Summer is in full swing on Crane Prairie, and with fish concentrated in the channels we have shifted our focus from finding fish to fly selection and achieving a proper presentation. A variety of Midges, Leeches, and a few remaining Callibaetis and Damsels are the most prominent food sources, with various combinations of subsurface patterns producing good numbers of quality fish. Most of the bugs are relatively small, and patterns in the #16-18 range seem to be the ticket for now. Suspending Midge and Chironomid patterns under an indicator a couple of feet off the bottom in the channels is a good way to start, and typically produces the most consistent action throughout the day. Balanced leeches have also been finding good numbers of fish, as have Callibaetis and Damsel nymphs when properly presented. The key to a good presentation right now is achieving a consistent and accurate depth in the cold water that holds fish deep in the channels. Providing movement by slowly crawling and retrieving flies, particularly Leeches and Damsels, is the best way to attract attention. While we like to use intermediate lines and sink tips when possible, suspending flies below an indicator is the best way to achieve the consistent depth and movement necessary for fooling educated fish.
It is increasingly important to be conscious of water temperatures this time of year, and while fish are comfortable in the cool waters near the bottom, fish health becomes a concern when bringing fish into the warm water in the upper portions of the water column. Fight and land fish quickly and efficiently, and make sure a fish is ready to be released before turning them loose as they often require additional time and support to regain themselves in these conditions.
Suggested Dries: Thorax Callibaetis #14-16, Parachute Callibaetis #14-16, Hi Vis Callibaetis #14-16, Black Flying Ant #16, CDC Flying Ant #16, Peacock Chubby Chernobyl #16, Hi Vis Beetle #16
Suggested Nymphs: Poxyback Callibaetis #14-16, Soft Hackle Callibaetis #14-18, Bird’s Nest Hare’s Ear #14-18, Guide’s Choice Hare’s Ear #14-18, Dark Assassin #16-18, Parallel Assassin #16-18, Bird’s Nest Depth Charge #16-18, Red or Black Ice Cream Cone #14, Black or Grey Zebra Midge #16-18, Flashback Pheasant Tail #16-18, Olive or Black Balanced Leech #10-14, Olive BH Mini Leech #12, Dainty Damsel #12, CDC Damsel #14