopper patterns. The biggest fish are still out cruising from the night before and haven’t gone to hidey-hole on the bank for the day. They are out and about for one reason, and that is to find something BIG to eat before the bright light of the day begins.
Finally, the Brown Trout population in Silver Creek is getting ready to spawn. This means fish looking to eat before they spawn, and fish that will be voracious after they spawn. Spend some time Streamer fishing this week and you may be pleasantly surprised. Even in the middle of the day!
Enjoy the fall colors and enjoy one of the greatest times of the year to be a fly angler!
Happy Fishing and Hunting Everyone!