Tim’s post on the Felt Soul videos prompted me to watch “The Hatch” again … which started me daydreaming about salmonflies … which got me thinking about “religious experience” bug events. You know, insects raining from the sky, waters parting with trout wakes … the moments that ruin you, and transform you into a trout bum forever.
My top 10 “religious experience” bug events in America:
1. Salmonflies. Early-mid June, Gunnison Gorge, Colorado. 20-inch fish hammer 2-inch dry flies, sometimes before they hit the surface. ‘Nuff said. The Big Hole and Rock Creek in Montana are also epic salmonfly rivers.
2. Hexagenia. Mid-late June, western Michigan. Giant bugs fill the night sky … you fish into night, and when you lose light, blind cast by sound at gulps and splashes. Mmmmmm.
3. Green Drakes. Early August, Frying Pan River, Colorado. Wait until the monsoon rains start in the afternoon, then boogie to the river and wait for the armada to float downstream. With their wings up, they look like tiny sailboats … until they get crushed by trout.
4. The “Smolt Bust.” Mid June, Naknek River, Alaska. Fine … it’s not a bug hatch. But when the big rainows key in on the baby salmon migrating toward the ocean, it gets pretty nutty throwing topwater patterns and swinging streamers at hungry 30-inchers.
5. Hendricksons. Late April (when the water hits about 53 degrees F), Delaware River, NY/PA. The first beefy flies of the season … when they come off, it’s like ringing the dinner bell, and the fish get busy. It’s One of those deals where you think there are few fish in the river, then watch the rings when the Hendricksons hatch and say, “holy s@#t!”
6. Callibaetis. Early August. Madison Arm of Hebgen Lake, or Silver Creek, Idaho. That sloooow, painfully deliberate take when the gulpers start sipping callibaetis on calm water requires the A-game for sure. It never grows old.
7. Tricos. August, Missouri River, Montana (Below Holter Dam). The best of the little-bitty bug hatches. It’s really fun to watch them gather in the river seams in early morning, and then watch the trout mow through them from underneath. In faster water, you can use an H&L; Variant, size #20.
8. PMDs. July, Upper Colorado River, around Pumphouse, Colorado. Just because it’s the best time of year, with the best water, and the best weather. Wet-wade and throw dries. What could possibly be wrong with that?
9. Cicadas. May through October, Green River, Utah. Any terrestrial fishing is good fishing, but the crowning event is watching a 20-inch brown follow a Cicada for about 15 yards downstream along the bank … somewhere in the middle of the B Section of the Green … then watching the fish finally slurp it down, like eating ice cream off a spoon.
10. The “Blanket” Caddis Hatch, April, Lower Sacramento River, California. One of those frustrating situations where there are so many damn bugs on the water, you need to be patient as the trout hammer naturals around your fly. Be paitient, wait your turn, it’s a good problem to have.
What’d I miss? Mother’s Day caddis on the Arkansas (the BWO hatch is often better) … black caddis on the Bighorn … Brown Drakes … Gray Drakes … fall Baetis in Cheesman Canyon … sulphurs in Wisconsin …
It’s all good.
WAY TO GO TIMMY! (Romano and Ellie got engaged.)