Tuesday, May 15, 2012

When Routine Is All But Routine, Landlocked Salmon Have A Funny Way Of Fooling You

This past Friday was a very special day angling in the lakes region of New Hampshire.  There is a golden opportunity that happens, but does not occur every year.

The weather, this year, has been at best different.  We had a lower snow pack than usual, high early spring temperatures with very low rain fall and now a cool and rainy late April and May.  Water temperatures are very normal given the weather pattern we have experienced.  What is making this season special is the quantity of dry fly action over the past week.  The salmon have been available in big quantities and can be found in all the usual places.

Friday I had four hours to fish.  I hooked fourteen salmon with the largest at eighteen inches all on Tan Elk Hair Caddis dries.  To me that is exceptional fishing.  This all happened in the first three hours with the forth hour going baron.  I did put on dropper emergers, and I tried leaches, and I switched to different size and color Caddis dry flies.  Time was up and I left scratching my head.

Yesterday, I had a short hour and a half to sample some of the same.  When I arrived, my good friends, Al and Bob were sitting in the truck and they were also scratching their heads wondering why with so many fish boiling and jumping and eating like crazy they only had one fish each for the entire morning.

I looked at the Elk Hairs they were using and saw a difference in the hackle and body.  Mine had ginger color with the tan wing and light olive body.  Would that do the trick?

I like to watch my fly drift with dagger eyes.  I notice every spin, flip, wake, rise in water from a fish taking a look as well as how the fish takes the fly.  Sometimes the only way to get a take is to wait for a fish to feed and put the fly on the ring quickly.  The fish are moving quickly without regard to look and can be fooled with whatever hits the water..  Sometimes you can cast and drift randomly because you are using a perfect match.   Well, I tried it all.  I started to go through the entire collection from tan to black and small to large and with fish rising all around I could not get a take.

Then on one drift I was watching closely and a fish rose to eat three inches from my fly.  There was clearly no adult caddis on the water and sure enough it was a salmon with a bright silver side.

A change was in the air, or in this case in the water.

I switched over to emerger style caddis.  First a Stalcup Medallion and had one fish take as I was stripping back for the next cast.  Then I switched to a Sparkle Pupa with no result.  Then I went to the Woody in size eighteen making slow and short strips.  I looked at the time and knew I only had a half hour left.  Time does melt away when I am fishing.  My time expired and I finished hooking a total of five salmon.  I handed some of the flies to Al and was gone.

So many adult Caddis easily available and the fish were zoning in on small emergers and would only take when they had movement.

I guess none of us like to eat the same thing presented in the same way day after day after day.............