SPECIAL FLIES OF YELLOWSTONE COUNTRY (part 5)
|Part 4 can be found here|
Case #3: Flying Ants Mating Swarm on Slough Creek Below Campground – Part 2
Understanding Lower Slough Creek
As I mentioned at the very end of the previous chapter, the most important key to be successful at the Lower Slough Creek is to spot and observe trout (on top of possessing right flies and proper skills and understanding hatches). The character of flows is one of a kind: it's so slow that trout can cruise anywhere to feed, even during hatch periods. Consequently they can rise to top from any directions unlike typical trout in typical streams that usually face and feed at the upstream direction. But it's still a flow that is very enough to cause drag on our leaders and flies. That's why I tell people "Lower Slough is the toughest public spring creek in the world!!"
Only if you are lucky and patient……..
Toward the end of August in 2012, I started to fish the Lower Slough in between guiding schedules. I was waiting for the traffic in the Park would be slightly slowing down. Then my biggest expectation was again to hit (or be hit by?) the swarm of flying ants. It actually happened at the same time of the day on the same date. I smirked myself. I saw many rise-rings with gulping sounds all over. I tied on my S.C.Ant Queen with confidence and started casting. However, the creek, trout, and ants were one-step ahead of me again. This time, sizes of females were 14 and 16 in light brown, almost tan, color. Trout recognized my S.C.Ant Queen (in the previous chapter) as the gigantic fake. Then again, the character of the creek never helped me hide that fact to trout. All I received was their usual "third degree inspection". I actually caught a few but those were just lucky bites.
"Well, new homework every year", I thought. Females were flying in the air and falling on the water (along with tiny males on their butts) probably over an hour. I thought of leaving. However, just after a short period of no actions, I started to see many and constant rises again. This time, those weren't gulping rises any more but gentle sipping rises. I thought "midges?" I noticed some cream midges were flying around me. I got off from the steep cutbank and got close to the surface. Those were tiny male flying ants. No more females around but those bachelors who couldn't find their mates were committing desperate solo dives to the water!! Indeed they looked like midges and trout were feeding as if they were feeding on midges. Hence I performed just as I would fish for midge with tiny ant patterns such as my S.C.Ant Male.
Bachelors on desperate solo dives.
Yamamoto's S.C.Ant – Buck
- Hook: Standard dry-fly hook size 20, 22, & 24
- Thread & Body: 8/0 Black
- Legs & Wings: hen cape hackle grizzly or black
Actual S.C.Ant-Buck on my finger
I figured out what was going on but this type of fishing was not easy at all. Then again, I wouldn't know how long actions would last. I targeted rises in a little back eddy where these tiny foods were congregating. There seemed to be a group of trout there. Situation called for 6X tippet and gentle drag-free presentations. Also I had to calculate the timing of their rises. I concentrated on each cast. I lost the sense of time or the fear of when the action would end. I finally got hooked. Big & Strong!! After breathless and intense tug-of-war, I brought him in…….
Typical Lower Slough Cutbow!
I was very satisfied and could praise myself little a bit. Actually that wasn't the end of the day. Rises continued very long even after dark. It was very tempting to keep fishing but it could be against Park fishing regulation (fishing during daylight hours) and then I just couldn't see or figure out what trout were feeding on any more. I left the meadow for my home at almost all 9 PM……
Satoshi Yamamoto, http://leftyangler.blogspot.com, is a guide and a professional fly-tyer in Livingston, MT.
|Part 6 can be found here|