How quickly the big river has transitioned from the Big Bug to little Mayflies and Caddis. Seems it was just yesterday that Salmonflies crawled up the backs of our necks all day. Some days the sky clouded with great swarms. The last light sessions around camp when every other cast would get exploded on. Big Redbands hung out under Green Alder waiting for a dopey bug to slip off its branch. And now, as the ninety-degree days call for wet wading, it’s time for the summer bugs. Both PMDs and Caddis are around in pretty good numbers down there. The amount of PMDs on the “Day Stretch” is encouraging and goes to show how healthy a good scouring is. I’m constantly amazed at how much silt and algae has been swept away to expose familiar river bottom we haven’t seen in years. I’ve heard that the improvements extend way down river, so we’ve reason for some improvement in conditions far below our “local waters”. So get out there and enjoy a warm day with heavy currents pulling against bare skin, fishing riffles with little nymph rigs for Redbands that are finally acting “normal” again.
Top bugs have been Nitro Caddis in olive #16, Sparkle Pupae either tan or olive in #16 &18. Spring Creek Geeks are a good second or middle fly and olive Soft Hackle in #18. All these should be fished on 5 or even 6x tippet under medium-sized bobbers with a splitshot or two. For dry fly I’d focus hard on eddies. This is done best from the bank giving some time to each spot that looks remotely promising. Wait for a foam bubble or scum line to develop and then watch for the dark shape of a fish to appear.
Last light caddis will be rewarding from now till the fall, as long as the “W” doesn’t blow too hard. So enjoy a long day in the canyon. Go ready for anything. Lots of sunscreen, water, a decent stash of bugs and some determination. You’ll get ’em!!