Sunday, June 9, 2013
Damsels At Davis!
They’re here and the fish are already keyed in on them…..Damselflies. The heat has finally woken up the damselflies at Lake Davis and it’s the start of the best hatch that I and many long time Davis fly anglers have seen in quite some time. Water temperatures have spiked as well and are ranging from 67-72 degrees. Even with these lethal conditions the trout will still come in to feed for a few hours before returning to the comforts of deeper, cooler water. Summer mode is in full effect at the lake and good fishing starts at first light to about 1pm. Then probing the deeper shelves in 12-18 feet of water during the heat of the day will be productive. As evening comes the last two hours of light is good and there can be many rising fish if the water is not too choppy from a windy day. Effective flies this weekend included Red ice cream cones #12, blood midge emergers #12, damsel nymphs #10-12 that are not weighted like my shallow water damsel shown below, Jay Fair wiggle tails in olive and brown #10-12, UV2 olive mayfly nymphs #14-16, and Jay Fair trolling flies #8 in brown with copper flash. The rainbows are hot right now and range in size 17-20", check your knots and tippets on a regular basis. Parasites are beginning to show on some of the fish, not too thick yet but we'll have to wait and see.
There are numerous swimming nymphs but not in every part of the lake, certain coves from Eagle point clear up to Grizzly creek on the west and north shores have the heaviest concentrations. Habitat is everything for the emerging damsels and groups of willows surrounded by water is a like a magnet for them, but keep in mind weed beds coming to the surface and even free floating weed beds or mats of feathers and junk can also suffice for hatching. Your clues to finding the best hatch is looking for active rising fish in 10-2 feet of water and studying bird behavior. Seagulls will stalk damsels on the bank and in the water, I also observed this weekend that red eared grebes like them too but out in open water. Pelicans can help you locate the fish as well. The photo below shows a group of pelicans hunting rainbows in shallow water; my clients and I adjusted our location after observing this and found a good pod of active damsel eaters. The damsel game is not easy; it will test your ability and skills as a fly angler. For those who are new to the game my best advice is to observe and carefully plan your presentation to individual trout; don't beat the water!
There is so much insect activity right now that it boggles the mind and really shows you why Lake Davis is so productive. I witnessed vast plumes of Blood Midges that numbered in the thousands at first and last light, so intense that a high audible whine could be heard echoing throughout the lake. After seeing this I’d like to think that the hatches are coming back to the legendary status that was taken for granted in the past. There are at least 4 other kinds of small to tiny chironomids out as well. Damsels come next mixed in with some calibaetis, I did not see very many duns on the water as conditions were not ideal but there were many spinners in the air in small masses hovering above the boat. If you’re a bugaholic like myself you owe yourself an evening at Lake Davis right now, blood midges, small chironomids, long horn caddis, and white winged sulfur mayflies molting into spinners all over you and everything else. It’s so cool!
This coming week a cool down is expected and should stretch out the hatch and stall things a little, which is a good thing. I do not expect the water temps to drop too much as once the water heats up those temps pretty much remain high. Wake up and bring you’re “A” game, it’s go time for the Damselflies at Lake Davis!