Finally! A little warm weather to get the bugs on the wing.
After a God-awful couple of windy, cold, and nasty days, our weather forecast for the weekend and next week is finally bringing us the much-needed sunshine and warm weather. This should bring the stoneflies out of the grasses and into a more active state. The big bugs have been staged for nearly three weeks, unable to accomplish much of anything during their state of torpor caused by 50 & 60 degree days and cooler nights.
While the headliners have been waiting backstage for these past few weeks, all kinds of other aquatic invertebrates have been dancing across the stage with little canes and top hats. The cloudy weather and rainy days had the PMDS, PEDS, BWOs and the first few Green Drakes popping. I had been hearing whispers of drakes but had not gotten word from a reliable source until Wednesday. Pale Evening Duns are quite large and leave a real impression on anglers who have been living in a world of midges and Blue Winged Olives. They are as large as size 12 but they differ wildly from Green Drakes because they are a soft pale yellow on their underbellies. Brown on top, yellow underneath. Drakes, on the other hand, are bigger still (sausage-like) and have enormous dark gray wings and a dark green/tan striped body.
Having an awareness of changing hatches can make the difference between hooking a few trout on dries and hooking a whole bunch. Eyes to the skies, people!! The birds are one of the greatest signals of change. Swallows aren’t swooping over the water for fun – they are eating mayflies. Seagulls don’t waste their time eating little bugs, they go for the largest, protein-packed bugs like salmonflies, golden stones, and green drakes. The seagull invasion is about to get real out there, as soon as the heat triggers the stoneflies to take to the skies.
As we enter what I consider the middle portion of this hatch, it is time to make sure that you have a good variety of stoneflies in your box. You want different colors and sizes as well as unique patterns. Chubbies are great, but nearly everyone uses them. Trout have memories, and they won’t fall for the same pattern multiple times in a day. Switch it up and give them something different. They should thank you for it with a hard handshake on the end of your line.
As much as everyone is desperate to fish the big bugs and nothing but the big bugs, there are mornings, evenings, and mid-day sessions when you are going to hook far more fish on caddis and mayfly dries than you will on any stonefly pattern. The person who is willing to change flies multiple times per day is going to have far more success than one who hates to tie knots and sticks to the same dry dropper throughout the entire hatch.
This is going to be a “bring your own rock” weekend on the Deschutes. It may be difficult to find a campsite, it is going to be busy on the river, but this is the BIG HATCH and we expect nothing less.
Maupin is celebrating the 100th anniversary of our town with a MAUPINDAZE party and other events this weekend. This is a big deal for our little town and we invite all of you to join in the fun!