Friday, July 24, 2015

Fly Fishing and Tying Pale Morning and Pale Evening Duns

PMD and PED tied by Doug Stewart 

Pale Morning Dun 

The Pale Morning Dun is a dry fly in the order Ephemerella. It is found only in North America from the Rockies to the Pacific Ocean. It has three tails and is available during daylight hours, which makes it much easier to see. It is slightly larger than its counterpart the Pale Evening Dun and is more commonly used. Its hatch cycle is from June to August. 

Pale Evening Dun 

The Pale Evening Dun is a dry fly in the order Heptagenia and inhabits the same region as the Pale Morning Dun. It has only two tails. It usually emerges in the late afternoon to evening, and mating and laying eggs on the water (ovipositing) occurs sometime later. It hatches out from April to October. 

How to Fish the PMDs and PEDs

When it is too dark to follow the Dun, let it become awash as it glides across the surface. This will allow it to simulate a wet fly being fished down and across the current. This method is commonly called the wet fly swing and can create strong and aggressive takes, especially late in the evening. When fish are not surface feeding, you can also use a watery dun flymph pattern to interest trout. 

Bowing to the Fish

One caution is offered to ensure solid hookups. You must keep your rod pointed at a low angle to the water as the fly swings and when a fish strikes lean slightly forward as you set the hook. This is called "bowing to the fish."

Friday, July 17, 2015

Fly Fishing in Hot Weather with a Leadwing Coachman.

My Fat 16-Inch Trout
The Leadwing Coachman fly was originated in the early 1800s. It was tied by an Englishman who was a hired coachman, and to please his lord he tied this fly. I have used it for years and have always had consistent success with it by swinging it across the surface or dead drifting it. One of the better times to use it is during caddisfly hatches, especially when dry flies are nonproductive. 

I had the opportunity to fish the Deschutes River in early July when the caddisflies were particularly active. The only problem was that an extended heat wave was going on and the temperatures had been in the mid to high nineties for nearly a month. This can cause water temperatures to rise to 70 degrees or more. This condition can play havoc with trout fishing because warm water contains less oxygen than cold water. As temperatures rise the oxygen levels decrease and trout will begin to undergo extreme stress and become lethargic. The fact is that extended high temperatures can also cause death. Optimum temperatures for rainbow trout is around 40 to 61 degrees depending on the stream and location, so a stream thermometer can be a helpful tool. 

Eye-Catching Sunset on the Deschutes River
One evening I headed downriver to one of my favorite evening haunts, but I had serious concerns about my success.  As I approached, the air temperature was 99 degrees and the water temperature was almost 68 degrees. There was a decent hatch of caddisflies and a few Pale Evening Duns, but there was little evidence of rising fish. At any rate, I decided to make a few casts using my Leadwing Coachman. After a hour of periodic casting, I managed to hook and release a tired-looking 7-inch trout. Regretfully, the only thing that was really biting were the mosquitoes, so I took a few photos of a sunset and left. 

The second evening wasn’t quite as hot and the water temperature had dropped to 63 degrees. The changes were minimal, but it made a substantial difference. I hooked three fish and landed two:  a 10 incher and a fat 16 incher. I also watched a fish close to 20 inches jump and spit out my Leadwing Coachman. I had a warm feeling of satisfaction. 

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Don't "Bogart" Fly Fishing Water

Deschutes River Canyon in Oregon's high desert plateau
Classic Deschutes River Steelhead Run
My friend Don Wilson and I were fishing a popular Steelhead hole on the Deschutes River in Oregon. We were casting and working our way down to a tailout when two anglers wearing baseball hats rudely waded into the river not more than 20 yards below us. In a demanding voice I told them that it wasn’t proper to cut in that close to other anglers, but they scoffed at us and began to cast. Don didn’t want a confrontation, but I told him that they were trying to “bogart” the hole and have probably done it to others. To avoid a nasty confrontation, some anglers will concede their water, but I believe that inconsiderate acts like this should be quickly dealt with.

As a guide, I wasn’t easily bluffed; so rather than argue with them, I walked slowly in their direction while making numerous casts toward them. They quickly took notice. Rather than take the chance of getting snagged with a No. 4, 9049 Mustad hook, they begrudgingly began to move backwards while retrieving their lines and bleating some derogatory expletives. Don was somewhat surprised by my aggressive behavior, but I explained that there’s a proper way to approach other anglers when you want to fish near them and it requires just a simple rule.

Be polite when approaching other anglers and simply ask if you can fish behind or below them at a reasonable distance. Sadly, there are a few fly fishers that want to monopolize the water. However, a vast majority will not only say yes, but even invite you to fish with them. In many cases, courteous actions can lead to the building long lasting friendships.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Tips for Keeping Your Fly Tying Area Organized

Fly tying thread displayed on racks, four levels high and 5 to 7 spools wide
Doug's Thread Rack
A messy fly tying desk can interfere with the orderly function of tying flies. Portable fly tying benches can somewhat organize your equipment and materials by providing places for keeping scissors, bobbins, threads and other important tools close at hand. However, threads can create another problem. They can get tossed around in boxes and other containers, and only a few colors can be comfortably displayed on a fly tying bench. Also, sorting through the colors to find the right one is time consuming. So what do you do? 

A good solution for organizing your threads is to purchase a thread rack from a sewing center, or you can make your own by cutting wooden dowels into 1 to 1 1/2 inch sections and gluing them onto a board. Place the rack near your tying area for quick and easy access. 

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