Saturday, September 4, 2010

Lake Report: Feeding Frenzy

Click on photos for full size image.
I was able to get back to the lake again after a few days' absence. I was a little surprised, though not too surprised, to find the campground almost full again. Spring and Fall brings them out. It usually makes me thankful that my home waters are a worthy vacation destination for others.
Sometimes I head for the farthest reaches of the lake in order to avoid the crowds and noise, but I set up once again along the weed beds where the channel opens out into the upper lake. That's right in front of the campground, but it's also where I've caught some nice fish the last few trips. So I fished with the homey soundtrack of people--and dogs, always dogs--having fun in the wilderness.
It was breezy when I arrived, but I like that these days. The riffles make the Big Bomber more effective as fish, safe under cover of the riffles, don't hesitate to come up to grab anything that looks edible. The riffles also delay the tendency of the fish to lock onto a hatch, so they are much more willing to vary their diet.
Sure enough, I got some takers on the Bomber. I don't usually flop the fish down in the canoe, but they're feisty these days as the water cools down again, and this one muscled out of my hands as I was trying to get the hook out.
This one hit the fly, missed--or I missed--and then chased the sunken fly and hit it again.
The breeze started to back off and I changed tactics. Usually I'm trying to find the fly that the fish are willing to take. This time I wanted to use some flies that I had just tied and see if I could entice the fish to take them.
I started with a Henry's Fork Hopper. I tied it for the Henry's Fork, obviously, but I was curious how these fish would react to it. I'd have to say it's no Big Bomber, but I caught a couple of fish on it. This was the best one.
The wind sat down and fish started rising. Everywhere. The midges, of course, were thick, and the trout locked on and tucked in.
I tied on an emerger. It was the first thing I tied after sitting down to the vise after a long break from tying. Usually that means throwing something together with whatever is near at hand. The main feature of this emerger is a big yarn ball for the floater.
Again, not a raging success, but I finally got a little fish to take it.
After that fish the yarn ball was too wet to float. I kept the fly on for awhile hoping that might increase its effectiveness, but I got nothing. By now the frenzy had begun. An amazing number of fish were up and going nuts. This photo doesn't do it justice, but it's one of many pods moving along sucking up midge emergers.
I had one more fly to test, a little caddisy dry. Nothing. So I tied on a leech and retrieved it in through the boiling fish. I caught one fish. Then I tied on a little "Maydge," a light hackled dry with a wispy tail that could be a midge or a may. By then it was deep dusk, so I was casting into the sky's reflection so I could see the fly. Many fish ignored it, but one finally came up on it.
I set and started to strip it in thinking it was another little fish. No, it wasn't a huge fish. That's not where this is going. But it was a nice fish who took off on a run and pulled the line out of my hand, picked up all the slack and took some off the reel for good measure.
I didn't mess with the flash to try for a photo. So here's to you, fish.
Fish were coming up everywhere, and there were some good ones in the melee. It was the biggest feeding frenzy I've witnessed on this lake. I heard some otters making the most of it. They have a distinctive chuffing sound as they clear their nostrils of water. But it was near dark and time to go.
Later at home, as I thought about the evening, I remembered the first Fall I was here. I had just discovered this lake and didn't have canoe or float tube yet, so I was bank fishing. It was later in the season and the lake was way down. I remember fish boiling in the narrow channel. I would tie on a tiny black nymph and chuck it out in the middle of the fish. Invariably the line would suddenly start to move as a fish picked up the nymph, I would set, there would be an explosion, and the tippet would pop. I went through a lot of tiny black nymphs.
That was frustrating. But that's the kind of frustration fly fishers feed on.
So next time I'm going to tie on a tiny black nymph, throw it out into the frenzy, and see what happens.

No comments:

Post a Comment