Thankfully, this week started off "cooler" than last, which made it blissful to be on the Spokane River around first light. The air temps hovered in the low sixties right along the bank and you almost needed a light jacket to stay comfortable...almost. The flows continued to recede throughout the week and the daily highs still topped out in the nineties, which kept our fishing to the early morning hours. The fishing was challenging but our fly fishing guides and clients were connecting into trout (and whitefish) during each outing. When there is an ongoing heat wave and drought you have to be prepared to change tactics, re-rig innumerable times, and adapt.
Launching the raft into the current, the early morning sun freckled the water just as we casted flies to drowsy trout. Only a handful of caddis were seen thumping their bodies against the current, it seemed that there were fewer and fewer fluttering about each morning. As we fished, flies were culled from boxes piled with nymph patterns of various weights, sizes, and "go-to" colors. At times, the fish were down at impenetrable zones and it took a depth charge of flies to hook into a few trout here and there. In the faster runs, our clients played the pocket water and managed to bring some beautiful cherry-striped redband trout to net.
On one of the mornings, a client and I looked ahead of us as an osprey dove, hammered through the water, and plucked a trout out. The client stripped his line up, made a cast, and sent his flies to the other side of the river. "Good idea" I laughed back. Floating past parks and beneath overpasses, you almost forget that you are in a wild space, that is until a bird of prey snakes your fishing line.
Later on in the week, a client and I played the ever enjoyable game of rock, breaker, fish...(rock if you snag a rock, breaker if it breaks off and we lose the flies, or fish if we score a hit). He was traveling the indicator over some deeper riffles and set the hook only to see the rod bend over and hold its position. "Rock" I guessed, "Um" he guessed as he watched his line begin to move upstream. Turns out that it was a decent whitefish, and the first whitefish he ever landed (and he was pleased with the fight it gave). When the Spokane River giveth, you say thank you.
If you are planning on fly fishing the Spokane River this weekend or into next week, the name of the game again is early morning play. By late morning the bite was significantly down and we hung up our flies by about noon to not only escape the heat but to rest the trout. Double nymph rigs under an indicator, or better yet tight-lined (euro nymphed), is the way to go. The best tactic this week proved to be a drop-shot set up with double caddis nymphs. Look for deep channels that have walking pace current and a surface that is not broiling.
One of my clients was asking why I was having her avoid certain types of water. I responded that the current, although deep, was broiling which made it a challenge for trout to hold and feed in. As the day went on, she got better and better about reading the water and making the right selection.
If the trout continue to elude you, try letting a pair of nymphs or wet flies swing through the current downstream of you. Swing them through the tailout of a pool or long run right before it shallows or riffles out. If you feel something hit the line just give a gentle strip set (not a trout set).
Beyond fly fishing, the cherries are hanging heavy on the trees and my wife and I spent an evening over at a friend's house filling up a bucket with fresh deliciousness. I am not sure yet what we will do with all this fruit, I might have to finally try baking a pie (and I will definitely make some cherry jam for toast in the morning). If you book a trip and end up in my raft this week, hopefully you like cherries because they are on the menu.
Be sure to Contact Us about booking a fly fishing guided trip on the Spokane River or fly fishing instructional class. Check out Our Services for more information. Even if you are new to fly fishing (or want to get your kids or friends to try it) our guides can take you out to the river or even a neighborhood pond to help out with casting and teaching the basics of fly fishing.
Stay cool out there, get on the water for those early morning fly fishing sessions, and even as hot as it has been enjoy this summer however you can.