Missouri River Workout Part 2. As I said in my last blarticle, I, my wife Carol, and some keen fly fishers who came to join us on the Missouri River this past fall found oddly warm weather for the season and, on the whole, grumpy trout.
As I also said, during those weeks it struck me how flexible and open-minded experienced fly fishers get when the standard rules of fly fishing come up short.
One of our strategies, which I also mentioned, became pushing ourselves out of bed early to streamer fish the banks.
But watching the water—always a smart strategy—we eventually noticed areas of tidy little afternoon rises that would have been a cinch to miss. We also noticed tiny mayflies sometimes coming off, also easy to miss.
See what I mean about watching? Clearly, the trout were feeding on the mayflies. The mayflies looked tannish along their undersides and about matched a size 22 or 24 hook—miniscule.
The locals called them “Pseudos,” short for the mayfly species Pseudocloen parvulum, which, for reasons way over my head, has apparently become Plauditus parvulus. But a friend who knows aquatic entomology far better than I do suspects those mayflies were actually Acentrella.
Of course, he wasn't there and I didn't think to preserve any samples for him, so, who knows? But you didn't have to be an entomologist to see that this particular mayfly was sometimes all over the water.
We rigged with 6X, sometimes 7X tippet, tiny emergers and spinner patterns (sometimes the duns predominated, sometimes the spinners were drifting in hoards, like fine patterns on fabric). We'd walk the banks and look for rises or, if the light was right, suspended fish.
Then we'd creep or slide our way down the riverbank, figure out how to get the fly in front of a trout without giving a tell, and take our shot.
We spooked fish, lost fish, landed fish.
Nothing huge, but my biggest on a #22 was a mighty 19 inch rainbow and I couldn't believe he came to the net on such a tiny hook after so many angry runs.
We heard regularly about the vigorous dry-fly fishing normal for that time of year (one abrasive gent at a local restaurant barked at me that he'd been fishing the river in September-October every year for over a decade and rated the current dry-fly fishing at about 20% of what he'd come to expect).
Most people blamed it on the heat. It was mid 60s and 70s mostly—though one record day hit, I believe, 90 or a little higher! On our coldest day wet snow came down from sunrise on, yet the thermometer still never touched freezing. We heard also from locals how we could have been buried in frigid snow so late in the year.
So maybe warm afternoons and grasshoppers springing off the fishing paths wasn't such a bad deal (though we never found fish willing to take our hopper fly patterns, but we tried them only rarely).
So, that's it, the end of my second blog/article, Missouri River Workout Part 2 . More to come, so stay tuned...