May 17, 2018 – With the exception of the Moose River, smelt runs are about over. Streamers are still doing the job and will for awhile. Fish have’t forgotten what a smelt looks like. 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 beat.
Water temperatures have been slowly climbing and when they hit 48 degrees suckers begin dropping their eggs. Like most other fish, suckers only spawn in certain spots. You’ll generally find them on gravel bottoms at the head of a pool. They don’t lay their eggs in a mass like trout or salmon, they broadcast their eggs into the current where they drift downstream. When they find bottom they’ll stay glued to the bottom until they hatch 7-10 days later. When you’re in the neighborhood of spawning suckers you’ll always find brookies and salmon lined up just down stream gobbling every egg that drifts by. After the actual spawn is over fish continue to grub around picking eggs until they finally hatch.
A number of times during the last few days, fish weren’t chasing streamers in places where they should be all over a Grey Ghost. A check of the water temperature indicated it could be sucker spawn time, so the guides started bounced sucker egg patterns around. Immediately 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 a Hendrickson or caddis hatch. You’ll get a week out of it at most then you might as well put your eggs patterns away until next year.
Water levels have finally dropped considerably in most of the main rivers. Much more water is now available to waders and the fishing is getting better everyday. Fish have moved back into their regular lies where it’s much easier to get your fly to them. You are still going to want your sinking line. No-one’s looking up yet.
Our trout ponds are ready to come alive. Daytime mayfly hatches should begin soon if they haven’t already. Make sure you bring plenty of Adams, Black Gnat, and Quill Gordon in your case 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. Until the mayflies begin to pop put your favorite dragon fly pattern on a sink-tip line and fish along the edges where you just loose sight of bottom. Trout will be cruising the shores picking up anything that resembles a dragon fly nymph walking around on the duff.
We are not peaking yet but those days aren’t that far out.
The guides have had a great start to the season. We just posted some new photos on our Photos Page.
The photo above is Alex Rockwell, a Greenville native, with a 5lb 2oz male brookie he caught a few days ago while trolling a Grey Ghost tandem streamer along the shoreline not far from downtown Greenville. Moosehead has been giving up some whoppin’ brookies in resent years.