Brown Bugs & Drought
June is a month many of us cherish. We plan our lives around the behavior of winged insects and risk going a little crazy with changes in our sleep schedules. Swarms of mosquitos, waders caked with black silt, and even the occasional midge lodged underneath an eyelid…all of that discomfort seems to fade when trout start to rise.
Last week our northern rivers saw an emergence of brown drakes. Sulfurs were also seen in strong numbers but fish didn’t seem to be as interested in them. Hex have also been found and their migration up and down our rivers will progress in the coming weeks. Fortunately overnight low temperatures are dropping and pockets of rain have helped cool off some of our rivers. Nevertheless it is always a good idea to carry a thermometer with you. When possible, try to land fish quickly and keep water flowing through their gill plates.
When fishing in the dark it can be hard to monitor your drift. If a fish is feeding consistently, don’t be afraid to reposition yourself. Try to be stealthy if you’re pulling anchor in a boat, and please be careful if wading! No fish is worth a serious accident. Another helpful practice is to gink your fly line to keep it floating high in the surface film and to apply desiccant powder to your fly after every few casts.
If dusk arrives and the mayflies don’t seem to be cooperating, don’t give up hope. It is sometimes wise to stick around for a while to see if hatching insects will appear or to throw a mouse pattern. Fish are certainly looking up and can even be tempted mid-day by a large stonefly or Michigan skunk.
With the warm weather we have been having, it’s always a good idea to fish for bass. Smallmouth become more aggressive and their metabolism kicks into a feeding frenzy when water temperatures climb into the 70’s. Topwater action can be especially rewarding this time of year. Try poppers that displace a lot of water or fancy, deer hair frogs & divers. Cast close to structure and into shaded areas. A lot of eats happen on the pause, so keep your strips intermittent and allow the fly to sit in the sweet spot for a moment… BAM!
Have a great weekend everyone!