FIELD NOTES

  • Official Start of Summer

    Official Start of Summer

    Because the weather in the Adirondacks changes so quickly almost everyone that lives here has their own preferred reference point that indicates a change in the seasons.  Easter, we know there is still a lot of winter left.  Memorial Day, is time to plant the garden. July 4th, officially when all the summer people are at their camps and Labor Day when it becomes quiet again.  For me,  June 21st, the Summer Solstice aka "longest day of the year" is the peak of fly fishing for trout and the Yellow Mayfly or Hexagenia hatch, my favorite of all the mayflys.

    The Hexagenia is a big bug that is major player in the eco systems of most Adirondack ponds and lakes.  This fly is almost 2 inches in length, is bright yellow and hatches in abundance.  These hatches get so big they have been known to show up on weather maps.  A Hex nymph lives and burrows in the mud bottoms of most ponds and lakes.  When the water temperature hits is right  every Hex nymph then leaves their mud tunnels, rises to the surface, sheds its skin, spends a few seconds drying then lifts off the pond surface into the trees where it completely dries off and strengthens its wings. After a few days, the breeding gene kicks in and the adults perform a pretty cool dance in the sky, mate and then land on pond surface.  The female lays her eggs and then dies and the male just falls from the sky dying as well.   This is known as the spinner fall.  

    Once dead, the bugs float on the pond surface where they are picked off by fish.  Because of their size all fish and birds take advantage of the free meal and use the opportunity to fatten up for the winter months.  Fly fisherman who eagerly await this spectacle are rewarded with caos and fish of unkown sizes hitting their flies. 

    Currently we're at day 4 of the 2017 hatch. Last night I watched 20 plus inch fish come completely out of the water eating these bugs.  I managed to land one 18 plus inch and two smaller brook trout plus miss a dozen or so others before the hatch ended.  it was a long night and today I felt it.  Hopefully I can get enough rest and get after them again tomorrow evening.  For a daily report please see my Facebook page. 

    Bill 

  • Yes, you can fish one fly all season.

    Yes, you can fish one fly all season.

    Last winter I read Fool's Paradise by John Gierach. I won the book at a fundraiser for our local chapter of Trout Unlimited. I really wanted Trout Bum, but a young kid grabbed that first so I ended up with Fool's Paradise instead.  I owe that kid a big thank you because his choice led me on a year long challenge and lesson in fly fishing.  

    In one of the chapters Gierach briefly talks about local waters, boredom and a friend who fished a  Royal Coachman all season long with reasonable success.  It was then I had my A-HA moment and decided on doing the same thing.  For the entire season I was going to fish a hungarian partridge soft hackle.  I immediatley went to my vice and started tying.  Within a few days I had my boxes full of soft hackles from size 12 to 8 with a few bead heads thrown in.   My colors were yellow, green and red bodies.  Hackles were primarily Hungarian partridge and a few pheasant.  By April first I was ready.

    For whatever reason I didnt get out until the first week of May. I went up the Starbuckle Dam at the end of Schroon Lake, made a few casts to shake off the rust and was into a nice brown trout on the 3rd cast.  It was game on after that.  

    For my 50th birthday my lovely wife booked a trip at Tall Timbers Lodge in Pittsburgh NH.  It was the 3rd week of May, snow on the ground, windy cold and cloudy.  The trout were just waking up from their cold winter slumber and I caught them on that fly.  I had a great week and caught a lot fish.  When I returned home UPS delivered my birthday gift to me, a 7.5 ft JP Ross Beaver Meadow 3 wt.  and I caught Adirondack Blue Line Brookies on the same fly.  The Summer Solstice Hex Hatch on Jabe Pond had me catching brookies stripping the soft hackle slowly just under the surface.  Another trip to NH in July had me catching trout and landlocks on the Connecticut and Androscoggin Rivers all with the soft hackle. Finally, just this past week on our yearly trip to the Salmon and Oak Orchard Rivers I caught and hooked up with Kings, Coho's, Chrome and Browns all on soft hackles.

    What I learned about this fly is it is very easy to tie and does not require a lot of materials, just a good Hungarian Partridge cape and yellow, green or red floss. Depending on how it's fished it represents the different stages of flies life cycle. Tie it big enough and you'll catch bass on it as well.

    If you're looking for a challenge next season give the one fly challenge a try and don't rule out the soft hackle I promise it won't disappoint.  Good luck and tight lines.

     

  • You Blinked

    On July 4th I said don't blink because Labor Day was right around the corner.  Not only was I right, but I also think summer should have gotten a speeding ticket.  It feels like just last week we were finishing up with the summer solstice and Hex hatch on Jabe Pond.  Then came the summer bass fishing invitational and now Labor Day.  Time flies by fast.

    The good thing is although most of the vacationers have gone home and we have a month of traditionally great weather where we can enjoy all the local beaches and hangouts.  Now is the time to start preparation for fall and winter.  Are there last minutes chores that need completing? do you have someone to clean your driveway for the winter and what about raking up the leaves?  

    September is one of my favorite months.  It's the beginning of a shoulder season and I get motivated.  The cooler temps will do that.  Over the last week or so I finished up all my odd jobs and chores and now ready for the onslaught of fall projects.  I'm available to finish up whatever you didn't start or didn't finish and not really all that selective.  PM or call me, I'll be happy to assist because before you know it, it'll be Thanksgiving.

    Happy Labor Day,

    Bill