May 2nd, 2019 | Mayhem
So many fishing options available right now, it will make your head spin. It's hard to pick just one species, and one tactic to focus on for a day. Water temps are increasing daily, and it's feeling "fishier" lately. Despite the massive rain we got two nights ago, things should be fine by the weekend, but wading in certain areas may be tricky. Locally, we got a good amount of rain in the last 48 hours, but not enough to flood out the rivers. They are high and dirty, yes, but not unfishable. Keep an eye on the stream flows, and be careful wading, especially in areas you've never ventured before. Better yet, take a boat.
Blue Winged Olives have been hatching, especially on those dark overcast days. Stoneflies are tailing off, which is a shame because that's a very fun hatch on those early days of Spring. There are still some lingering ones, but will soon be overshadowed by the Grannom Caddis (Mothers Day Caddis). That's a fun one, especially swinging little soft hackle pupa flies through riffles and tailouts. Most of the time, these caddis will hatch in mid afternoon, 2-4pm time frame.
We've also seen some Mahoganies, but nothing in large numbers yet (at least down in our neck of the woods). From what we've seen, this hatch is hard to hit, and is not as nearly as consistent and predictable as the Mothers Day Caddis, or the famed Hendricksons.
The Hendricksons (or "hennies") are off to a quiet start, but are about to erupt. There have been sightings of them, and even some fishable hatches from what we've heard. Normally, this hatch is the kickoff of trout season, usually coinciding with the trout opener. This year, things seems to be slow to start, seemingly about 2 weeks behind schedule. This weekend will hopefully provide adequate warmth to promote strong hatches, and get those larger fish up and feeding. Again, the rains may have thrown a wrench into the mix, but hard to predict what will happen. Honestly this weekend will probably be great for the hennies, as long as rivers aren't too dirty. Not sure why, but this insect brings up some seriously XL trout to the surface. Best part is it happens in broad daylight, usually around 1-4pm. Unbelievable stuff if you're in the right place, at the right time.
Tons of different floatant options on the market, but we've always really like the Royal Gel from Loon. It's got a reflective sheen and glimmer in it, imitating a reflective insect wing. The fish seem to like it. Combine that with Shimizaki Dry Shake or Loon Top Ride, and you've got a winning combo. Scientific Anglers Amplitude Infinity has been a very impressive line lately. Beautiful dry fly line with a camo tip.
Most dries in the 12-16 sz, I've always liked a 9 foot 3X leader, and 2.5ft of 5x tippet. Seems like the relatively stiff leader thrusts the flies better than a 5x leader, which translates to more accurate casting. Then the 5x tippet allows your flies to flutter softly to the surface. I just like the "punch" of the 3x leader, seems more like a laser beam versus a weak/soft delivery. Also, don't be afraid to fish a dun, with a cripple or emerger behind it. Connect them with a 2ft piece of 5x, and they sort of dance with each other on the surface. It's mesmerizing to watch them float in tandem over a bright riffle.
The steelhead run is still going, but essentially over with. The Muskegon has the strongest numbers by far. Best flies are still nuke eggs, stones, caddis, and salmon parr. Targeting trout with streamers, with the possibility of a dropback inhaling your fly is a fun way to spend a day. Drew and Maggie got into a bunch of them last weekend.
Kris with a PM monster
Kam got this steelhead while fishing for bass. Unbelievable. Well done.
Streamer fishing remains strong, and will only get better. Put your streamer in the right place, at the right angle, and you will be fine. Everyone loves the slot machine analogy; keep feeding the machine quarters, and eventually you will get paid. Same thing applies with streamer fishing. Keep casting, keep your head in the game, and soon enough a fish will make a mistake. People fret about size, color, amount of flash, retrieval speed, depth, fly action etc etc. Yes, these things can turn the odds in your favor, but 9 times out of 10, you are simply waiting on the fish to "turn on." Once this happens, you can feasibly throw any streamer pattern into a good spot, and they will at least chase it.
Brian got this one in Montana (his second home)
@fishpuncher got this nice one from a small creek with his pup.
Former GR shop help Chad with a classic Spring streamer eater
Locally our water is finally above the 55 degree mark, and the bite has really turned on. These prespawn fish are very aggressive, and will chase down large streamers confidently and deliberately. The way they eat a fly is unreal. Trout do a lot of chasing and swiping, often times just bumping the fly. Bass simply inhale the entire fly with out skipping a beat. And when you get a big one that does this, and swims back to the bottom, it will completely bend over and cork a 7wt. Great stuff.
Afternoons and evenings have been best, especially after a cold night prior. Seems like after a cold night, it takes hours for the fish to warm up enough for them to start feeding. Once it hits that mark, it can be a flurry of action in the last couple hours of the day. Most fish are in sandy, slow currents with submerged timber. 2-5 feet deep, soft stuff. The upcoming weather pattern will only rev things up. Tan or yellow streamers have been good.
We are on the front edge of some of the best fishing of the year. Options are endless, and hatches will become more prevalent. Honestly the month of May is spectacular when the weather cooperates. This weekend should be very very very good.
Here's a quick tying video of an easy articulated trout streamer; the Jailhouse Sculpin. Materials list HERE
Thanks! See you out there.