It is a busy life operating a fishing site, but sometimes you have to down tools and get out on the water yourself.
Earlier this month I managed two trips to a nearby lake where I’d heard mayflies were beginning to hatch bringing some big brown trout in to the shores.
There are actually two lakes in close proximity that are known for decent hatches and on the first trip I tried the furthest one – a volcanic crater lake that sits at a higher elevation – for a few hours and didn’t even a see a fish move.
My preferred approach is to sight fish by walking the margins of the lake with polarized sunglasses looking for either moving fish or rises. I am not a big one for stripping streamers blindly, although I acknowledge that this technique catches more fish and larger fish in these lakes!
I guess I am a dry fly man at heart!
After crashing burning at Lake 1, it was off to the second lake to see what was happening. As soon as I got to the shore I could see mayfly duns popping off the water and a few fish rising.
I tied on a mayfly emerger pattern (the Claret Shuttlecock) with a stick caddis suspended below with the old dry dropper rig. Because there are some monster fish in this lake, I chose to tie the stick caddis wet fly off the bend of the dry as this is the strongest connection.
It wasn’t long before I was targeting individual risers out in waist deep water and had my first strike. The emerger dipped as the rise took the caddis, I lifted to strike and it was “fish on”. A few minutes later I netted a nice fat brown of a 1.5lbs or so. A small fish by the standards of this lake, but fun anyway.
I came back the following week with fishing buddy Dan and found the hatch in full swing again (it tends to go from midday to about 4pm) and picked up two nice fish this time using the same fly combo. Dan had two decent strikes but was unable to hook up this time.
A guy beside us picked up a five pound brown – an awesome fish from this lake on a dry fly. Inspiring stuff and enough to drag us back again soon.
I used this trip to test my new Simms G4Z waders (check them out at the Simms website if interested). I finally replaced my eight year old pair of G4Zs and am pleased to say the new model is a nice upgrade with a few more pockets, the same great fit and durability and better neoprene feet (video below).
And I tried out another new item I’d bought for this season – the Simms Dry Creek Z backpack. This was the perfect spot to try it as for most of the afternoon I was fishing in water slightly over my waist. Using a normal backpack this means the water seeps up from the bottom and ruins your lunch or any electronic gear you have in the bag.
Happy to say the Simms Dry Creek kept everything nice and dry and was very comfortable to wear (review below). It has an anchor point to carry your net and for straps to lash rod tubes or a wading staff to the side as required.