June 5th, 2019 | Drakin'
Lots of great things happening lately. Weather has been all over the place, but the next several days look relatively dry and warm, which is very much welcomed. Many of our rivers have been high and stained for the better part of May, which has made hatches (and rising trout) somewhat hard to predict. The only thing that has been really going strong lately has been the grey drakes. Sounds like late last week, there were some truly immense spinner flights. Apocalyptic type swarms of bugs. We have seen some nice trout caught, and one story of a true giant that was lost boat side. They are still going strong, but will likely putter out within the next week or so. Get on it while it's still going!
If you can, zoom in on these pics. Unreal !
One thing to note about the grey drake, is they do not hatch on the water surface like most other mayfly species do. Much like a stonefly, they crawl out on the rocks, grass, and shorelines, and emerge from their nymphal skins. Then they fly to the trees, wait a few days, and wait for dusk to start their mating swarms. That’s why you never see a true "dun" pattern for the grey drakes. Because they don’t really exist. If you walk the banks and look closely at the rocks and grass, you’ll probably see thousands and thousands of their nymphal skins. This is obviously a major simplification of their lifestyle, but you get the idea.
Sulphers, (which are also peaking right now), emerge like the majority of mayflies do. They swim from the gravel bottom, and pulse their way to the surface, and hatch in the film. You can imitate this ascension is many ways. Swing a yellow bodied soft hackle, dead drift a standard pheasant tail with a little swing at the end, or even put some floatant on a pheasant tail and fish it near the surface like a swimming nymph. Also, using a cdc style or foam style emerger pattern can be super effective. One of our favorite patterns is the challenged mayfly emerger, which is a “cripple” type fly. All that means is it’s mimicking a fly that is simply stuck in its nymphal skin, and is having a hard time “hatching.”
Seems as though pressured trout really like this type of fly, because it has no way of escaping. It’s stuck. It cant fly away. It’s an easy catch, and they seem to eat them in a more deliberate way. Less splashy, slower, precise rises. If you haven’t experimented with emergers and cripples, give it a try. It’s a fun way to fish something other than a standard dun pattern.
Sounds like there are also some brown drakes just starting in certain spots, and they are likely about to be hatching in full force. Hex aren’t as far off as you think either. By mid June, they are usually starting in the lower portions of rivers, but hard to say what will happen this year with the cold nights, and huge amounts of rain. But if you can hit that hatch on the first couple good nights, before some of the better fish have been “barbed,” you can do some real damage.
Smallmouth fishing has been good. Higher flows have spread the fish out, giving them full reign of the river. Spots that are normally 6 inches deep are three times that, giving them the ability to hunt and ambush in lots of new areas. Plus the water has been dirty, giving them a stealth advantage that lends itself to very deliberate eats. Watching a big flashy streamer vanish behind a big bronze flash is addicting to say the least.
Jordan and Nick got into them last week. Couples that fish together, stay together!
Topwater has been good too. Boogle bugs are standard, especially in yellow and black. We have lots of crazy foam popper heads and slider heads at the shop, which are fun to experiment with. Streamers are still very much in play.
Some fun foam products to experiment with.
Check out the Double Barrel Popper bodies selection HERE
Stop in our shops to check out the preseason orders that just showed up. Nice items from Patagonia, Fishpond, Simms, etc. Thanks for all the support lately! Great times ahead!