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Old 06-25-2009, 09:38 PM
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Default Out of ideas

I have spent the last 2 days on a river watching fish jump a foot in the air until noon when there doesn't seem to be anything in the air except cotton. After noon they all stop jumping and you don't see them again for the rest of the day.

I tried everything in my box from buggers to nymphs and can't for the life of me figure out what to throw at them. These are mostly trout ranging between 7 and about 14", and some salmon and shad.

The river is almost still, between 10-36" deep with clear water that runs from the lake just down stream.

So my question would be, what do you throw at fish that turn away from every bug in your box?
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Old 06-25-2009, 09:51 PM
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Default Re: Out of ideas

well you said all that seems to be in the air is cotton right.
So tye up a few to look like cotton that float or a bugger thats all white.
Just my 2cents
DAVE
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Old 06-25-2009, 09:51 PM
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Default Re: Out of ideas

I would try a flying ant in the film or an emerger pattern & time the swing to about where the fish are.
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Old 06-26-2009, 07:24 AM
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Default Re: Out of ideas

They have to be hitting something, have you tried using a fine net to see what they are eating? or tying something on that is really small - sometimes I find that size does make a difference and when I can't see what they are eating it is usually cause it is small or something that is emerging.
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Old 06-26-2009, 08:21 AM
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Default Re: Out of ideas

We don't know where you are but if it were me, I would try midges, starting with a cream color like the white fluff.
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Old 06-26-2009, 11:31 AM
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Default Re: Out of ideas

Brandy,

Hmmm. A local fly shop would probably be a HUGE help here to narrow it down and give you some pointers.

Otherwise, I'd try looking very closely at the surface to see if you can find anything floating or swimming up, back water eddies that might collect stuff or spider webs by the stream, to see if there's anything caught, and get low to the water to see if you can find a mating swarm of something tiny flying just above the surface.

It sounds like something is either popping to the surface very quickly, like a caddis, or there is a mating swarm of something small and tiny like midges just above the surface.

Whatever it is, it's either very small (or you'd see it) or if it's a larger size, it's not sitting long on the surface (they wouldn't be jumping).

Based on that,

try swinging a wet. Something like a size 14 Green Emergent Sparkle Pupa is usually the first out of the box for me if i think it might be a caddis. Sometimes the emergers rocket to the surface, pop off and fly away. There are many caddis that hang in faster water, usually below riffles, and this is a good pattern to imitate them. But there also some slower water ones like the Weedy Water Caddis. If you look around you might see their cases-- they look like little ice cream cones. Another caddis case you might see are ones that look like little turtle shells (saddlecase caddis) but they're typically found in faster water below riffles. But a Green or Tan pattern and size 14 imitates a lot of different caddis, including these. If you wanted to try a dry fly, a 14-16 black elk hair caddis (weedy water) or tan 16-18 (for saddlecase) might be worth a shot. Swinging a soft hackle (Partridge and Orange/Green/Yellow, Partridge and Peacock) can also be effective since these caddis, and several others, come back to dive under water to lay eggs and can double for the emerging pupae as well as drowned adults if you have something like that.

If you think they might be midges flying just above above the water that's got them jumping, something like a Griffiths Gnat 20 or smaller, or anything you've got that's tiny- small Adams, BWO, caddis or midge dry etc on a fine tippet would be the way to go. Usually, if midges are emerging or actually on the surface, it's more of a subtle, sipping rise-- after all it's a small meal that doesn't really justify a lot of effort as far as jumping. But if they're swarming over the surface out of reach it might be to much for them to resist. Dangle a tic tac over my head long enough and I'd jump for it eventually

Other stuff that they could be on are Pale Morning Duns and Callibaetis- and they can be a very tricky hatches and are major ones out your way, also in slow water sections and lakes for callibaetis. But it doesn't sound like that. Again, more of a sipping deal, since the emergers don't usually pop off, and the duns are usually on the water or stuck in the film and are pretty easy pickings.

Hope you can figure this one out, good luck and let us know.

mark
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Old 06-26-2009, 01:14 PM
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Default Re: Out of ideas

Brandy,

Sometimes there is no solid explanation for the behavior of fish. Indeed they must have reason to be leaping and thrashing as you describe. If you cant identify any food source from which to base your choice of fly then you may just have to continue observing until you figure it out. You didn't mention any other fishermen or women in the area. If there is anyone else are they catching fish?

On Monday the 22nd of June I was fishing a creek and hooked 9 king salmon in an hour. Two of the battles lasted for upwards of 5 minuets before they broke my heart and one also broke my 25 lb leader. It seemed like I was hooking a fish on every few casts for awhile. Naturally I got up and made the boat trip the next morning and again was all alone with them. I fished for 6 hours covering the honey hole from the previous day and another quarter mile of water also. Not one hit! Nothing. Why were they tearing my flies and leaders to shreds on Monday but running from the same fly on Tuesday?? Your guess is as good as mine.

Remember, "That's why they call this fishing not catching".

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When the fish aren't biting the flowers are still there for you. Although I didn't bring a king back to the cabin I saw two beavers an eagle and lots of wildflowers.

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Old 07-07-2009, 10:45 AM
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Re: Out of ideas

The fish jumping a foot or so out of the water are probably not feeding or at least not after food up there. The surface film is a great start, maybe seine the current as well. The jumpers will be accompanied by feeders as well. My understanding of shad is that they are very hard to catch and only certain simple patterns are used. Anyone have experience with them?
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Old 07-08-2009, 06:48 PM
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Default Re: Out of ideas

Rise forms tell much about what might be happening with the bugs. We often see this behavior when they chase swimming midges. They seem to intercept them on the way to the surface, and overshoot a bit.
A midge dropper under a big floaty, big Humpy, Golden foam, etc... is good, or swing the caddis, with a midge desert tidbit below it. I sometimes do a (Lisering lift) to get them to chase it up from near the bottom. The "lift" can be done with an indicator at a great distance, by doing a steel head mend ( towards the current your line is in) before it starts a big swing across the river. Instead, the fly just does a very short swing across, but mostly up to the surface. Leave it on the water a moment or two before picking up your line. The fish often love to eat a rising fly. Especially Caddis & Midges. It fits the fishes profile of the bugs.
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