I went out this afternoon for two hours and fished in, well, kind of lousy conditions. Air temp was warm, around 90 degrees in the valley and upon arrival the water temp was ~61 degrees which made me think right away that I might find lethargic fish less willing to strike. Riffle samples came up with several leeches of varying size, I have not see many leeches and this provided more push to tie on a bugger pattern. The water was slightly stained but very fishable. I observed, from my favorite bend, no rising trout nor surface activity from any bugs, really the only thing flying around were the random dragon flies and deer flies in droves. Normally annoyances like the deer flies and mosquitoes don’t get in my way and are usually overlooked but not today. I lost at least two takes while slapping a fly biting the back of my ear or my hand holding the rod.I fished the same fly I’ve been fishing knowing that I would have to head deep to find fish willing to strike. Keeping in mind the warmer water temp and the relation between water temp and dissolved oxygen made me land and release every fish quickly, removing it from the water for only the brefiest of moments. As water temps rise the amount of dissolved oxygen lowers and the fish have a harder time recovering, this is also a reason why the fish hold low in the colder water.
I fished a usual stretch and I came out to see the change since I had last been here during the height of the Light Hendrickson hatch a few weeks ago. It’s amazing how fast life grows. The grass on the banks continues to grow ever closer to the sun and in some of our water the aquatic plant life explodes providing sometimes tricky situations, such as casting to fish holding deep in a small spot between massive blooms of greenery. I worked the bugger pattern in and through tight holes picking up brownies as I went but as suspected the fish were less than aggressive and would strike once and that was it. Something else to note: while landing several of these fish they tried desperately to dive into the plant blooms creating a difficult situation, force the fish and potentially break it off or risk a tangle. I became acutely aware of the tangle issue as not one concerning a lost fish but rather one that might risk the life of the fish. As I watched one dig deep and wrap twice around a thick stem then began floating upside down, thinking to water temp. I didn’t want the fish to die before I decided it wasn’t going to come loose. I jumped into four feet of thick greenery and sunk into what seemed like a foot of mud. The fish just lay there unaffected by my presence, I unhooked him quickly and held him low in the colder water until he took off. I was soaked but it felt good in the sun and although I had blown any chance of pulling another trout out of this spot, that fish was released to live another day.
Other notables: I watched a basketball sized snapping turtle come floating right to my feet while casting to trout, pretty cool, also I stepped in a rather warm pile of cow pucky that took a while to get out of my shoes later, pretty funny. I headed home after temping the water again, it had risen to ~62 degrees and if I would have had the time I’d have stayed until late in the evening waiting for the magical hours before dark. Dusk, when the water temps relax and the stream shakes off the heat of the day to come alive. As I drove home I began thinking about late summer fly fishing and how I need to get to work on my terrestrials and other late summer patterns. To the bench!