Monday, May 14, 2012

THEY'RE BACK!-HATCHES PRIMER II.....HOW TO UNDERSTAND GRAY DRAKES, SULPHERS, BLUE-WINGS AND CADDIS HATCHES ON THESE COMPLEX MICHIGAN ULTRA-FERTILE RIVERS- A PRIMER

( Invaria newly emerged sulpher- that pheasant tail nymph is the brown z-lon shuck you need on your emerger/adult patterns to fool big trout) Supinski image
( deadly trio !)

( Johnny Miller's time lapse image of a hatching gray drake dun crawling out of nymphal shuck at 4 a.m from his aquarium....that is why you don't see gray drake adults!)
UPDATE INFO: SULPHER AND GRAY DRAKE HATCHES ARE VERY SENSITIVE TO BAROMETRIC PRESSURE CHANGES AND WARMTH. LAST NIGHT WAS A PERFECT EXAMPLE. BY 7:30 WITH A HUGE STORM SYSTEM COMING IN, IT COLDER AND DARKER. SULPHERS WERE EMERGING AND GRAY DRAKES WERE COMING CLOSER TO A FULL-BLOWN MATING RITUAL UNLIKE WE'VE SEEN THUS FAR.
JUST AS THREE OR FOUR "GOOD' TROUT STARTED ON SULPHER EMERGERS AND THE FEW GRAY DRAKES THAT HAVE COUPLED AND FELL SPENT....BAHM!!!!! THUNDER AND LIGHTING RIGHT OVER OUR HEADS PUT THE FISH DOWN FOR THE NIGHT AND THE DRAKE SPINNERS TOOK OFF AND NOW MORE SULPHER EMERGENCE.
 IF IT STAYED OVERCAST AND COOL THE FISH WOULD HAVE CONTINUED AS THE MATING SWARMS OF DRAKES WENT INTO A FRENZY.
 THIS MORNING, AS SOON AS THE SUN CAME UP ABOVE THE TREE LINE, THE DRAKES CAME OUT, MATED AND THE TROUT NAILED THEM!
 THE KEY FOR DRAKES IS TO HAVE ENOUGH MATING SYNERGY GOING ON WITH EQUAL AMOUNTS OF MALE/FEMALE RATIO- THAT OCCURS ON JUST ABOUT EVRY THIRD OR FOURTH NIGHT IMHO. ALSO, NOT TOO HOT, NOT TOO COLD, WITH SLIGHTLY HUMID AIR THE KEY.
SIPHLONORUS LAY EGGS ON RIFFLE AREAS AND NYMPHS DEVELOP ALL YEAR THERE UNTIL SPRING WHERE THEY START THEIR BIOLOGICAL DRIFT MIGRATION TOWARDS SHORELINE/WEEDY/SWAMPY/SANDY/MUDDY AREAS WHERE THEY EMERGE SOMEWHERE IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT BY CRAWLING ON THE WEEDY BANKS. THEY ARE "VERY FAST SWIMMERS", LIKE MINNOWS AND CAN BE MISTAKEN FOR SUCH.
 SULPHERS ARE VERY SLOW, WIGGLING/ASCENDING EMERGERS- THUS THE EMERGER AND STILL-BORN NYMPHS ARE TARGETED MORE THEN ADULTS DUE TO THE EXTREME EASE THAT THE TROUT HAVE IN PICKING THEM OFF. THAT EXPLAINS WHY YOU WILL SEE SO MANY ADULTS AND NO"SURFACE TO ADULT" FEEDING AS THE FISH ARE GORGING ON THEM AT BELOW SURFACE AND MID-DEPTH LEVELS. SOFT HACKLE PHEASANT TAIL WETS WITH YELLOW THORAX AND CDC EMERGERS- HALF PHEASANT TAIL AND YELLOW THORAX ARE KEYS FOR THESE HATCHES. SULPHERS ALSO HAVE VERY DIFFICULT HATCHING SCENARIOS IN THE SURFACE MENISCUS VERSES OTHER MAYFLIES- OLIVES A CLOSE SECOND.
A DEADLY COMBO IS A GRAY DRAKE SPINNER ON TOP, WITH A SULPHER SOFT HACKLE AS A DROPPER- YOU ARE COVERING BOTH HATCHES WELL!

Yes it has been a crazy weather ride.....floods last week and now perfect water levels and temperatures and now bugs galore!!!!!.....BUT!.....have the trout starting feeding on them?....they are just starting my friends.. are they are slow learners????...OR DO THEY HAVE IT TOO GOOD!....THAT'S THE BIG QUESTION!
( early falling gray drake spinners on cool nights are your best bet for nice fish when you can still see your presentation)
It has always perplexed many hatch matching chasers on the extremely rich food source and alkaline waters of the most fertile river in the world- the Muskegon- why the trout take so long to warm -up, per say to the hatches. Here is the answer and it varies from year-to-year.
A couple nights ago the sulphers( ephemerella invaria-#16), the Blue- winged Olives ( Drunella- size 16) Gray Drakes (siphlonorus size 10) and caddis started up with a bang...my client Jim Romig from Hawaii, who spent 5 days with me last week and hooked a few steelhead each day- both chrome fresh and drop backs, stayed up late to wait and witness the first big mayfly emergences. We were amazed by how many sulphers were on the water and nothing taking them the first night of emergence........with all those adults and emergers, WHY NO TROUT....actually all the baby 3-4 inch long salmon were going crazy for the bugs!


Its all a matter of food chain priorities for the larger and newly stocked trout. The plethora of food in the system on the Muskegon and any Lake Michigan tributary river is truly astounding.........no other rivers in the world have this incredible rich alkaline spring creek like food load- I know it cause I fished most of them!
( A nice May Muskegon Brownie Guide Jeff Bacon got for our client- these hogs do exsist but are ultra-selective and wary- besides well fed!)



This year, due to the massive Chinook salmon run last fall, the rivers are absolutely jam packed with small salmon fry/parr and the trout are going crazy for them. They are so full of bait, they won't even chase a streamer imitating the salmon....maybe chases if you are lucky.
The suckers, massive amounts of them are spawning and dumping yellow roe and stirring nymphs and larvae everywhere- tout are gorging!!!
Now.......steelhead sac-fry are hatching in multiple broods and are also available. Not to mention midge larvae, scuds, sow bugs, dace.......you catch a ten inch trout now and its 12 inches in girth???/
( Eagle Lake rainbows are stuffed but will still come up and surface feed- they are pwerful fighters on a 5 weight!)


So dry fly aficionados....be patient! Eventually the above go away, smolt etc. Also, the pure numbers of emergeing mayflies will tip the scale of the trout's cost/benefit relationship in the favor of surface bugs that are easy prey and capture....but it takes time......like last night where the first good surface activity occurred and will continue to mount a stronger presence each night.
For sulphers, the emerger with brown z-lon trailing shuck is powerful. The sparse tied gray drake spinner is the same.
( drake spinners in the cool forest along the Mo)

 But why are drake spinners so difficult to hit just right?. It seems that you have zillions of them and then they disappear and darkness and no fish...right?....happens a ton.

 Best conditions is what is happening now. 78 F hot days and cool nights. The spinners start as soon as the sun goes down and will fall if the air gets too cool early- thus giving you very visible trout feeding in daylight conditions. If it gets "too" cold, the spinners will come out in the mornings s the sun gets above the tree line- that can be an explosive feeding frenzy- morning drakes.
( Had the distinct pleasure of guiding world-class angler Jim Romig all last week from Hawaii. Jim fishes all over the world from Patagonia to Mongolia Taimen- next week he is sailing his taking his boat to Tahiti for bonefish- what a life at 72 year young!...go Jim!- Jim hit a couple of chrome steels each day to wind -out the season)
 So that's about it...more time on the water yields more and bigger fish!
 Water temps- mid 50's -PERFECT- water level on Mo-3,020-PERFECT.....come and gett'em.
We still have a few prime evening dates left....your 20 incher on the dry is waiting for you!
Feel free to call me or e-mail any questions......95% of the Gray Drake/suplher sipping hogs on the Mo are caught by less than 5% of the hatch matchers....its a tough timing game and being in the right place , with the right fly, with the right cast/presentation is a short but sweet window!