Dry Fly Fishing and the Pursuit of World Peace

Sorry about the title of this blog. Somebody once told me it was important to have an interesting title in order to appeal to a wider readership. That being said, there is some evidence that fishing the Bighorn River can encourage peace and harmony, unless a rental boat is rowing over your rising fish.

Speaking of rising fish, dry fly fishing continues to be great. We are experiencing the overlap of several hatches. PMD fishing on the upper 3 miles is outstanding. Not many PMDs downriver. A few Yellow Sallies are fluttering around all over the lower river, but not in large numbers. It’s more about the Baetis mayflies, those insipid little insects that constantly upstage the bigger bugs. Baetis love low-water years. They hatch all summer in low-water years. They come to the surface to emerge, but half of the duns tip over and die in the heat and low humidity. The trout, heartless creatures that they are, take advantage of the Baetis’ misfortune and consume their pathetic little desiccated bodies. Oh, the carnage that takes place in the insect world every day, and nobody seems to care. All the animal lovers out there, and nobody gives a rat’s rear end about insects, just because they’re not warm and cuddly, and they have exoskeletons. But I digress.

Baetis seem to be everywhere beginning in late morning and throughout the afternoon. The Student pattern imitates a stillborn dun, so I recommend fishing them for these tiny mid-summer Baetis.

Black caddis are becoming a major factor in the afternoon and evening. I’ve been fishing a black caddis/Baetis setup, and feeling quite good about myself. You can see the black caddis in the surface glare, while the tiny Baetis pattern seems to appear and disappear at will. This weird phenomenon may have something to do with multiple dimensions, but it has become more common as I get older. Whatever. I’ve heard the black caddis fishing is very good in the evening, but I’ve been home watching the Olympics. Great entertainment, but the Chinese have issues. One of the lady swimmers is on steroids, and did you hear about the Chinese badminton scandal? I’m proud of all Bighorn Trout Shop guides and employees who have remained calm despite a calamity of this magnitude.

A few tricos showing up in early morning. Also, people have caught fish on the elusive Mahogany Dun. This is a great hatch (actually a spinner fall), but alas, don’t get too excited. It only occurs one or two days a year. You better have a few large spinner patterns in your fly box, or you’ll be sorry.

Hopper fishing is fair on the upper river, good below Bighorn Access. Every guide has his favorite hopper pattern. I think the Moorish Hopper is the best. One of my guides likes the Schroeder’s, while another prefers the Rainy’s. The fish seem to eat them all. Fishing a hopper with an Olive Beadhead Flashback Pheasant Tail will be the ticket in the riffle water very soon.

Get that dry fly rod dusted off. It’s happening now.

Mike Lee hoists another beautiful brown trout taken on a dry fly.