Summer is now in its full glory here in WNY. It has been dry, hot, and humid for a while and it appears as though it will continue for the foreseeable future. No worries, we will adapt and make the best out if it just like we do every year.
Fly fishing for warm water species has been great, and many fly anglers are enjoying some awesome top water action for largemouth and smallmouth bass. And those of us who enjoy trout on a fly can now take advantage of one of the best hatches of the year – The tricos!! And for the first time this year, it has been every bit as good as one should expect. Plenty of bugs, picky trout, and low water can make this an incredibly tough challenge at times that will often require long light leaders, tiny flies, pinpoint accuracy when casting, and stealthy wading. And the reports that I have gotten from friends have been excellent! And if you are looking for a really great pattern to try out on these picky trico trout, look no further than Lucas Carroll’s wonderfully easy to tie spinner pattern at his website - Full tying instructions included!!
Unfortunately I have not been able to take full advantage of the early morning tricos, and have been regulated to accept what my schedule can give me….which isn’t much for the time being. So when I had the chance to get out and fish in the afternoon last week with the kids, I chose to get out on a local trout stream. I missed the technical aspect of chasing picky trout with a fly, and the kids seemed up to the challenge. But fishing to fish that have been sipping tricos all morning proved to be a little more difficult than I first thought, especially when there had already been a host of fly fishermen on the stream since 5:00am sticking fish with size #20 and smaller imposters.
The plan was to nymph small midge patterns, scuds and nymphs, and pick at the few trout that still wanted to eat. And seeing as though it was afternoon, and there were very few rising fish, it appeared to be the best option. But my oldest son surprised me when he said he wanted to fly fish with a rather large beetle pattern that he had gotten as a gift at this year’s Guys, Flies & Pies fly tying event held in Rochester, NY. The beetle was a robust size #10, and looked more like a small bass popper than the smaller more delicate beetle patterns that I have used for trout in the past. But holding to the promise that I would allow the kids to pick out their own flies to try and allow them to enjoy learning the sport partly on their own, I quickly tied it on and watched as Jonathan began casting into the pool. It didn’t take long and fish were moving with interest to the fly. He began to get more and more excited with each fish that would come up and investigate the beetle. And then in an instant, a fish rocketed up of the bottom and pounded the fly. It was a moment that neither one of us was prepared for, and left us momentarily surprised, and I might add, fishless! But that is a part of fly fishing and we moved on.
The rest of the afternoon was filled with making adjustments, and trying to find the right fly. But I am happy to say that after many fly changes we narrowed it down, and began to hook up on a regular basis. We ended the day with a good number of nice small stream brown trout to hand; all of them coming on pheasant tail nymphs in size #20-#16.