Some Black Stone Flies
The last few days I have noticed some black stones on the water. They seem to be out for a short time each March. No more than a week or two. They are around a size 10-12. They can be a nice break for the eyeballs after staring at a size 22 midge all day. They can also jump start your heart as the strikes have a tendency to be aggressive. The action isn't fast and furious so I prefer to add a midge dropper while fishing these stones.
Mostly Midges Right Now
While the occasional blue wing will show up in the afternoon, Midges are definitely the main diet right now. Midges can come off in a variety of colors. The midges in this picture are a gray and black (the orange is called daphnia). You may want to take some samples if you really want to match the hatch. In march one of the most common colors is a dark reddish wine color. I also like to fish rainbow and purple UV colored midges. The larva are generally very skinny. Tying midges very skinny can be key to catching the picky fish. The adults and emergers tend to be black. Some times their belly will have a little color to it such as grey or cream. Most black flies such a Trailing Shuck emerger, Brook Sprout, or Griffiths Gnat work just fine.
Hopper and a Dropper
I love to fish Dry as much as I can. There are times when the fish aren't looking up so well. So, to pass the time between dry fly opportunities you can throw on a dropper. I think of this as a shallow nymph rig with an edible indicator. It can also give you some versitility on days where they eat nymphs in one spot and dries in another. You can use many different kind of dries, but make sure you use one buoyant enough to hold up the dropper. I like to tie my dropper off the bend of the hook versus through the eye fo the hook. I think this makes for easier casting and doesn't sink the dry as fast. When fishing dry/dropper, maybe the hardest part is determining the length of the dropper. Many people are shocked when I put a dropper on their line that is five feet long. Many people seem to believe there is some sort of standard where all droppers are between 18 and 24 inches. I've fished droppers anywhere from 6 to 60 inches. On the Green we have a distinct advantage, water clarity. You can simply look in the water and see where the fish are. Through most of late summer and fall there are a lot of fish around four to five feet. Until last year I rarely saw these fish fished to even by guides. That being said there are a lot of days when they are in shallow water. Look at the fish, they will tell you how deep to make your dropper! Along with looking to see how deep the fish are, observe what they are eating. Are they cruising for scuds, midges, or other stuff (like little fry or flesh from dead fish)? If there isn't something they are keying on, throw an attractor. Get your fly where the fish are. They are not always in the seams. Many days they are in slower or stagnant water. One last tip, make sure your dropper weighs enough to keep the dropper line tot. If there is any slack your dry will never even move when the fish eats it. To summarize:
- Use a dry buoyant enough to hold up the dropper.
- Tie the dropper line to the bend of the dry fly hook.
- Observe the fish to determine the length for the dropper.
- Observe what and where the fish are eating.
- Make sure the dropper weighs enough to keep the line tot.
The Blue Winged Olives (baetis) are here.
There seems to be more BWO's this year than the last couple. It is still early, but we are off to a great start. Here is a little more info about the hatch from a past blog. One of the most prolific hatches here on the the Green is the blue winged olives. Known as baetis, this little mayfly is of the upmost importance to the fish on this river. Coming out of the winter months the baetis bring a high volume of food the fish. If you catch a nice rainy or snowy day in April you will see the blue wings emerge by the millions. You can find runs, riffles, and flats with literally thousands of heads dimpling the water sipping in emergers, duns, and cripples. On a typical blue wing day I will fish virtually all the stages of the hatch. Starting with the nymphs, then to emergers, next is the duns and finishing with cripples (cripples work well during the hatch and when the spinners fall). As the hatch begins you can see the fish start to suspend up the water column. Keep adjusting to flies to depth of the fish. I have fished baetis nymphs anywhere from 1 to 9 feet given the conditions and where the fish are suspended. Baetis nymphs are excellent swimmers (prefering the dolphin kick) and move quickly in the water. They live along the slower edges and swim toward the main current as they emerge. Fishing back toward the shore and allowing the nymphs to swing off the bank can be a very effective way to catch fish. When the fish have reached the surface I like to fish a dun with a trailing emerger in the surface film. Once the hatch is in full bloom it's time to fish cripples. The fish key on the easy food (cripples), instead of snatching a dun that is trying to escape. Fishing a cripple and a dun or emerger together also works well. Cripples also work well when the spinner fall occurs. It is important to fish to fish, not water. When the fish will eat in rhythm and become selective. The more you get your fly over specific fish the better the chances of catching those fish. Your fly may be refused simply because it was not in rhythm. BWO's are a great chance to sight fish to some great fish. If you fish in the popular spots you will catch the fish that get caught a lot. Hatches like this give you the opportunity to catch fish that don't get caught. GO find them and your in for a treat!!!
Cicada (Homoptera; Cicadellidae)
Cicadas have been out in force the last few days and the fish are starting to eat them well. They are the smaller cicadas around a size 8. They have less orange in them than the picture below. This picture of a cicada goes a long way in describing this trout treat. These smaller cicadas (platypedia) live anywhere from 3-7 years in the ground feeding on the roots of trees before they emerge. The are considerably smaller than there eastern counterparts whom make many headlines in the news. They tend to be a size 8 or 10, possibly even smaller with less orange on the wings. We also have a 13 year cicada (magnifica) or sometimes referred to as a mondo cicada. In years where they emerge it usually occurs in late June or early July. The magnifica cicada is much larger than the platypedia and is about a size 4 or 6. When a cicada emerges from the ground it will climb on to a branch, warm up, and the males will use timbals located on there back to perform a mating call. The smaller platypedia makes a clicking sound, while the magnifica sounds more like a power line buzz. This hatch make the Green famous, so if you fish it, you won't be alone. It's worth it though. I have been told many times this past couple of months that it was the best dry fly day of someone's life.
Terrestrial season begins...
Cicadas, hoppers and ants have started to become common on the river the last few days. Big dry flies are a major part and attraction here on the Green. It's been a banner blue wing year and now it's time for a little larger dry fly. A few days ago I found three cicada's, 15 flying ants, and a couple of hoppers. When fishing at this time of year you will often here the chirp of crickets. So keep an eye and an ear out, and you'll find a big trout treat to imitate. Good luck and enjoy.