Salmonfly Hatch Report, Stoneflies and Droppers, Florida Redfish
|Salmonfly Hatch Report|
|The Salmonfly hatch occurs along the full length of the lower 100 miles of the Deschutes River. Best dry fly action right now is in the section from Maupin to South junction with the hatch progressing upstream. Trout are just getting keyed on the big bugs at Mecca. As of Thursday there were few adultsshowing at Warm Springs. There are probably good numbers there now.|
|If you have the right fly patterns, casting skills and diligence, you will catch fish! Listed below is only part of our huge selection of Stonefly patterns. Stop by on your way to the Deschutes, or check out our online assortment: Stonefly Dry Flies|
Foam Stone, Salmon Fly
This un-sinkable fly is very productive in many situations. The segmented body is made from sealed cell foam plastic. It will float in fast turbulent water. Wiggly legs and Krystal Flash add realism. This fly pattern, like the real Salmonfly adults, hit the water with a plop, thus drawing immediate attention from the fish. Bullet-head flies such as this one are very aerodynamic to cast. This is a very buoyant fly to use with a dropper nymph.
The 2011 hatch looks to be very strong, with adults on the grass in normal numbers, in the usual places.
|99501-04||Foam Stone, Salmon Fly||4||3 for $7.49|
Oregon's Mighty Deschutes River
|Look for adult Salmonflies in the streamside vegetation, such as alder hedges. Trout congregate along the edges of the river, under overhanging branches, waiting for Salmonflies to fall into the water.|
The Salmon Fly hatch can be more complex than one might expect. It pays to have flies in a variety of sizes, colors, weights and silhouettes, if for no other reason than to have something different than the last guy who fished your piece of water. Every time a trout gets hooked it becomes more selective. Many years ago, master angler, Lee Clark discovered that a smaller, lightweight fly would often work where more realistic flies failed. This fly is very easy to cast. Cast it back under the overhanging brush as a searching pattern or show it to picky fish that have refused your previous offering.
Salmonfly mating occurs in the streamside vegetation. These insects are clumsy and often fall into the water where feeding trout are waiting. Use shorter, stout leaders for casting accuracy.
|12024||Yarn Body Stonefly, Orange||8||3 for $7.49|
Egg Layer Salmon Fly
From our observations, Female Salmon Flies lay eggs several ways. Sometimes they skitter across the surface exuding eggs as they go. Other times they drop eggs while flying. It is the former mode that is of interest to the angler. Salmon Flies laying eggs with their egg ball intact and the abdomen flush with the surface or slightly below the surface can be a prime target for feeding trout. This is a great fly for that reason. The dark peacock butt looks like eggs...breakfast of stonefly & eggs.
Salmonfly egg-laying usually occurs in the late afternoon. This activity puts a lot of insects on the water and a trout feeding frenzy usually ensues.
|200755-04||Egg Layer Salmon Fly||4||3 for $7.49|
|Chubby Chernobyl Dry Fly|
|The Chubby Chernobyl as was designed to be fished as an attractor pattern, which means it might appear to the trout as any number of different food organisms, such as a grass hopper, a stonefly, a cricket, a large beetle, bee, or your neighbor's favorite kitten. To me it looks like a tiny skate board with legs. It does appear that trout on the Deschutes think that it looks very much like a golden stonefly, so much so that the Chubby has replaced the Norm Wood Special as the go-to "searching-fly" with many anglers. There are several reasons for this fly's popularity. It floats low, like a real stonefly, and this makes it very hard to tell from the real live critter. It floats forever, with or without dressing. It is extremely easy to see in all light conditions therefore it is easy to control all aspects of your presentation. The origin of this pattern is claimed by several tiers.|
|THP0071||Chubby Chernobyl Dry Fly||8||3 for $7.49|
|THP0071||Chubby Chernobyl Dry Fly||10||3 for $7.49|
Rogue Foam Stone, Giant Black
The bellies of Salmonflies are not always orange. sometimes they are dark, nearly black with just a hint of orange at the segments. It pays to carry several sizes and colorations of flies. This is a very large fly pattern that looks like female salmonflies that are loaded with eggs. This un-sinkable fly is very productive in many situations. The segmented body is made from sealed cell foam plastic. It will float in fast turbulent water.
|10803-04||Rogue Foam Stone, Giant Black||4||3 for $6.95|
|Last year the Chubby Chernobyl (a golden stone pattern) fly pattern ruled the Salmonfly hatch. This season an improved version called Chubby Norm is the big winner. Chubby Norm is a cross between Chubby Chernobyl and the ever popular Norm Wood Special.|
Chubby Norm Top View.
Chubby Norm Trout View.
Chubby Norm Working View.
|TFS0108||Chubby Norm||6||3 for $7.49|
Stonefly Dries With Dropper Nymphs
By: Travis Johnson
The world famous Deschutes River Salmonfly fly hatch is in full swing. Trout are looking up. There is a seemingly
endless biomass of insects littering the stream side vegetation. During the warmer
parts of the day, huge quantities of egg laying
stoneflies are replenishing the future of the stone fly hatches to come.
Salmonflies are joined by golden stones and olive stones. It is a stonefly
Often there is even more insect activity under the surface of the water. Caddis are pupating, PMDs are starting to get the itch to ascend to the surface to hatch, even green drakes and Crane flies awaiting their turn to shine. These smaller bugs go unnoticed by most anglers as the large stone flies get all the attention. But the trout see all things in their environment. So don't get stuck with just the advertised hatch.
The truth is that during the Salmonfly hatch, trout can get into a feeding frenzy. Especially when they are focused near the surface, trout will be in tuned to all forms of life in the upper part of the water column. Dropper flies fished under your big Stonefly dry fly can draw a lot of attention, and can really improve the amount of hook-ups you get during a day spent on the water.
dropper flies should you start with. What back-up patterns should you carry in your
fly box during this crazy time on the river??? Today's
fly selections can be daunting, but with the amount of pressure that these
fish are likely to see, a good combination of species specific and a few
attractor patterns can make a huge difference in the time spent on stream.
The best times of the hatch to really focus on fishing dropper are easier to predict than most would think. Before the sunlight reaches the canyon floor in the morning, temperatures are cool and the adult stoneflies are hiding down in the base of the dew covered grass or in tight spots in rocks. During this same time, the phenomenon know as behavioral drift of nymphs and larvae is occurring in many parts of the river. Typically between 6 and 9 a.m. many free living aquatic insects let go of their current living location and drift down stream to a new location to forage for food or find protection. This bug behavior is a daily occurrence form the spring to fall. Morning caddis hatches can also prompt vigorous sub-surface feeding activity. During these cooler parts of the mornings, fish might not be ready to break the surface, but the combination of a helpless nymph placed a couple of feet below a large buoyant stonefly dry fly might just be the double-whammy trick that gets you hooked up.
|Several species of mayflies hatch simultaneously with the larger stoneflies. During normal sunlit days these mayflies kind of trickle off and go unnoticed by most anglers. Even though the Deschutes River flows through a desert, spring time rains are not uncommon. A cloudy day can foster intense hatches of mayflies. Trout are inclined to become keyed on mayflies, even during the most heavy stone flies and caddis hatches. Mayflies are the trout's best friend. Each and every stage of the insect's life is an easy meal for hungry tout to prey on. Now let's get things straight. I am not saying you can't take fish on stonefly patterns during a mayfly hatch, but I will say that if there are any number of mayflies like Green Drakes, or PMDs the fish will be drawn toward these food items. With how easy it is for the trout to feed on helpless mayflies, the fish can become more focused on these offerings when they are abundant. Again, with a dropper fished below your Stonefly, you can cover two prolific hatches at once.|
Last but not
least, and this is a big one, maybe the most common influence on how trout
might respond to your flies...fishing pressure! That's right, Fishing pressure can influence when fish
feed and mostly how picky they become. This why having we carry 5 different
types of stone fly dries as opposed to 50 of one kind. You can easily tell if
you are fishing an over fish that have seen a lot of pressure by the way
they react to you offerings. If
you have cast to pressured fish, you have seen fish come up under
your fly look at it, and followed it, scrutinize it and then reject it at the last
minute. Usually repeatedly casting with the same fly over that fish will get you
nowhere. Once you locate a tough fish this is where the game can get good. I
immediately cut off that fly and replace it with
a different pattern, then cast again and watch the way the fish reacts. If a similar
reaction is noted, I usually have a dropper-fly set up ready to go on my
fly patch. In most of these types of situations two feet of 5x tippet
secured to the bend of the hook on the dry fly forms the dropper.
This type of combination seems to be about 80% on getting tough fish to eat. The reason being that trout only expend as much energy as they can get from a food item to eat that food item. So a trout coming all the way to the surface to inspect your fly leaving empty handed would be a loss in the trout eyes. So the dropper on the way down is a great choice, and easy to apprehend. I have seen situations where a fish gets super excited and eats the dropper on the way up to the dry and gets hooked with both hooks. I have also seen the fish reject the dropper and then take the dry. All in all, the combination is what make this an effective methodology for trout fishing in these situations
have produced well for me over the years are as follows not in any real
order but all are great and I would recommend having in your box.
Bead Head Copper
B.H. Thin Skin
Bead Head Bird's Nest
Epoxy Back Green Drake Nymph
deep sparkle pupa's
S's B.H. caddis pupa
Florida Redfish Adventure
By: Marcy Stone & Josh Linn
For the last few years, Josh Linn and I have set our fishing watches for the Olympic Peninsula in the month of March for the wettest steelhead trips (and the fewest fish) of the entire winter season. This year we decided to set the watch for April, fishing the warm clime of South Florida!
It wasn’t a close your eyes and point to the map sort of thing. Rather, it was me missing my family whom I had left over 13 years ago when I decided to move to Oregon.
In the third week of April, Josh and I packed one bag (!) and 1/4 of the clothing we normally pack for Forks, Washington, and flew 3,000 miles to Ft Lauderdale. As a native Floridian, I was excited to show a native Oregonian the finer points of the city in which I was born...It took all of one afternoon.
|Afterwards, we drove the rental car, windows down, the smell of salt water in the warm, humid air, to West Palm Beach where we reunited with my family for a few days. Florida transplant, and friend through the fly fishing world, Andy Jensen, was eager to pick us up for the drive from West Palm to the Everglades, about 2 1/2 hours south and west, via the notorious “Alligator Alley”—a section of Interstate 75, named quite literally for the alligators that cross the road to get to opposite waterways that run along the roadside. With Bob Seger blaring in Andy’s truck, and Josh and I counting gators along the way, we drove quickly to our next stop, Chokoloskee. Our guide and host, Frank Ogden, and his wife, Yvonne, met us outside their beautiful island home and we quickly relaxed on the second story deck with cold beers, cigars, and “getting to know you “ easy conversation. Andy recounted tales from his salt and freshwater guiding trips, his trip to Oregon when he first visited our shop, and how he and Frank first met. Yvonne graciously hosted dinner and made sure everyone had plenty of lasagna, manicotti, and red wine.|
|We went over the itinerary of our trip, although with the full moon and the winds out of the “wrong” direction, nothing was set in stone. Frank, our guide, explained to us how the weather and tide patterns affect the water and, thus, the fishing. It reminded me of steelheading back home in Oregon—high pressure, full moon, rising/dropping river levels. It was like the same game but played in salt water, with different rods, and different species of fish. We were to get up early but not leave the island until sun-up. Having never before fished Florida salt, Josh and I dressed as if we were fishing on a hot day on the Deschutes River: long sleeve shirts, brimmed hats, sunglasses, sunscreen, long, loose fitting pants, and slip-on shoes. Frank grabbed a tide table from the local tackle shop and less than 15 minutes later, we were pulling out of the boat slip. A few words about our guide—Frank Ogden is a veterinarian by trade and fishes the Everglades just for the pure passion of it. He is a smart, well read vegetarian with a genuine|
|smile and a natural knack for finding game fish. It’s his thirst for knowledge and childlike curiosity that keeps him young, and it’s contagious! Frank: If you ever wanted to be a guide full time and make money doing it, I am confident that you would be booked all season long!|
|At 35 miles an hour in Frank’s Hells Bay Professional
18’7 skiff, we cruised smoothly over shallow water, at times less than a
foot deep. We passed by channel markers that only someone who knows the
Everglades intimately knows aren’t always correct. For most of this first day, Josh and I fished, mostly
blind casting for snook, into the thick mangroves and on the light colored
hard bottom that Frank knew would be the perfect canvas for us to locate
redfish or “reds” as the locals call them. Although we were able to hear and see evidence of tarpon, it would be
difficult if not impossible to see into the brackish water that resulted
from the blowing west winds that day. Our targets would have to be snook and redfish. Frank poled the boat for miles between motored
jaunts, and our only fish to the hand was a small “red” that Josh nearly
hand-lined in. Not to be
disappointed, we looked at the glass half full! Josh’s first Florida caught fish!
(Note to saltwater guides: The best thing about taking out steelhead fishermen is that we are happy with even one fish for the day, no matter how big it is)
I, however, found solace with the fact that I was able to cast, distance wise, into the mangroves, and was proud to hear Frank say, “I can tell you are a Spey caster.”
Moreover, neither of us had suffered any sunburn on our bare feet as we cast from the platform for hours in the sun. In total, we had traveled a little less than 100 miles that first day!
We celebrated with a sense of satisfaction, hand-rolled Florida cigars, cold beer, and tanned skin. That evening before we retired, Frank made Josh and I promise him that we would drink two bottles of water so that we wouldn’t risk dehydration on our next hot day of hunting. We complied.
|Day two began as the one before it; wake at 6:30am,
coffee, fruit, cereal, and pastries smuggled in via Andy’s truck. Just as efficiently as before, we were out of the
slip in less than 10 minutes.
This day had the feeling of success! The winds were blowing the next direction in their cycle and Frank
had us fishing the backcountry, and we were racing the tides. I was up first, casting to reds that we found traveling in sandy
trenches that branched out from each other like a network of feeding
highways. This was something I
had not seen the previous day, and it was exciting! My target practice was off, and, never having done this type of
fishing, I was growing frustrated. As a Florida native, I certainly felt like a native Oregon
steelheader! “Shouldn’t this be
my birthright?” I silently wondered to myself. As we consider ourselves a team, I handed Josh the
Sage Xi3 with the
Nautilus, an awesome weapon/casting combination. I did not
want this to go to waste and he is considerably a better caster than I. The tides were quickly coming in and we had to settle
for a nice snook that had eagerly been feeding without abandon and gave away
his hiding place. After a few
casts and a tricky untangling from the mangroves, Josh was able to cast
right to it and tempt him out of his mangrove lair. Reeling with both excitement (Josh) and
disappointment (me), Frank took us to a spot where we had seen reds the day
before, one that had been almost under our boat before it disappeared under
a smoky plume of sand. As
he poled us down the light colored hard bottom, I spotted the first red. Two casts later and I had spooked it. The next seven minutes were filled with something like this:
Frank: There’s one at 10 o’clock to the boat! Do you see him?
Me: Which one? The one in front of that—is that a fish or a rock? There are so many!
Frank: He’s moved out…
Josh: I see another one—see that dark spot next to that….Oooh! I see two of them to the right of that, do you see them?
Me: I think I see one! Is that one?
I was never more annoyed at my putting off buying a new set of contact lenses than I was when on that casting platform. After a series of denials and spooking fish, I again handed Josh the rod.
He asked, “Are you sure?”
“We’re a team! Of course I am sure—go get one!” I retorted, in frustration and anticipation.
Josh busted out only two false casts, perfectly placed, stripped the weighted crab pattern, and the fight was on! Frank helped tail this beautiful, copper colored warrior, and then it was again my turn…
|I couldn’t tell at this point if the grumble in my
stomach was my nerves or the fact that we hadn’t eaten lunch yet but I
ignored it, grabbed the rod, stepped up onto the platform, and stripped out
some line. Frank poled the boat back to the place we had first
begun and made our way down the line of mangroves. Right away, I was on one!
I spotted a pair, and locked onto them. I figured I had a better chance if I had four fish eyes looking at my
fly than just two and as Josh and Frank were calling out other reds, I cast
my fly to the pair. I watched as one of the fish turned and started to chase
my fly and the disbelief that I had fooled this one almost made me forget to
keep stripping! In a flash, he
was mine! I remembered to strip
set, and anxiously awaited the
fight that was about to ensue—would it feel like a steelhead? (Kind of)
Would I see backing? (No) Would I have the pleasure of holding this salty
prize? (YES!!) I asked Frank to help me land him, as I did not want
to risk losing my first redfish. I felt the large, rough scales, felt and heard the
vibration of the “drumming” that give this species of fish their nickname,
and held his tail as I investigated the large, black “eye spot”. As he revived and swam deep into the warm, salty water, I wished that
I could have followed…
Links: Sage 990-4 Xi3, Nautilus NV 8/9, Rio Redfish Line, Murkin Crab Fly, Sunscreen
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The Fly Fishing Shop, Welches, OR
Fish long & prosper,
Mark & Patty