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Old 06-28-2013, 05:07 PM
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Default Thoughts on Trout/Salmonfly Interaction?

Having to study this summer has limited my fishing far more than I could ever be comfortable with. However, that didn't stop me from making sure I threw a few salmonfly patterns while the big-bugs were flying around. That being said, I had a peculiar scenario and thought I'd run it by everyone to get your thoughts/input.

Given the main hatch had already gone a day or two (but there were a few still flying around) I've never had a harder time convincing the trout to come and hit. It might just be my good fortune but it has always been pretty silly fishing during the hatch, but this time, my fly got the whole "360 degree looking both ways" from them before they would nose it a few times. After that, it was 50/50 if I was going to hook up.

Has anyone had this similar thing happen? My musings on the way back to the rig ran from "Jezze, these fish have probably seen 1000 patterns, not to mention the actual bug" to "I wonder if a 'tucked-in' wing pattern is the way to go after the big hatch?"

Do you guys think the fish get salmonfly pattern wise? So full they just don't care anymore? Why wasn't I studying at this point? ( I sure has hell haven't paid this much money to fish when it's all on the line).

Hope everyone got a chance to get into this hatch this spring, for us anyways, it was a good one.
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Old 07-01-2013, 05:27 PM
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Default Re: Thoughts on Trout/Salmonfly Interaction?

I fish the hatch every year in the Gunnison Gorge in Colorado and if I'm lucky up on the Henry's Fork in Idaho as well. Sometimes I feel hitting it right is such a lottery that I feel I've fished it in most situations imaginable. This year I hit it on the tail end of the hatch right as the bugs were moving out of the canyon area. While the fishing was epic, I noticed the following. I got looks on about 70% of all my casts, and strikes on many of those, but the fish after gorging themselves so much were definitely smarter. I sat on one canyon wall and watched the same fish (which I eventually caught ) remain in the exact same location and just waited for the bugs to float overhead. Since the bugs were so prolific, this wasn't a long wait between strikes - but the fish never moved. It hit so many flies that the canyon wall next to it was dripping with water from its splashes. I had it spit my hook several times before I was able to connect.

My thoughts - towards the later end of the hatch the fish get pretty good at distinguishing between a real bug and a fake one, especially when one is presented to them every minute.

I'd also say that once the main hatch passes there are always a few stragglers but it seems to get require alot of them to get the fish really going. On day 3 of our trip this year the fish were very selective. I saw natural flies take a float for 2-3 minutes before any fish would rise to them. There were 1/8th the flies in the air as on day 1 and the fish activity and aggressiveness died with it.
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Old 07-01-2013, 08:07 PM
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Default Re: Thoughts on Trout/Salmonfly Interaction?

Interesting, I had the opposite experience here in Colorado. Fished a bit after the hatch. Brought some patterns in case there were some flying around or hatching, but didn't see any salmonflies on the water or in the air. Used the flies as dries for my droppers and the trout would hammer them. They weren't picky as to which salmonfly pattern I had on. They also went bananas for salmonfly nymphs.

A thought I have on your original post. When I have fish showing interest in my fly but not hitting it my first thought is micro-drag - is my drift not smooth enough. Sometimes we can't see the drag from where we are but when the trout gets to the fly something doesn't look right about the drift. Sometimes it is something about the pattern, confirmed when I change to a slightly different but very similar fly and the fish takes it, but often the problem is my drift.

I've found that if I drift the same fly over the same fish and they study it, they'll eventually lose interest and let the fly pass without a look. Changing even to an identical fly and especially one that is a touch different can make all the difference.
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Old 07-01-2013, 11:56 PM
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Default Re: Thoughts on Trout/Salmonfly Interaction?

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Originally Posted by williamhj View Post
Interesting, I had the opposite experience here in Colorado. Fished a bit after the hatch. Brought some patterns in case there were some flying around or hatching, but didn't see any salmonflies on the water or in the air. Used the flies as dries for my droppers and the trout would hammer them. They weren't picky as to which salmonfly pattern I had on. They also went bananas for salmonfly nymphs.

A thought I have on your original post. When I have fish showing interest in my fly but not hitting it my first thought is micro-drag - is my drift not smooth enough. Sometimes we can't see the drag from where we are but when the trout gets to the fly something doesn't look right about the drift. Sometimes it is something about the pattern, confirmed when I change to a slightly different but very similar fly and the fish takes it, but often the problem is my drift.

I've found that if I drift the same fly over the same fish and they study it, they'll eventually lose interest and let the fly pass without a look. Changing even to an identical fly and especially one that is a touch different can make all the difference.
Such a great point and rarely an issue with fishing Salmonflies! But, in all fishing, it's all in the presentation right?
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Old 07-01-2013, 11:59 PM
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Default Re: Thoughts on Trout/Salmonfly Interaction?

Good info, not having fished them much and recently having an opportunity to do so I noticed the same thing. Big salmon flies on the water weren't getting looks at all and trout were nailing the top of the water (or so I was thinking). After getting a good skunking on big ugly flies I let myself realize there were caddis coming off as well.

When I really set back and looked at what was going on I allowed myself to get salmon flies out of my head and see fish taking emergers below the surface. I was so excited about big top water action that I missed out on a lot of catching. I did however learn a good lesson, and that's part of what all this is about. Later on I confirmed this with a local guide and he says he believes after gorging themselves on a big hatch most fish will settle into one location and become a little picky on what they eat. I guess I'll have to continue investigating this when next year comes around.
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Old 07-02-2013, 12:41 AM
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Default Re: Thoughts on Trout/Salmonfly Interaction?

I had another great experience with this to add:

Of course all I brought were salmonfly patterns (I mean, how can you not?) and a storm rolls in and all of a sudden....mayflies everywhere and trout happily sipping all around. Lesson learned: ALWAYS bring the general box as well--no need to think "light" when all it takes is one more flybox.
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Old 07-02-2013, 01:36 PM
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Default Re: Thoughts on Trout/Salmonfly Interaction?

They get gorged and the fishing pressure can really put them off as well.

I can't count the number of times I've fished the Upper Madison for the hatch and had a gazillion looks and bumps but only hooked a few. All while being surrounded by a gazillion boats.

These days I tend to avoid the upper during the hatch. It helps if you are one of the first boats down a stretch or if you are wading you can head upstream from an access early (crack of dawn) in the morning.

It really is a crapshoot with the hatch, sometimes it's spotty all over the river. Sometimes it's a real tight 5 mile stretch of lots of bugs that move up river consistently over a week or so. That usually happens when the weather is consistently warm and sunny.
Sometimes they are so stuffed on nymphs they aren't all that interested in dries even though they might be thick on the river.

If you've had some 20 fish days on the upper consider yourself lucky. It's not an easy thing to hit perfectly.
If you get good salmonfly fishing on the Stone below Carbella consider yourself lucky, like this year, it's rare to get clear enough water to fish it in the valley.
The Big Hole is, IMO, the most consistent salmon fly dry fishing in southwest Montana.

There are other less well known places that fish well pretty consistently but you have to work to get into them.

If you want some guaranteed good dry fly during the hatch hike into Black Canyon on the Yellowstone in the park.
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Old 07-02-2013, 06:31 PM
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Default Re: Thoughts on Trout/Salmonfly Interaction?

One of my favorite memories on the Big Hole salmonfly hatch was while working at one of the fishing lodges in the area we all got a call (no clients as it was a change-over day) that tomorrow we'd all go up and see if the hatch was on. It's a pretty cool experience watching sage old seasoned guides still get kid-like giddy with the B52s of the bugworld flying around. Being one of the first boats on the river during that 1st day was simply lights out fishing...and no other pressure. 2nd day: Not So Much
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Old 07-03-2013, 10:53 AM
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Default Re: Thoughts on Trout/Salmonfly Interaction?

This passed week i fished the Ark from Trading Post down to Lone Pine and had great success with Salmon Fly Patterns. Salmon flies were just dumped into the Ark a year or two ago by the DOW so they are still fairly new. But even without any buggs in the air, the fish would hammer anything resembling a salmon fly. In the next couple years after they see a couple more they might not do that.

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Old 07-03-2013, 12:26 PM
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Default Re: Thoughts on Trout/Salmonfly Interaction?

Quote:
Originally Posted by blackbugger View Post

The Big Hole is, IMO, the most consistent salmon fly dry fishing in southwest Montana.
But that's all over when September rolls around, right ? When it's September on the Big Hole isn't it all about using streamers, and what else ?
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