Autumn On The EB

Autumn On The EB

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Swift And Thoughts On HOT Weather Fishing

First, The Swift - Everything is RIGHT! The July 1st stockers have wised up and the days of double digit catches of 12 inch or better bows are now, for me, a memory. I fished the PIPE and below starting at 5:45 Sunday morning and took ten bows but all were in the six to eight inch range. It was a far cry from the Sunday before. That's fly fishing. Next time will be better!!

Now for the topic that seems to have taken over some blogs this Summer and that's if it is ETHICAL to fish during heat waves on freestone rivers. Here's how I feel.

One can go out on the Millers or any similar river when the temperatures are in the 90's, fish the pools and runs that you had great success on during April, May and June and you will NOT have a detrimental effect on the trout population for one simple reason: YOU will not catch ANY trout!!!

There's a reason for that. I am still amazed that there are those out there that still believe that trout must constantly feed to maintain vitality to survive and that the catching of trout in mid Summer will weaken them. The "science" is below.

Trout are cold blooded animals, their metabolism is based on their SURROUNDINGS, namely the temperature of the water that they live in. They have a temperature ZONE that is optimal for their metabolism. Take this example - You're fishing your favorite pool (if you can) on the last week of February, hoping for holdovers, and if you catch anything, while fishing slow and deep, it will be an event!! Why?? Because the trout, in that 35 degree water, are in slow mode because of the temperature and do not require that much food. I worked in a trout hatchery 20+ years ago and the time of slowest growth and less food consumption was during the Winter. Their "motors" are not in second gear yet. They are not active because of the temperature and don't require much food, pure and simple.

Now forward cast to the second week in May. The water temperature is in the mid 50's, we are catching trout on EVERYTHING, and we are all experts. Why is that? It's because trout, in that low 50 to mid 60 degree range, are at their most active behavior. So is everything that they feed on. It all depends on water temperature for most trout. That temperature range is their comfort range.

The heat wave and July drought that we have experienced will kill off any worthwhile fishing. You may catch a FEW but not the numbers that you did a month and a half ago and that will not be detrimental to the whole population because the trout are not actively feeding. The bulk of the trout population has found a place to hunker down to make it through the Summer. They will not respond to you.

Robert Behnke, maybe the world's foremost authority on trout, has stated that the greatest cause of natural trout mortality on freestone streams is WINTER kill, not Summer kill.

Many of you will say that "You fish the Millers during the Summer". That's RIGHT! I fish during NORMAL Summer weather. I didn't fish the Millers in 2010 from the end of June to late August. It was too hot and dry. In normal Summers I will fish as long as it isn't too hot and dry and I catch trout (browns) in the evening. There's a reason for that.

Browns handle warmer water better than rainbows and brookies in the Millers. I've seen dozens of browns rising (they are feeding) at dusk in July and August after a normal Summer day especially when there is a healthy (normal) flow. That's why I am pushing for more browns on this river. They will survive the weather and US. They swim away strongly when released because they adjust to this river nicely.

Behnke spoke of this ability to adjust (over many centuries) when he spoke of catching a high country desert population of rainbows that rose to dry flies and swam away briskly in 83 degree water!! Millers River browns don't need centuries to adjust, just a few months on the Millers.

One person said to me that he stopped fishing when the water temperature hit 65 degrees. Too bad. No science there!


Sunday, July 17, 2011

Summer On The Swift - Low And Cold

It felt like ice water or as cold as 54 degree water can feel at 6am on the Swift this past Saturday. The flow had dropped from the 120+ range to the high 40cfs flow which brought the temperature down as predicted. This is my favorite time on this river; skinny cold flows, small flies and thin tippets. It's how I always think of the Swift.

I was the first at the PIPE except for the blue heron that was intent on the flow below that outflow. I settled into the "tree pool", had made a cast or two and lost one fish, when two other anglers appeared above and below me. Five minutes later three more showed up so I went downstream to the first set of riffles. You find yourself casting under trees here but it was great. The 'bows grabbed my serendipity and that 20 yard section yielded a number of them.

The great section around the gauge yielded two rainbows and the PIPE brought four or five 6 inch bows, most likely recent escapees. All told I took about 15 fish from in that three hour span.

Serendipities and hot spots did the trick. It was fun!!


Sunday, July 10, 2011

A Strange Night On The Millers

It may have been the world's largest comparadun!! I was crossing the trestle Saturday evening when I saw something swimming downstream towards me. At first I thought it was a beaver BUT beavers don't have long ears or a long snout. It was a young deer, not a fawn but no more than a yearling. It came out from under the bridge where I snapped the photo. I've seen deer in this river before but they were the unlucky ones that drowned in winter or spring or were walking cross in the shallows. In any event it swam another 100 feet and then hopped up onto the shore.

The Fishing: I started at the bottom end of the C&R in Erving. I like this place because the tree cover shades this stretch during the day which means that things usually start earlier. They did. I noticed the rise behind a rock and then dropped a #12 MDW just above that spot. The 14 inch brown took it and was soon in the net. Another brown, slightly small, did a repeat performance further downstream.

I ended the evening at the Kempfield where I saw one rising brown but failed to get it to take. Blind casting to the rocks resulted in a another brown taken on a #12 stonefly dry.

Then another strange thing happened. I heard a splash to my left right up next to the bank. I figured that it must be a bass chasing something only to be surprised to see a brown, 14 to 16 inches, CLEAR the water six inches from the shore. What was he chasing? Minnows, crayfish, some thing that moves quickly obviously. It was a nice show but I wish that he was in midstream taking mayflies instead.

Try the Erving Center Stretch. It's a good place.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

The Millers, EB and Swift Update

So what has been happening?? Here it is.

The Millers is into an early morning/evening mode which is normal for this river. My game plan is either to hit this river very early (6am) or wait until the evening rise. I did see rising browns at two in the afternoon just a day or so ago but this is not the norm. I'll be fishing this river in the evening for it's rising browns!

The EB is HOT but it will become an early morning/evening fishery soon enough unless the flow stays high. If this river reads 200cfs or greater than fish it during banking hours but below 200cfs it's an early morning/evening fishery. I have had great luck using a large dry (stimulator) or such through the fast water. I took a 17 inch brown doing just that this past week.

The Swift - The trout are there but not in the usual places. The Pipe? forget it! The "tree pool"?? Same thing!! The trout are there but they are downstream and there are many of them and many are BIG. The Pipe was stocked July 1st but they were spread out all the way down to Caddy Lane. Chances are they will end up in the usual spots over the next few weeks. C&R rules until New Years below route 9.

BTW, the temperature below the Pipe stood at 64 degrees at 9am. This "high" temperature is due to the overflow which is still running into the river. This will end shortly (hopefully) which means that the temperature will drop into the mid 50's which is what we want for the Summer.