River Report - May 7, 2016
With opening weekend in the rearview mirror trout season 2016 is officially underway. I hope everybody was able to spend some time on the water over the past week, enjoying all that our great state has to offer!
Things are really starting to get going up here in the north. We've had some nice weather over the past week, and looking ahead at the extended forecast temperatures will remain in the high 60's for the foreseeable future. With warming air temps comes rising water temps, and rising water temps equals BUGS!
We are already seeing plenty of bug activity in our area. BWO's, black stoneflies, and mahoganies have all been out and about, but the main focus right now is Hendricksons. Hennies are now system wide, and in good numbers, on most of our rivers. We are seeing good emergences in the mid/late afternoons and great spinner flights in the evening. There is something important to remember when trying to fish Hennies that I was recently reminded of.
Over the past week I have spent a few evenings on the water after closing the shop at 6pm. This had me getting on the water somewhere around 7 or so. As I started up stream I looked to the sky and saw what I was hoping for...Hennies...a lot of them...everywhere. I was excited and my blood was pumping. It is probably only those of us who pursue trout that can become so excited and get such a rush from merely the sight of mayflies in the air. As I watched the mayflies do their dance, slowly getting lower and closer to the water, my luck changed. A cold front was moving in. The air pressure started dropping rapidly, the wind kicked up, and it started to rain. Just like that the bugs were gone, back to the trees. There would be no spinner fall that night, and I attributed it to the weather. Fast forward two days, same exact section of river, same time of day but this time solid steady weather. Again Hendricksons filled the air. Tonight would be the night I thought, the bugs had to spin out. Again I watched the Hennies do their dance, slowly getting lower, and lower, and lower. But again things didn't play out as I expected them to. The bugs got to within a couple feet of the water, but never any lower. A few bugs would hit the water but the majority never fell. As dusk set in, again, the bugs were gone. I was perplexed.
It wasn't until a few days later that I put together what was happening. After talking with other anglers who had experienced the same situation, an old local who knows these waters all too well provided the key. The female Hendricksons do not need to hit the water to deposit their eggs. They are capable of dropping their egg sacks from the air, a few feet off of the water. And he noticed this to be the case especially in the early stages of Hennie activity.
So what can you take away from this? While it is definitely not a waste of time to fish a Hennie spinner fall, because they don't always drop eggs from the air and some males will still fall spent, you may be better suited trying to fish a Hendrickson emergence. Hendricksons will float for some time on the surface, drying their wings, before taking flight. This means more bugs on the water for a longer period of time which ideally equals more rising fish! Try fishing an emerger or dun pattern with a pheasant tail or soft hackle dropper.
All in all, the season seems to be off to a good start. If the Hendrickson activity is a sign of things to come, we should be in for a potentially great mayfly summer. We still have some dates open for May, and June and July are starting to book fast. The shop is fully stocked and looking good. Give us a call, shoot us an email, or stop on by. We are always eager and willing to help make your days on the water better!