Insects showing on local waters
With the official start of summer last week, the weather has finally begun to warm our weary winter bones.
With the warmer days, fly fishermen are beginning to see many more insects showing on the local streams and lakes.
The nighthawks are flying along the Truckee River in the evening, which alerts fishermen that the insects are hatching.
On an outing to the river the other evening I found this to be the case. I found it much more active than even the prior week.
Much of this could be a result of the slightly lower water conditions.
The Truckee had been running more than 1,000 cubic feet per second through Truckee, and as of my trip it appeared to be down around 800 plus cfs.
Although this is not much of a drop, a little less water means that things could warm up a little quicker which, in turn, accelerates the hatches.
Craneflies, mayflies, caddisflies and stoneflies were all present on my outing as well as moths and even an occasional mosquito. Lots of aquatic insects from which to choose for the fish and the fisherman when imitating them.
For nymph fishermen that are fairly experienced the river has been good even with the high water. The most productive patterns lately appear to be ones that imitate the caddisfly in its pupal stage.
There are many patterns from which to choose in this stage of the insect, but the one that has been fishing extremely well is a pattern developed by local fishing guide and expert tier Randy Johnson.
Called a flash caddis, this pattern has been very effective and apparently works anywhere caddis are present, according to Tom Brochu of Mountain Hardware and Sports.
Tied with a very light reflective body, marabou which imparts movement, flank feather fibers to create some contrast, the same light reflective body material for legs, and a black head of rabbit fur or some other material give this fly a somewhat translucent appearance in the water. This appears to effectively imitate the pupal stage of the caddis extremely well.
The caddisfly goes through a complete metamorphosis. This means that there is an egg stage, larval stage, a pupal stage and an adult stage. A butterfly is a good example of this process. From the egg stage, the butterfly turns into the worm or larval stage, seals itself in a cocoon, the pupal stage and then emerges as the adult butterfly.
A caddisfly similarly goes through this same type of transformation.
During the change from the larval to pupal stage the caddisfly splits open its case and fills its body with gas and rises quickly to the surface and becomes the adult. This gives the appearance of an air bubble rising to the surface, and is probably why a fly such as the Johnson Flash Caddis works so effectively.
Other materials that effectively imitate this bubble effect are antron flies such as the Lafontaine Sparkle Pupa and many of the new bead head type of flies.
There are even flies tied with beads to give the look of a gas bubble. While these look good, I have not personally had much success with these particular flies. Other anglers tell me that they have had great success with them at times.
I have my favorites and you tend to fish with confidence those flies that have been successful for you in the past. New flies are often not given the chance that they deserve.
Whatever the reason, Randy Johnson has a real winner in his Flash Caddis. Tie one on the end of your line and give it a shot, but with the high water and the need to add a fair amount of weight, be prepared with plenty of extra flies.
Boca – (39,656 ac. ft.) Boca has been fishing fair to good. Most anglers fishing from shore are having success. Most anglers use nightcrawlers or Powerbait and lures from shore. Boaters are also having success. Most were using a combination offlashers and a nightcrawler or minnow imitating lure. Kokanee fishing has been good. Flyfishermen near the inlet are having fair to good action using a variety of nymphs, streamers, and emergers.
Donner – Fishing has been fair to good. Most anglers fishing for rainbows on the west-end and near the launch ramp have had some success. Nightcrawlers and Powerbait seem to be the main bait. Trollers using minnow imitating lures have had fair to good success.
Lake Tahoe – (Elevation 6228.87) Fishing has been good for mackinaw. Most fish typically are in the five to seven pound range. A guide is highly recommended if you are fishing for mackinaw for the first time. Toplining and shore fishing is improving. Remember, tributaries to Tahoe open today and close again Sept. 30.
Martis Lake – (Martis is restricted to artificial lures with barbiess hooks. Zero fish may bagged or possessed) Fishing is fair to good. The warmer temperatures in the lake have caused fishermen to concentrate on early morning and evening hours. Most use nymphs such as the Hares Ear, Pheasant Tail, Damselfly imitations or the A.P. Streamers that imitate small fish, and woolly buggers are also good choices. For surface activity, patterns such as the Quiqley Cripple, Martis Midge, Parachute Adams, and Grffith’s Gnat are good choices. Try a blood midge in the evenings. Lots of midge activity on calm days and in the evening. Midge pupa patterns are working, but the fishing can be tough.
Little Truckee River – Fishing has been fair to good. Recent plants along Highway 89 have spurred fishing. Fishing has been fair to good near the inlet area of the Little Truckee into Boca reservoir. Flyfishermen fishing this stretch between Stampede and Boca concentrate on nymphs and streamers, but there has been somefair dry fly action at times.
Prosser – (27,964 ac. ft.) Fishing has been fishing good as it typically does when the lake gets this full. Fishing here is mostly with nightcrawlers or Powerbait. Flyfishermen near the inlets have taken a few fish mostly on nymphs and streamers.
Stampede – (224,332 ac.ft.) Stampede is fair to good. Most shore anglers are still catching fish. Most use the typical baits, nightcrawlers or Powerbait. Topliners have fair to good success for kokanee salmon. Most used a flasher of some sort and a kokanee bug or wedding ring with a piece of white corn.
Truckee River – The release is 508 cubic feet per second from the dam at Tahoe City. The bulk of the runoff appears to be over. The river appears to be in better shape to fish. The river has slowed down a bit to 793 cubic feet per second in the Truckee area. Fishing has been fair to good but improving. Try nymphs and streamers near the edges and near obstructions. With the river as high as it is, conditions are tough but you can still have some good success.
Other Waters – Davis and Frenchman lakes fished fair to good this past week. Reports indicates that fishing remains good, but the fish are in deeper water.
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For decades the snap of a baseball into a leather glove has signaled a return to warmer weather and the onset of spring in Truckee.