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. 

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