06/11/10 – Life is good. The bugs are hatching, levels are almost back down to normal and there are only showers in the forecast. That’s all they forecast for last week was showers and instead we got pounding rain but perhaps this week they’ll get it right. If they do it should be a bit damp out there fishing but the fishing should be worth putting up with the damp.
Water temperature is a great 58 degrees this morning, flow is a bit high out back of the shop 6,888CFS but definitely wadable. Despite a few days lost to high water so far this has been a good spring. It warmed up early and then we started a string of cool to cold nights and that’s kept the temps at great levels. And the bugs – the bugs are going crazy. Our old friend the Alder fly is even out early to celebrate. Yes, that’s early – very early. We don’t normally see then until the first week of July.
The problem with showing a picture of the Alder fly is they take up so much room on the page if you include the antenna – long aren’t they. A Goddard Caddis is a good imitation of these bugs – partly because the Goddard Caddis is one of the few patterns that makes any attempt to imitate the antenna. Another reason that it is a good imitation to use is that it’s buoyant enough to hold up a size 12 Zug Bug tied on as a dropper.
And a Zug Bug is a good dropper for this caddis as the pupa and adult are green when the hatch is taking place. The adult darkens up within an hour or two of hatching so the light to medium brown of the Goddard Caddis is a good color match for the returning egg layers but the pupa and freshly hatched adult is better imitated with a Zug Bug. Can’t go wrong fishing both colors.
Another early arrival is the Hex. Yep, that’s right Hex flies are starting here in the Central part of the state. They will be early up north. The Hex photo you see was taken Monday of this week at Webber Pond. I was some surprised to see that early in the day and judging from the sounds coming from the water later that night the fish were as happy to see them as I was surprised.
So the season is peaking early. Don’t wait too long to visit your favorite fishing spots you may miss the peak of the season if you do. And don’t let the 50% chance of showers for this weekend keep you off the water – fish bite in the rain. As Joel A said on FFIM the fish are already wet 🙂
As I said flows are a bit high but wadable. The East Outlet bumped up a bit earlier this week but has settled back to 1,020CFS which is almost low. Well, it is low if your planning to drift it in a drift boat – lotta rocks showing. Harris is pulsing and will be at 540CFS from 1:00pm until midnight. Moving down to the Forks you’ll find the Dead has been cut back and is flowing at a good level of 420CFS. Dropping down to Bingham the flows are also closer to normal with the customary pulse of high water coming at 9:00am today. The good part of that is the high flow will be around 4,000CFS (which is fishable) and at 4:00pm the flow will drop to 2,100CFS – just in time for the evening hatch.
The big surprise is Williams Dam (Solon) which has been cut back to 2,100CFS for the day. Not sure why so low but if I was fishing up there I’d be happy with it. Although Madison almost always mirrors Solon today Madison will be double the Solon Flow and running at 4,710CFS. Back before our last 4-years of high flows I’d have said that’s bit high but like many I’ve gotten used to high levels and I’d head for Madison today if that was a convenient location for me. I’m pretty sure I’d catch fish at that level as the flow is still clear and doesn’t muddy up unless it gets quite a bit higher.
The Carrabassett and Sandy have both dropped from the almost 3,000CFS levels they peaked at earlier this week and are flowing at 376CFS and 384CFS. A bit higher than their normal flows but fishable. Too much water – too little time.
I think the picture you should see flipping from top to bottom of a mayfly is a Little Yellow Quill. I’m not sure but I do know that any light to bright yellow Sulphur pattern will work. And therein lies the secret to “match the hatch.” The secret is if it’s about a size 18 and yellow fish a size 18 yellow fly – who really cares what the name of it is. The fish only know it’s small and yellow 🙂
And another surprise this week was to see Damsel flies swimming to shore. The picture with the small curved critter in it is a hot link to a video showing a damsel nymph booking it for shore. This also was taken at Webber Pond earlier this week. If you got up early and went down to the water about 6:30am the water was full of them. Click on the picture and watch the video – it’s a short one – less than a minute so it should load quick. You’ll be surprised how vigorously they swim.