It’s that time once again. This week, we’re focused on the trout streams and this is a little shorter Fishing Forecast. If you fish walleye or trout lakes, last week’s forecast is holding true – give it a read here. Chris & Nick say that conditions easily carry over from last week.
While this weekend’s weather is cool and cloudy, we continue to have a safe handling advisory for trout & grayling streams along the foothills essentially from the US border to Grande Prairie. Our trout streams are incredibly low and when flows get this low, the daytime air temperature is assumed to be the same as the water temperature. While this means low oxygen levels in water, it isn’t so absolute, and this weekend conditions will be universally “ok”. The larger issue comes as trout have few places to hide and are stressed due to proximity to other fish in low habitat availability. It’s at this time that extra care in fighting & handling our trout and grayling, because we’re due to catch far more – stressed fish – than we normally do because they are simply stacked up in the only habitat available (think deeper pools, runs & riffles). This isn’t to say “don’t fish”. No, the air temperature is not too warm this weekend. Just take care when you catch fish, use gear suited to land trout quickly. Maybe leave fish holding in slow or shallow water alone and focus on those in riffles, runs, and at the leading head of large pools where the oxygen levels are highest. When handling fish for release, try to keep them in the water, head covered (so they can breathe), and in choppy/riffled water. It’s a seldom day that the water is absolutely too warm for our trout and using simple methods of handling them will ensure their survival. While water temperature is a moderate concern this summer, our biggest issue might be hooking mortality on our streams & rivers with lower populations of older fish that normally wouldn’t see the angling pressure nor leave those largest trout to be so susceptible. I know that on rivers like the Sheep, Ram, etc where there are 2 to 6 older, larger bull trout and cutthroat trout, it takes 15+ and 25+ years to produce a 19″ cutt or a 30+” bull trout. Repeated catch & releases increases the likelihood of hooking mortality. So, if you’re only focused on water temperature, consider that collectively, our compounded efforts do take some toll and while that compounded angling effort can be an issue, we can also be part of improving things with good fish handling.
All the above said, the weekend is just prime for hitting our trout streams. Universally, the foothills and mountains are cooler and clouds are in the forecast. Afternoon fishing should be quite good but once again – STAY LATE. Caddis, hexes, brown drakes are all rolling now. 🙂
Hatches: Tricos; Blue-winged olives in the high country; Brown drakes; Hexes; Golden stones are rolling – both the late night and dawn active variety and the more orange daytime variety. Caddis? Boatloads. Pale morning dun mayflies are in good numbers. Yellow sallies are in swarms on many warm mornings in through riffled waters. Green Drakes are out further south and just starting centrally.
With conditions perfect for sight-fishing, maybe give this video a look. You can rent or purchase the full feature and it adds a great dimension to your angling. The VIDEO ON DEMAND LINK IS HERE.
FISH TALES FLY SHOP
YAHOO! Yes, it’s that time again. July 8 marks the Calgary Stampede Parade and the official start of 10 days of wild west activities, etc. There are lots of visitors in town and the Bow river can get busy. Typically we have the full stonefly hatch to look forward to at this time of year but this year it has been plodding along at a slow pace for three weeks already! No high water to trigger the bugs or the fish to the bank. Yes there have been days and nights when it has happened in specific places but no widespread bugs! Still if you’re happy to get one or two on a nice big foamy stone then it is completely worth trying. It is still one of the most exciting ways to fish.
Rainstorms – are still VERY welcome but do impact river clarity, which has created some above average streamer fishing to be sure. It is also helping keep the river temperatures in the “good” zone! One thing that is critical to remember whether you are walk and wading or floating is a RAIN JACKET. The storms have been unpredictable and violent at times so make sure you are prepared.
Generally the river above the Highwood clears pretty quickly after a quick rain. If you want to focus on top, opt to fish during overcast periods or as the sun is going down when the bug life in general is more prolific. If you’re feeling adventurous, try a double dry setup like a stimulator or stonefly with a smaller caddis in behind. Remember to take some time to take in your surroundings and check out the buglife before your first cast.
We’re hearing lots of reports of fish on leeches, stonefly nymphs, and various streamers. If you have not had much luck on streamers you can’t ask for a better time to try them and learn how to fish them. The fish are feeding actively and are eating minnows and leeches so you can’t really get better conditions for using a streamer.
In the crazy early world that this year seems to be we had our first report of a full on Trico hatch this week. Generally a very late July and August hatch this could get some fish eating dry flies mid-morning but time will tell. Watch the seams near back eddies and “sippers” eating the spinners. This is one of those hatches that fly selection and accuracy in presentation is very important. Yes they are small and hard to see but when the fish are eating them they offer a great opportunity to improve your dry fly game!
Flies to try:
Dries: Skid bitch, Swisher’s LLS Chernobyl, Chubby Chucks in tan, black caddis, elk hair caddis, Bloom’s Parachute Caddis, Swisher’s dancing caddis, Trico Spinner
Nymphs: SJW, chenille stone, Smethurst’s stone bomb, wired stone, Creepy Sally, BH pheasant tail, Evil weevil, prince nymph.
Streamers: Black and White Clouser, Skiddish Smolt, Aaron’s BT Leech, Coffee Sparkle Minnow, Fat Heads and Dungeons.
Wayne P – Lake Fishing Report – The higher elevation lakes are still fishing well. Evening sedge hatches bringing fish to the surface.
Lower elevation lakes still fishing ok. Type 5 Line
Flies to try: Dragon Fly Nymphs, Leeches & Damsels.