Sunday, June 17, 2012


( Dr. Jim Gray- "the Gray Drake doctor" with a fog loving brownie who was a steno connoisseur!)
Last night was a lesson and a remembrance. A hot sweltering Saturday on the Muskegon is the onslaught of the drunken/drug wacked tuber hatch and all the adept kayakers and canoers that don't know how to use . But thank God for impending thunder/lighting storms and most went off scurrying. By 6 pm my clients, Dr. Jim Gray from Ohio and his medical team of associates and sons were up for the challenge and loved dry fly trout fishing. We told them the bad weather was good...sort of!
The weather would probably knock out gray drake action and Isonychia which are very barometric sensitive emergers, but there is one "daily bread' insect that actually loves the bad weather............Stenonema Ithaca...The Catskill White Cahill. Named after the Catskill railroader brakeman Dan Cahill, who it is claimed responsible for the spilling of wild rainbows at Calicoon creek in the Delaware system, this hearty clinging nymphs like the fast runs and riffle/boulder/gravel pocket water to gestate, then migrating to slower runs to hatch. Their emerging nymphs and duns float for considerable distances and extremely relished by the trout.
 Rarely do they create super- hatches...rather they are sporadic emergers that come off, one-by-one all day and from May till October on all Midwest and Eastern freestoners and tail water rivers. They are as white as snow and will catch the eye of even a blind fly fisher and sparrow.
A river "dean" fly fisher of the Muskegon once told me ,'trout don't eat those bugs, they must not taste good!".....BUNK AND BULL!.....trout gorge on their fatty little nymphs, emergers and adults and there bellies are packed with them!!!
( Steno Cahill adult images -top and bottom by the trout sage of the Delaware- Dr. Johnny"bugsy" Miller. In the middle are my cahill soft hackle PT emerger, the emergering Cahill with brown z-lon shucked body and CDC for the emerging adult, and then a true adult pattern....lethal wherever you  steno Ithaca)

 Similar to a trout on a spring creek eating scuds and sowbugs as their bread-and butter staple, so too are the steno Cahills. They also like to hatch on cloudy rainy days like Saturday...even with storms. I've only seen one super-hatch spinner fall of these insects on the Muskegon in 2009, early June on that very cold spring when white clouds of spinners were all over the riffles from the Gray Drake to Mafia House was an amazing sight!
Some of the best Cahill hatches and large browns rising I've experienced was in August and September in the lower Muskegon near Bigalow when every dun and emerger was slurped up by big fat browns and rainbows.
( Steno nymph water- fast oxygenated, boulder/gravel - target the slower water below these areas for emergence)

When the fog rolled in last night before dusk, the trout went crazy for the stenos. You could barely see, but Dr. Jim let his emerger and soft hackle nymph dropper float right into a less cautious 20 inch plus brown that jumped 3 feet in the air when hooked on 6x tippet ...we had to drop and chase with anchor up to land this surprised fierce fighter. I've fished that run all spring and didn't know that hog was there till the fog made it a comfortable player.
 I recall several dense fog days on the Catskill Delaware on the ultra- selective trout water of the main stem at Baird/Parker pool. A foggy, drizzle afternoon turned selective fish into easy targets as wave after wave of blue-winged-olives got gulped up by the most selective was a day of dry fly action I will never forget. Last night had all the makings of it but darkness and zero visibility came quick.
Also, the dense air of fog makes hampers mayfly emergence and flight, thus many adults float for great distances making them very vulnerable to the trout that feed in the negative phototropic conditions similar to night.
Morale of the blog!: when a dense fog warning is in the weather forecast...head out to your trout stream slowly!
( Mr. Dombrowski- the Polish wonder kicker for the Harvard Univ. football team with a summer hog from last August- several dozen fish were taken on that first cool fresh run of suicidal "bulls in a china shop" fish that destroyed the purple haze leech!)

SUMMER STEELHEAD UPDATE:......Good numbers have begun to show up around the piers and a few have started to ascend the rivers. This year will be an amazing year if weather conditions are favorable since stocking numbers are at a peak from 3-4 years ago. The St. Joseph and Indiana tributaries should produce some gargantuan fish up to 20 lbs like last year. We are booking at a good pace and still have a few openings in prime July/August time....these fish are truly amazing!!!!...they are the tarpon of the Great Lakes