Saturday, July 16, 2011

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN A RIVER IS ACTUALLY "TOO FERTILE!"............SOUP TO NUTS MAN!

( Todd hit a nice brownie on a caddis pupae the night before before the 'soup to nuts " hatch)
Last night on the Muskegon was a true eye opener- an almost surreal exhibition by the power of nature and its ability to tame even the most astute fly angler that knows the hatches, tout behavior and "what they think!" is going on.
Todd and I decided to catch the dusk hatch of caddis which are second brood style starting up around now and will last thru October.
( the heat is pushing the bug activity to o'dark hundred!)
Yes the little green caddis, (Cheum. Spec.), the next brood of Hydro Cinnamon's, the Macronema Zebra caddis and whatever mayflies are ending/starting etc.
 WOW!!!!!!!!!!....................we were practically shell shocked when dusk came and the river and its bugs went absolutely "insane"! Seriously, in all my years (hate to admit it but now 23 years fishing the Muskegon hatches), I've never seen the water turn to "mulligatawny soup to nuts".
( hexes and white flies taken by the dam street lights)
( a perfect wiggle hex/iso/white fly/Poto imitation)
 After a nice grilled dinner of Angus T-bones, with balsamic mushrooms and roasted new potatoes and onions in olive oil and fresh rosemary, we were seeing a few big trout working the caddis pupae at dark/dusk. The few rises of good "bulging backs and tails" turned into dozens upon dozens of rising rings. It got too dark to see your 6x, and size 18/20 imitations and the scary part happened when we turned our big spotlights on the water. That was both depressing and and amazing ! It looked like someone sprinkled saw-dust on the water of bugs................it went from nothing to unfishable in ten minutes!!! There literally was a hundred bugs in a one foot square area.........."by george baffling mind you my mates!"
( the bows are fatter than ever- my client got a nice 19 inch fat rainbow on a scud by the dam on his bamboo rod made by Mac- The Vogelmeister")
When I sifted the surface, here is what we found:
Diptera; midges -cream and black by the bajillions-black flies mostly- cranflies
Caddis; geens, cinnamons, spent pupae ,adults, micro caddis by the bajillions, zebra caddis
MayFlies: YES HEX SPINNERS! they were all over- my assumption is they are coming from Croton Pond and spinner falling over the dam or thru the turbines, also tons of white fly spinners( Ephron Leukon- size 12#, blue winged olive, Isonychias, yes even a few late gray drake spinners.
( little greens are just getting ready to pupate-they are coming and in droves!)John Miller insect images@
 THIS WAS SIMPLY MAD!
SO...............how do you put any reason to this caotic madness for the hatch matcher.
 Here is the dope! Given the fact that there are still soft shell crayfish around, tons of dace and shiners, small steelhead fry- PLUS- this insane amount of insect life, the browns and rainbows got TONS of food and are very selective- almost impossible!
 My best success has been early in the evening before the bug onslaught hits at dark and on caddis pupae TWITCHING AND DEAD DRIFTING!. If the water turns to"soup to nuts ' it is over.
 The bubbler is on and dropping the water temps at night( if you notice the USGS graph you can see the spikes). The fish are extremely fat and broad shouldered with all the food.
 They are not just up by the dam to Pine St. I talked to Rod Geers this morning who lives below Cottonwood flats and he caught a nice 17 inch brown on a spinner at dawn right by his glass house.
 So are the fish spread around- YES!- has the heat effected them -NO!- does the fishing get easier as the summer progresses- YES!...............WHY?
 soft shell crayfish will be gone, so will hexes, white flies, midges, black flies.
 What will remain is caddis and flying ants and the fish will tune into the all day emergence and egg laying like clock work! Even this tough hatch to fish becomes easy if you've read Richards and Pobsts books on caddis and have the right fly, tippet and technique. The Muskegon trout really pack on the pounds during late July and August from the fat pistachio nut caddis pupae.
 That is my story and I'm sticking to it! 
Besides , it has been that way for 23 years- BUT!.................never in this fertile intensity!
 For the trout, that is a good thing. For the 'Joe' fly dude, it makes it very, very interesting!
( Good Client and B.C. speymaster Doc Flaherty from Chicago sent me this picture of the beautifiul rainbows he got last week on the Babine during the salmon fly hatch- GORGEOUS FISH!)
 This is the time that separates the casual hatch matcher from the seasoned pro......I love it!