Salmon Fry Emergence Unseen Super Hatch?
|Remember those salmon that spawned in the rivers last fall ? All winter those millions of salmon eggs have been incubating in the gravel. Now the river bed is about ready to bloom. Millions of salmon fry are about to emerge from the gravel creating an unseen super hatch. Trout eat baby salmon when they are abundant. Salmon Alevin and Fry fly patterns are often very productive during early spring for catching trout and whitefish.|
|Many anglers are aware that when salmon, steelhead and trout spawn that the resulting egg drift can make trout and whitefish feed ravenously on eggs. Egg patterns drifted close to the bottom can produce many hook-ups. Some anglers in Alaska and British Columbia have also know for years that fry emergence can trigger a bite. If your local favorite trout stream gets a salmon run then it too could have a fry emergence period. When this emergence will occur depends on|
|the specie of salmon involved and the temperature of the stream. In the Pacific Northwest most salmon fry emerge in March, April and May. Are you prepared to meet this unseen super hatch or will you like many other Northwest anglers watch mystified when sometimes the trout refuse to take dries from the surface during prolific spring hatches of insects, unaware that the real hatch never reached the surface?|
When baby salmon hatch from the egg, they do so with the egg yoke attached. Some are washed from the gravel by catastrophic events or are crowded out by siblings or leave the gravel during investigative forays. As soon as they are exposed they become easy prey. Fish this fly dead drift close to the gravel as if it were a nymph.
|01138-10||King Alevin||10||3 for $5.25||-->SALE ENDED|
It is well known that fry emergence can really get big Rainbows chompin'. This is also true of Char, Whitefish and many other predator species. This fly can be fished with a sinking tip line as a live fry or as a dead or injured fry by drifting it along the bottom with a floating line, long leader and lead shot.
|11907-10||Alaskan Fry||10||3 for $5.25||-->SALE ENDED|
Elk River, British Columbia
By: John Gierach
I first fished the Elk River in southeastern British Columbia about a dozen years ago when Dave Brown and I drove over from Alberta, where Dave had been guiding, to check it out as a place he might like to take some of his clients. At the time Dave was doing floats on the Bow River and nymph fishing for large (sometimes very large) browns and rainbows. The Elk was said to have smaller fish, but they were native west slope cutthroats, there were lots of them and they were suckers for dry flies. He thought it might be a nice change for some of his sports who liked casting dries and appreciated more than just big fish. The Elk wasn't exactly unknown, but it was just one of many other rivers in the area, it was many miles from the nearest big destination fishery, and not really on the way to anywhere, so the fishing pressure was very low. On that first trip Dave and I floated a good 40 miles of the Elk in four or five days at the height of the season and saw no other boats and only one or two bank fishers. We also caught countless fat, healthy cutthroats on dry flies. They may not have been big by Bow River trophy standards, but the very best of them were upwards of 18 inches and as pretty as trout get. Not long after that I was doing a book signing and someone in the audience asked me if there were still unspoiled places in the West. I said, "Yes," but I didn't say where. The Elk became a regular deal for both Dave and me. I took to going back up there every year to fish with Dave and after a few seasons of my stories A.K. Best started coming along. Eventually Dave pretty much dropped the Bow River and established the Elk River Angler guide service over in B.C. More recently Mike Price and Vince Zounek joined the group and that worked out fine because by then Dave had other boats and other guides working for him. Exploration was always part of the program on these trips. We'd always spend several days float-fishing the Elk because we'd all come to love it, but we'd also spend several more days poking around in small, headwater streams that were haunted by grizzly bears and virtually untouched, or driving over the border to try out obscure rivers and streams in western Alberta. The idea was to help Dave out by scouting new places for him to take his growing number of clients. Sometimes we'd catch big, wild fish. Now and then we'd drive and hike for hours without a strike. It was the best kind of high drama in strange - but also strangely familiar - new country. This year's trip was either my 12th or 13th, something like A.K.'s eighth, Vince's third and Mike's second, but it was the first one where I really noticed what up until then had been gradual changes in the place. Suddenly (or at least it seemed sudden) there are two competing fly shops in the town of Fernie where once there were none. Each has a web sight and a stable of guides who jockey for position on the river and now and then say unflattering things about each other in the bars and restaurants around town: the first symbolic shots in the inevitable guide wars. There are more fishermen - more people in general - the pace seems faster and more hectic, condos are beginning to sprout like mushrooms on what was once farm land and, coincidentally, the small ski area south of town is now in the middle of a huge expansion project The river is still beautiful and not even all that crowded compared to most famous trout rivers in the U.S. For that matter, the fishing is still very good, although the trout are beginning to get a little skittish and selective: just beginning to show the signs of being fished a little too hard by a few too many fishermen for a few too many seasons. Even the smaller, hike-in streams are showing early symptoms of increased traffic and the outfitters are trying to balance keeping the old secrets against promoting their operations and getting their clients into fish. Usually the old secrets end up losing. And yes, you're right, as one of those fishermen who now amount to a few too many, I have no right to complain. In fact, I should count myself lucky to have fished it back in what are now starting to look like the good old days. I do consider myself lucky and I'm not really complaining. It's just that most of the well known rivers I've fished in the western U.S. for the last 20 or 30 years went through this stage generations ago, long before I got there. I'd read the stories of the guides and writers who found these rivers and popularized them and I understood that, although they're good now, they were once better. I had just never before witnessed the entire process for myself. It's been something to see. End
Casting for Steelhead and Salmon:
Part Two: Basics of Spey Casting
In this section, we’ll go over some fundamentals of the basic Spey casts, along with some images that should help you develop feel for your rod and cast. I’ll also cover some basic troubleshooting tips, and cover a few drills you might practice on your local stream or pond.
When putting your rod together for the first time, I recommend that you apply a thin coat of paraffin (candle wax) to the male ends of the rod ferrules. This will ensure a good seal, decreasing the likelihood of the ferrules working loose during the cast, and also making it easier to break down the rod after fishing or casting. I also strongly recommend the practice of taping your ferrules prior to casting. The incredible torque loads placed on the rod may cause the ferrules to slowly but surely begin twisting and separating. I have seen this result in breakage of rods near the ferrules, and have witnessed the embarrassing spectacle of watching two–thirds of a rod go flying out into the river in the middle of a cast!
To tape your ferrules, align the guides of each section of the rod and gently, but firmly seat the ferrule sections together. Before attaching your reel and treading your line through the guides, wrap the area above each ferrule with tape. I recommend a good quality black vinyl electrical tape which is easy to apply, stretches a bit, works in cold or warm weather, is easy to remove, and which is readily available. Begin wrapping above the ferrule about 1.5’–2”, then spiral the wrapping down over the ferrule joint, overlapping about half the width of the previous winding of tape. Wrap the tape to at least 1.5’–2” below the ferrule. Finish the wrapping on the side of the rod opposite the guides. Make sure that the tape end sticks well; loose ends can “grab” the line during casting.
Casting Locations: Stillwater versus Current
Where you practice your casting will largely depend on where you live, and your proximity to a body of water. Ideally, the casting environment should mimic your most frequently fished conditions. For ironing out certain technique “bugs”, or to get a feel for the basics of Spey casting, a stillwater situation will be fine. However, there are several notable limitations inherent with practicing on a pond or lake. The decreased drag on your line in still water will under–represent the degree of rod loading you would normally experience on the river, leading to subtle timing difficulties. Decreased initial rod loading will also have an effect on your loop shape, especially when you are casting longer distances. Generally speaking, casting on still water will decrease your maximum distance casts by about 10-15%. Stillwater casting also does not do justice for many rods, although a good general impression of a rod’s feel (but not necessarily “fishability”) may be garnered after a stillwater session. It is also nearly impossible to duplicate fishing a sunk line in still water. From an efficiency standpoint, the lack of current will further magnify difficulties in properly loading and throwing line for the beginner and intermediate.
Casting on grass provides reasonable feedback on general rod and line characteristics, but the lack of water surface tension will result in a very different feel. Typically this may affect the quality of the “Lift” portion of the cast, and to properly cast forward, may result in the “Grip”, or “Anchor Point” landing too far behind you. Casting on grass may assist in the general development of timing and rhythm, as well as provide feedback on gross mechanical faults by making it easier to examine the loop you are casting. However, the timing of a Spey cast on the river will differ significantly, as will the spotting of the Grip.
By far the best casting environment involves a river or stream that has easy access to both banks. The current should be about “steelhead speed”, about 1.5-4 mph. You should not have to worry about your footing, and there should be adequate room behind you for those overzealously aerialized backcasts.
The Hand Grip
· The top hand, which will normally be your dominant hand, should grip the rod near the upper section of the cork (since most of us are right–handed I’ll use the terms “top–hand” referring to the right hand, and “bottom–hand” for the left hand). Although the length of the upper grip varies between different manufacturers, this is a good place to start, as it will maximize the leverage you will be able to exert on the rod during your casting motions. After becoming proficient with the cast, you will begin to notice subtle differences in the feel of the rod during the cast, and eventually will find your own “sweet spot” for the upper hand, which may be different for each rod you own. With the rod held horizontally in front of you, and with the guides and reel facing directly towards the ground, grasp the rod comfortably with your top hand as if you were shaking hands with a lady. During the cast, the hands grip the rod very lightly all the way through the cast until the final power stroke. The junction of your thumb and index finger should make a small “t” facing your right shoulder. For rods with very long grips, the following guideline may be observed: with the butt cap resting against your upper abdomen and the rod held horizontally out in front of you, the upper hand should grip the rod as high on the grip as comfortable, without your having to lean forward to keep the rod horizontal.
· The bottom hand grips the rod over the butt cap, or alternatively, with the butt cap resting comfortably within the palm. Again, the “t” formed by the thumb and index finger should point to the right shoulder for a right–handed caster.
TIP: [Some pundits advocate placing the thumbs directly in line with the rod, as with a single hand rod. I believe this may contribute to a ready position which is too upright (vertical), and increase the potential to “Slash” (see below) during the forward stroke. A vertical firing position is desirable for single–hand casting, but is to be avoided during the Spey cast.]
· To maximize your mechanical advantage while Spey casting, a good and stable stance is a must. As you will see, the lower body (especially the pelvis) plays a large role in generating power for the cast, although the movements are subtle. The upper body (torso) remains relatively quiet through the cast. A good stance will also allow you to fully utilize the available range of motion in your shoulder, generating more power and a tighter loop.
· As in downhill skiing, the pelvis should face the intended target line. Start on the left bank of a river, with the current flowing from right to left (“river Right”). With your pelvis facing straight down stream, your left leg will be slightly forward, and your right leg slightly behind.
· Stand upright, and don’t lean forward or back. During the Spey cast, it is important to keep the torso relatively upright; the cast is done with the pelvis, legs, and arms, but not the back.
The Firing Position
· Unlike the single–handed overhead cast, the rod position for Spey casting is not upright. The rod tip must rise to the “2 o’clock” firing position, but as seen from behind, the rod tip is also angled away from the caster about 30-40 degrees off vertical.
· To achieve this firing position, first extend your right arm directly out to the side, then move it as far back as it will go without turning your torso. Bend your elbow, and just like that, your right hand is in position. You should be able to feel your right scapula (shoulder blade) digging into your back. The left hand holds the rod near the center or just to the right of center of your chest. To reach the firing position, it is vital that the right hand does not act as a hinge; hinging of the rod will cause the rod tip to fall below the 2 o’clock position, virtually guaranteeing a poor cast.
Twilight Elk Hair Caddis
During warmer months, trout can often be found in pocket-water and fast moving riffle areas of a river or stream. Dry fly fishing these areas can produce explosive action. The fly pattern that you pick for this bouncy water must have a lot of flotation and be easy to see. These Elk Hair Caddis Flies are designed to ride the roughest water that will hold rising trout. The bright glowing Antron fibers that coat the top of the wing will help see the fly in what can be adverse visual conditions. These flies also work in smooth moderate flows. In the summer and fall, the Elk Hair Caddis series is the staple searching-fly type of the Pacific Northwest.
|Here during the evenings of mid-summer, caddis hatch by the trillion billions. If you don't believe it, try setting you camp light next to the water. These evening hatches can be categorizes as nose caddis, ear caddis, salad caddis etc.|
Hair Caddis, Brown
This is the pattern that proved the usefulness of the day-glo wing to me. There is a time and place where simultaneous hatching and egg laying creates a blizzard of brown body caddis in the bright sun light. This creates an incredible rise in what should be perfect visual conditions. The problem is trying to figure out which fly is yours when its surrounded by hundreds of look-alikes. This fly solves that problem. Experienced proved that even anglers with very good eye sight complained when we ran out of these flies.
|5011-16||Twilight Elk Hair Caddis, Brown||16||3 for $5.25||-->SALE ENDED|
Hair Caddis, Olive
This pattern will fool trout when they are looking for grayish/greenish caddis. We have found that trout rarely see the bright wing topping fiber or at least if they do, they don't seem to be put off by it. We have taken some very nice trout from clear, calm lakes with Twilight Series Caddis.
|5026-16||Twilight Elk Hair Caddis, Olive||16||3 for $5.25||-->SALE ENDED|
|5026-18||Twilight Elk Hair Caddis, Olive||18||3 for $5.25||-->SALE ENDED|
Hair Caddis, Tan
Aquatic Moths as well as several species of caddis spend the hot parts of the day in the grasses at the edge of fast moving water. Here there is shade and the cooling effect of the water its self make a comfort zone for insects that would otherwise die from dehydration. Some of the prime areas become crowed with insects vying for position. This translates to fluttering movement that often attracts trout right to the waters edge. Many of these insects are tanish/brownish in color. Fish upstream along the banks.
|5031-14||Twilight Elk Hair Caddis, Tan||14||3 for $5.25||-->SALE ENDED|
|5031-16||Twilight Elk Hair Caddis, Tan||16||3 for $5.25||-->SALE ENDED|
|Twilight Elk Hair Caddis, Set - (3) each of the following flies - Twilight Elk Hair Caddis, Brown #16, Twilight Elk Hair Caddis, Olive #16 & #18, Twilight Elk Hair Caddis, Tan #14 & #16. (15 flies in all).|
Elk Hair Caddis, Set - (3) each of the following flies - Twilight Elk
Hair Caddis, Brown #16, Twilight Elk Hair Caddis, Olive #16 & #18,
Twilight Elk Hair Caddis, Tan #14 & #16.
(15 flies in all).
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