This week’s weather brought us a north breeze and delightful conditions with high temperatures in the eighties instead of last week’s mid nineties. There were actually a couple early morning boat rides that one would not hesitate to characterize as “brisk.” Yesterday morning in fact the thermometer read 55 degrees at dawn. Happily the forecast through the coming weekend and into next week is showing a similar trend – daytime highs not exceeding 91 degrees and nighttime lows dipping into the sixties, which many in the South would consider quite tolerable for late July.
The periods of minimum flow we were seeing last week have ceased and been replaced by a baseline flow of 3,000cfs or a little more. The water release from the dam increases to 6,000cfs first thing in the morning and continues increasing all day, up to 9,000cfs, and usually peaks around 14 or 15,000cfs.
Small light colored midges are hatching in huge numbers in the early morning hours. The sulfur mayfly hatch remains strong, especially mid afternoon in the upper river sections. Other mayflies, some small and grey, others large and nearly white, are common as well. Even a few different summer caddis are buzzing around – these tend to be small with dark wings. All these hatching insects, together with the beetles falling out of trees, create a smorgasbord of food for trout. There is hardly a limit to the number of different fly patterns that are effective right now. Read on for a few specific suggestions on flies.
Good nymphs for matching the mayflies in the river are Micro Mayfly #16 in brown, and Sloan’s Mighty May sulfur #16. To sink these to the proper depth, try running them in tandem with larger heavier jig style nymphs such as #14 Jigged Pheasant Tail or #14 Frenchie Jig. Sight fish rising trout with Comparaduns and Parachute Sulfurs. For picky fish, try Silverman’s Stacker or the Film Critic. On the terrestrial front, Dally’s has some awesome new patterns that are producing quality browns: Chubby Duo, Beefcake Hopper, Dancing Ricky, Evans Baby Foam, Crosslands Klinkhopper.
Wade fisherman can catch a break over here early in the day. The water has been staying low until 11am, so start early and plan your mid-day river exit. Midges are strong, especially the Root Beer and also DW Whitetail in red. Try patiently suspending small Hunchback scuds, Tailwater Sowbugs, and Trout Cracks in slow water around weed beds. Griffith’s Gnats and various small Caddis dries or small parachute style dries are good for rising fish. Also do not be afraid to fish larger terrestrial dries like Crosslands Klinkhopper even in low water conditions over slow shallow water – while you will catch fewer fish on large dries, they tend to be larger.
Endless fun awaits those willing to soak in the bath warm waters of the creek in mid summer, casting small Boogle Bugs and foam spiders on four weight rods for colorful and scrappy panfish. A thumper smallmouth may sip your subtle surface bug just as easily.