The fishing is great, the flows are great, the water temps are great, it’s all great…except the no-see-ums. I dislike mosquitoes and blackflies and ticks and deer flies…but I HATE no-see-ums. Oblivious to my best chemical efforts, they crawl on exposed skin, surfing on a sheen of Lemon Eucalyptus, Picardin, and Deet, and then bite. A lot. The welts are particularly noticeable behind the ears. They are a biting midge. They are a size 48(?). Maybe because the mosquitoes haven’t been bad this year I just notice the little no-see-ums more. I dunno. But the only solution is to cover the skin with everything. Hats, gloves, Buffs. Be warned. It’s a small sacrifice because it’s been a great week of fly fishing. It’s hex season, but it’s more than that. It’s deer fly dry fly fishing, it’s Isos in the riffles, Isos spinning, a few wayward drakes, bat flies, sulphurs, yellow stones. In the mornings, in front of the lodge, fish are rising to caddis emergers. It’s just alive. It feels so good. The hex are the icing. The no-see-ums penance.
As mayflies go, the hex functions outside the realm of normal. They are a mayfly, but they are so goofy. The river will go dead, the evening rise is over, and you’d leave if you didn’t know the air is filled with hex spinners. On those nights, when the river goes quiet before it explodes, you get the sense that the fishing has simultaneously ended yet only begun. That’s cool. The big bugs are pretty well spread through both river systems right now. There are dead spots, and with the cold, there will be some dead nights, but there’s quite a bit yet to come.
There are hex pictures, and then there are hex pictures. I think this will be my favorite picture all year.
Anna ties flies for the lodge and apparently catches big brown trout. This is the culmination of a lot of hard fishing. Success is a deep feeling. I have to admit that one trout I caught this year made me do this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jKFE6BeNCQ0. I can’t deny it because there were witnesses, and I suspect it will become a (hopefully) private meme. It’s not the size of the trout, but the challenge it offered. Some trout are wonderful. Some trout make you growl.
It’s been very nice up here.
And, in June, everything is out and snooping around.
The branches, the river in general, are in great shape. This will be a busy weekend so if you are in a boat, or wading in boat water, wear a red light and communicate openly and in friendly manner with other river users. One trick I’ve picked up is to shine the river the direction you’d like another boat to pass. It helps the other boat, and it helps you get back to fishing sooner. It’s always better to aid a fellow angler than to stand in their way. Trust me. Who can fish angry anyway? Actually, what would be the point?
Have fun out there…
Chef Matt is working on a special hex menu… that we will post shortly. One change to the restaurant — we will begin requiring reservations this weekend for dinner, even for outside tables. Please call the shop to reserve a table, be it inside or outside. We’re excited for the new menu. Fried chicken? Shortribs? Jambalaya? Yep, it’s gonna be good.
Live on the Holy Waters, have trees, and want some trout cover? Matt and I will be planning another winter trout project for 2021/2022. What we need are land owners on the Holy Waters that want trout cover to contact me, at [email protected] We will need winter access, fallen logs or trees that we can cut, and your permission. The plan is to pepper in fresh trout covers throughout the Holy Water section to keep up with the aging out of past trout covers. We can’t guarantee we’ll get to everyone who provides us permission, or that our permit application will be approved, but our goal is to make the river a better trout fishery…and we need your help. Again, [email protected] Please spread the word.