The 2nd of Truckee's infamous BIG BUGS OF JUNEmade an appearance yesterday, June 7 in the "middle" section of the Truckee River (BT). At 3:40 PM, amidst grey skies and light snow-flurries, I viewed the first of only two Drakes appear during a multiple mayfly emergence; PMD's, BWO's and a larger, unidentified up-wing (...lateMarch Brown?).
The water temps were 54 degrees. A couple of upticks in the temps and it is "Game On!" for dry fly angling on the the BT; regardless of what section you fish. Do not forget an essential tool when fishing the big river; your THERMOMETER.
There was a pod of sporadic risers at the tail-out of a long pool.
'Cus Jeff' bent
The one beautifully-colored, 14 inch RainBow hooked/netted ate a #8 down-wing pattern; in the absence of an up-wing pattern... in a fly-box left in the SUV!` My preferred pattern for the Drakes is a #8 Green Drake Quigley Cripple. As always be aware of classic "making hatches" during this period of increasing aquatic bug emergences.
Looking forward for you committed dry-fly purists; do not forget about the anticipated adults of the 3rd "Big Bug"...the Golden Stone Fly.
With this warming weather the Winged Black Ants have made an appearance in Truckee...in substantial numbers. How long they'll be here is anyone's guess; they're unpredictable. They can make an intense 2-3 day appearance and quickly fade. Or, not as intense, but spread-out over about 10 days...then gone.
These huge ants (#10-12's) are the first of the Truckee's "Big Bugs of June" to make an appearance locally. Now we're looking for the other two Big Bugs; Western Green Drakes and Golden Stoneflies. Both adults can be "phantoms"; most especially the Drakes.
June is an angler's first chance of "searching" the water and hooking a large trout at the surface.
All the stream occupants are aware of and on the look-out for the Big Bugs, and the opportunity to ambush such high-caloric meals. The Truckee's out-sized trout in the 18"-25" range, are known to leave the bottom and eat aggressively on top...most of the time. A client once had the rare exception of a subtle take; on the flat-water of the LT's Bluff Slick. A perfectly dead-drifted #8 Green Drake Quigley-Cripplesimply disappeared, sucked-down and absolutely no water displacement.
Historically, the Ants always proceed the Drakes and the Goldens. The Green Drakes and Golden Stonefly adults are seldom observed in great numbers; but the trout are aware of their presence in the top-water-column where they haphazardly land on the water's surface. Toss your big dries along cut-banks, under overhanging stream-side vegetation, in riffles and boulder fields. You are prospecting for an opportunistic feeder.
And since I've mentioned a "water-column", rest assured, dislodged large nymphs of both of the Golden and the Drake are ALWAYS eaten. Remember the Goldens have a 2-3 life cycle; making them readily available during their progressive instar-growth up to a size 4. Fishing the Drake nymphs (#'s 6-10) are most productive prior to their emergence since most of them migrate towards the shallows and quiet water in lieu of clinging to the bottom in heavy water. As for the huge Black ant (winged or wingless); fish it dry or sunk (HINT).
Attractor/impressionistic patterns of all three Big Bugs are sufficient to dupe the trout.
Less we forget, many have made the "ultimate sacrifice" with their lives; preserving the freedoms we have in the US.
I may have unintentionally ruffled some feathers today when I innocently made a comment on FaceBook to clarify who is honored on Memorial Day. Today is the day for those who literally lost their lives while in foreign combat zones. This is a very special day for them and their families. It is not a "Happy Memorial Day!" salutation that our tone-deaf chief of state intoned today. All of us military veterans, some who lost friends and served "right or wrong" are honored on Veterans Day in November... not Memorial Day in late May.
Governor Newsom announced that county officials can decide
the pace of moving into Stage 2 of reopening. The Truckee/Sierraville Ranger
Districts will be relying on updates from State/County Officials to determine
when guiding and recreation event permits can re-enter use status.
The expectation is that when the permits re-enter use
status, there will be operating restrictions such as social distancing measures
and the use of PPE. In the meantime you can start to develop a modified
operating plan that will describe how you will employ these operating
I've been reviewing the flow charts as they pertain to the Truckee watershed. The peak snow-melt and corresponding run-off is subsiding. There is a downward trend-line in the peaks of the "peaks & troughs" on the water flow charts. As I mentioned in my last post "...fish the drop" in the smaller streams and progressively the larger rivers...AND do not dismiss the stream inflows into the local still-waters. IMO, we're still about 3 weeks plus/minus from the start of the optimum conditions at moving waters in the region.
Unquestionably until that time, the most productive method will be sub-surface fishing. So now is the time to continue probing the depths with big/little searching rigs. As of yesterday there are few consistent bug emergences and their corresponding top-water, feeding
Wet flies displayed at last season's Devin Olsen's Euro-Nymphing clinic
Thus far there has not been a profusion of wildflowers; even those ubiquitous ones imaged below have not yet made a noticeable appearance. I've been reminded of a small hard-bound book in my fly fishing library which is about "a method of meeting and matching the super hatches of the West" This 1995 book is entitled THE PHENOLOGICAL FLY
Our state flower...sparse here but dense on the Sierra west-slope hills & valleys
The Mule Ear, at this elevation it is as prolific as the California Poppy found on the lower
Snow is melting quickly in Truckee at the mid-6000' elevations. It is now melt-and-rising-rivers-time. I'm still "sheltering-in-place" with an occasional venture into town for mail and needed supplies...wearing my Buff and gloves. I'm waiting for a gradual lightening of Pandemics behavior from the responsible agencies.
I haven't done much angling recently; but have been reviewing/purging my image files of such. I've had nice recollections of past early seasons' fly angling within range of town.
Now is the time to explore many of the local Small Waters.
If there is water...there are trout
"...melt and rising waters"
Small Waters are most productive on the "drop"
...look for low-gradient flows
Some isolated Small Waters remain productive into early summer
Stream inlets produce well during run-off conditions; regardless of water clarity. Find the biggest entry channel and then locate both "...feeding & sheltering troughs".
You 'old-timers'...Remember Martis Lake during '80's?