May 20, 2017
The smelt runs might be over but streamers are still doing the job. Once the adult spawned out smelt return to deeper water fish begin feeding on younger needle smelt. Consider making the switch from the biggest streamer you have to a smaller version of the same thing and you won’t miss one beat.
Water temperatures have been slowly climbing and when it hit 48 degrees white suckers started dropping their eggs. Like any other fish, sucker only spawn in certain spots. You’ll generally find them on gravelly bottoms at the head of a pool. They don’t lay their eggs on the bottom in a mass like trout or salmon, they broadcast their eggs into the current where they drift downstream. When they hit they stay glued to the bottom until they hatch 7-10 days later. When you’re lucky enough to be in the neighborhood of spawning suckers you’ll find brookies and salmon lined up just down stream picking off any egg that drifts by. After the actual spawn is over fish continue to grub around picking eggs along the bottom.
A number of times during the last few days, fish weren’t chasing streams in places where they should be all over a smelt pattern. A check of the water temperature indicated it could be sucker spawn time, so we started bouncing egg patterns just downstream of gravel bars. Immediately both trout and salmon would not leave them alone. It’s like magic when it comes together. Just remember when the water temperature gets in the high 40’s suckers start dropping eggs. Its one of those windows of opportunity that comes along once a season, not a lot different than Hendrickson or caddis hatches. You get a week out of it at best then you might as well put those eggs away until another season.
Water levels have dropped considerably in most of our main rivers. Wading is tough and there is not a lot of wading water but fish are there and it’s is getting better and better. The Roach River is finally at excellent flows and is a wonderful river for fishing sucker spawn. Now’s the time.
Our trout ponds are about ready to come into it. Daytime mayfly hatches should begin any day if they haven’t already. Make sure you have plenty of Adams, Black Gnat, and Quill Gordon in your box along with a few Hare’s ear you might want to try as a dropper. It’s good to cover all bases. If all they want is the dry get rid of the dropper, but don’t be surprised if you find trout on both flies every now and again.
We are not peaking yet but those days aren’t that far away.
Finally please tell whoever has been doing all the rain dancing to knock it off, at least until fall.