Sunday, July 25, 2010

Dry Flies at Spinney

Pretty sure this place is heaven.

So the wife let me sneak out for a morning at Spinney! I finally was able to take the 6 weight out of it's case and hit the water. I could only fish until noon so I knew I had to make the most of it and got up at 3:30 to be at the parking spot before 6am and on the water by 6:30am. The hike to the spot is generally level but it's a long way with a backpack stuffed with a float tube (which I never ended up using).By the time I got down to the water the hot air balloons were taking off East of Fairplay. Happens every time I fish Spinney on Saturday mornings, pretty cool.

Anyhow, I had heard the damsel and callibaetis hatches were in full swing so I rigged up a calli nymph with a stillwater nymph. I only used the rig for 5 minutes and missed a fish. While nymphing I saw this giant caddis come down and start skittering across the water. She lasted about 30 seconds before a nice rainbow annihilated the surface and took her down. That was all I needed to see. I quickly switched my setup and threw on a size 10 yellow Stimi.A few minutes later my efforts were rewarded! This was the first fish of the day and destroyed my fly. This isn't dry fly fishing on a stream with gentle sips of mayflies - these fish attack these giant caddis with reckless abandon often hurling their entire bodies out of the water as the attack the fly. There is no mistake about it, you know when the fish has hit your fly. One of the caddis hatched right next to me and made her way to my waders and I was able to take a couple pics before she flew off only to be inhaled by a trout. She was exactly the same size as my size 10 stimulators. I tried to get a picture of the underside as it's hard to tell the color from these pictures. While she appears a light olive here, the underside is more of a cream color. I didn't have anything to match exactly so I ended up using yellow stimulators until all I had were torn to shreds or broken off. I switched to olive, which was too dark, but still effective. I need to tie some to match this coloration. I had a quite a few fish reject the fly at the last second and I wonder if the color had much to do with this.
It's hard to take good pics when you're fishing by yourself. At least it is to me. I can't grip a 5lbs trout with my left hand well enough to snap a photo with my right. But here's another bow.This guy was a tough one. He not only destroyed my fly, see photo below, he jumped 10 times and took me into my backing twice. I have never had a fish take me into my backing on dries ever so that was pretty exciting. All the fish were about the same length in the 20-22" range and varied from 3 to 5 lbs. My arm/shoulder was tired when I left but I am not complaining!Hi I used to be a stimulator. This is the fly that took the fish above. I have no idea how I got him in as you can see the barb was broken off the shank of the hook. This was a perfect fly prior to that fish, oh well. I ended up not going back to nymphs all day. I saw a guy in a pontoon who came around nymphing and he was hooking up petty consistently. I might have had better success nymphing, but I did quite well on dries, ending up with about 10 before I started the hike back to the car about 11:30. I love fishing dries and as I am unable to get out nearly as often as I'd like due to the babies at home I simply stuck with it. As enjoyable as cast....strip-strip....pause....strip-strip-strip is it was much more of a challenge to mimic the skittering caddis on top of the water without drowning the fly. It was a game of finesse. By the end of the day I could cast to the opposite bank/island and perform the maneuver fairly well. Fish will strike a fly that isn't moving, but I had more success in skittering and pausing. A few times the fish hit the fly within a second of landing. It was difficult to cast 1 dry with the notorious South Park winds that picked up mid morning but the islands protect the channel fairly well and fish were feeding all over so it didn't matter much really. I tried to combo a yellow and an olive but that didn't work as I couldn't control the flies as well and it didn't seem natural. These caddis don't fly in groups so I switched back to the single. The key seemed to be making as much "noise" on the surface as possible. The real caddis leave a wake and flutter their wings in a very distinct pattern so my twitching and popping the fly it seemed the best I could do to replicate.Can't think of a better way to finish up a great day on the water and a long hike back to the car from mosquito central. I didn't see any callibaetis of damsel nymphs in the water all day. Early on there was a little chiro hatch but that was about it. When the Calli hatch is on the fishing is unparalleled, but its tough to have more fun that the caddis hatch. I wasn't expecting to see any as I hadn't heard reports about them all year and there weren't really that many of them around but the trout were keyed it on them. I didn't see 1 skitter on the surface more than 30 seconds or so before a trout took it down. I remember a couple days last year where the caddis were everywhere and the fishing was amazing. This trip wasn't quite up to that standard but was a hell of a lot of fun. Hope to make it out again soon.


  1. Nice write up....Dries are awesome!

  2. Awasome, was there a couple weeks ago and had a great day.