Archive for September 18th, 2010


Fly Fishing: Full Moon & Fishing

Full Moon (SwittersB)

In researching this topic,  there are two evident paths that emerge. One is like obligatory folklore offered up for bodies of water that are not influenced by tides/waves. Discussions of moonsets, reproduction, and gravity all come into view without any meaningful scientific data.

If the fish are near coastal shorelines, then an air of certainty, of a causal connection, is offered up by fishermen, especially when discussing speckled trout. There the fishermen write with certainty that a few days before and after the full phase of the moon offer excellent fishing.

I can only offer up a personal experience of an excellent outing in B.C. While loitering out on a lake east of Merritt, B.C., my son and I casually made our way back toward the take out under full moon light. The slow pace was prompted by the stunning beauty of the full moon. And, as we slowly kicked trailing our flies the fishing picked up to a crazy pitch that was, well memorable. I recall trying to capture my son fighting an epic trout with the camera. I was shooting into bright moonlight off of the lake’s surface trying to get his silhouette. The fishing was adrenaline producing. We probably were violating the local reg’s, I am not sure. But, I have never forgotten, nor has my son, that amazing half hour or so of amazing fishing under a moonrise. So, coincidence or a connection?

So, the full moon phase is upon us. Perhaps some will benefit from that time of the month.  Oh, and an aside…I dare you to fully read the study on the Moon and the Trout in the attached treatise (here)


Fly Fishing: Below the Redd (Trout + Eggs)

I am by no means an expert at recognizing a salmon redd at eye level on the water. The obvious observation of salmon observed active on the redd in shallow water is one thing. But, recognizing a redd in deeper water and picking out the hydraulics at water level is more challenging, yet important. The female salmon, as you know doubt know, displaces the stream bed with her tail in order to create a depression to deposit her eggs. This displacement is significant enough that the rocks, which are pushed in all directions, creates a type of busy water* in contrast to the current around it. Find that busy water and fish below with egg patterns for trout. Not an unusual concept, but this time of year NW fly fishers are chasing steelhead, and focused on top for October Caddis and the reappearance of BWO’s.

I have fished below active redd’s (obviously leave the salmon alone) and drifted egg patterns 20-30 yards below and had amazing success. But also, weeks after the salmon had finished and succumbed, I have fished below that vacant redd and again done well.The trout have remained, locked in, long after the salmon had died. Perhaps some eggs, not covered, drifted, or dead salmon tissue offered some source of food. I don’t know, but I have great success in late October and even in early November.

There is an almost, if not totally downstream presentation. Just work out line and gently ease the floating line out. The egg pattern and minimal weight will drift and hold as you work into the trout’s space. No need for drifting eggs here..just ease it down and the take will be obvious as if back bouncing eggs from a drift boat (now, now…relax). The Fall Chinook are preparing to spawn. So, while you present those October Caddis also be aware of those bath tub size redd’s and that busy water.

As to egg pattern colors, I drift two eggs…one red, one pale orange. With the excellent bead options out there these days for eggs you can’t miss for long, or tie your own with micro or medium chenille. The egg pattern can be weighted or unweighted. Remember! Leave the salmon alone. And, wade around the redd once the salmon have departed.

*Busy Water: hint of rolling washboard riffle from gravel not rocks, swirling confined to smaller spot. Maybe someone could add to my busy water definition too. I had the occasion to have then guide, Mike Duley (excellent mentor) attempt to spot this out from drift boats and stream side.

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September 2010

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