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TimCatJuly 7th, 2016, 12:13 am
Alanson, MI

Posts: 121
I was fishing on a small, cold, spring creek last weekend for those beloved brook trout in Michigan. I only had about 45 min. to fish and I didn't catch anything. I thought I was getting some pretty good presentations and drifts, but at the end of my session, I noticed that my tippet and a good chunk of leader were still floating on the surface when I let a stimulator float close to me at the end of a drift. It was casting shadows of various shapes on the sandy bottom from the indentations made on the surface film. I think this is why I got skunked. I was using 5x fluorocarbon tippet too. Is there any way to get your tippet and leader to sink under the surface? I've only heard of using grease to make it float for skating dries on the surface.
"If I'm not going to catch anything, then I 'd rather not catch anything on flies" - Bob Lawless
TimCatJuly 7th, 2016, 12:43 am
Alanson, MI

Posts: 121
Now thinking about it further, I may have unintentionally greased my leader and tippet. I was fishing during lunch in the middle of a day-hike. I was SWEATY. I think when I was straightening my leader and tying on my tippet, I got a lot of oils and sweat on it. This still leaves me with the same question though. Maybe just wipe it off with my shirt or a rag?
"If I'm not going to catch anything, then I 'd rather not catch anything on flies" - Bob Lawless
AdirmanJuly 7th, 2016, 9:36 am
Monticello, NY

Posts: 504
Are yu sure that having it sink would have prevented it from casting the shadow? My feeling is it may have even if sunken because it would still be blocking the sun relative to the bottom, maybe not though. For me, I work to always ensure my leader and flyline are floating as much as possible when dry fly fishing because it presents the best drag free drift.
TimCatJuly 7th, 2016, 10:31 am
Alanson, MI

Posts: 121
The water was crystal clear and the sky was bright. The shadows on the bottom were huge compared to the leader width and splotchy from the water surface impressions it made. The shadows were significant
"If I'm not going to catch anything, then I 'd rather not catch anything on flies" - Bob Lawless
CaseyPJuly 7th, 2016, 11:57 am
Arlington, VA/ Mercersburg, PA

Posts: 653
been there, seen that. something about denting the surface of the water and the light gets refracted (?) same reason little riffles will make shadows on the stream bottom, which makes trout hard to see which is why trout like to hide under riffles.
try running the tippet through your mouth to clean off the oils and get it wet. spit is a remarkably effective sinkant. be careful not to run the tippet too fast over your tongue 'cause it can cut. when it's damp, the tippet will sink a bit into the water, but hopefully not enough to drag the fly down. this helps me when i use too much Fly Sauce which is the floatiest floatant out there.
it's significant that you were not fishing long. over time, mono will soak up water on its own, but different weights and types soak it up differently if not coated with floatant.
"You can observe a lot by watching." Yogi Berra
Jmd123July 7th, 2016, 11:58 am
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2611
Tim, daylight fly fishing is about to get a boost from grasshoppers, which are just coming out now. Perhaps there just wasn't anything to get the fish to look up? A hatch can make all the difference at this time of year, I think fish will wait until there are enough bugs on the water so until then, they might not be in such a feeding mood. What flies were you using?

Concerning you leader, do you have a leader straightener? You know, a small pair of rubber pads to run your leader through to straighten it out. This will usually take the shine off of your leader as well as help it sink. Gerke's also makes Xink which will help sink your leader.

No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
TimCatJuly 7th, 2016, 2:37 pm
Alanson, MI

Posts: 121
Yeah. It's possible that time and appetite were a factor for sure. I was using a size 12 or 14 stimulator, which usually works well for these brookies on this water. I thought it could double as a hopper too. Thanks for the tips guys
"If I'm not going to catch anything, then I 'd rather not catch anything on flies" - Bob Lawless
Jmd123July 7th, 2016, 4:42 pm
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2611
Tim, another thing right now is water temperature. I went to different parts of the Rifle two nights in a row. Tuesday night at Sage Lake Road, I caught probably a dozen fish, all the way up to 12" long, in spite of having absolutely no hatches whatsoever, and I think I did it all on EHCs, with a Royal Wulff thrown in as darkness fell. Nice, spunky, hard-fighting fish.

Last night I went to Selkirk, and it was a different tale altogether. No hatches again until dark when a few Light Cahills FINALLY showed up, and nothing but little guys feeding all night long, nothing over 6". I waded bare-legged last night and frequently felt currents of warm water that seemed way too warm for trout. I strongly suspect all the bigger fish are sluggish because of this, with dissolved oxygen levels dropping with rising temperature. The Sage Lake Road access is several miles up stream and closer to the headwater creeks, which are all spring-fed. One thing I should have done and will do the next time is go up to the mouth of Clacking Creek, where there is a plume of water at least 10 F colder than the mainstem. I would also suspect that's where they will be hanging out.

Tonight I go to a pond that is fed by a spring stream, ice-cold even in August. The brookies should all be crammed up in there waiting to hit almost anything that falls on the water...

Good luck next time out!

No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
PartsmanJuly 7th, 2016, 7:42 pm
bancroft michigan

Posts: 420
Jonathon I think your right about the water temp. but maybe also 0xgen levels, I just got back from up there. Walked way up clacking creek, nice but on the way back up to the car I fished a riffle of about 2 feet deep, I swear on every cast I had a fish hit or on and some were nice. These were on a ehc, but it was kinda of crazy for a short bit. Could not reproduce that action on any of the other riffles going back up to the car. There were some caddis and a very few mayflies that I could not identify hatching. River temp was 68 and the creek was 58. Also fished a parachute adams with size 12 with a fair amount of success.
TimCatJuly 7th, 2016, 7:46 pm
Alanson, MI

Posts: 121
Jonathon, I was on the north branch of the boardman. Ice cold. It's hatches happen a little later than a lot of other rivers in the upper LP because of its colder temps. The thermometer said 60 degrees when I dipped it in by the bank, but I didn't have my waders and it felt COLD after hiking and sweating my but off. I'm going back tomorrow and will give it a proper go.

The rifle seems pretty warm at some parts, but last August I fished it twice and if I remember correctly, the water was mid 60s in both spots I fished. Only caught some of those silvery little chub guys. I think one of the spots was sage lake, by the canoe landing(?). Good luck to you too!
"If I'm not going to catch anything, then I 'd rather not catch anything on flies" - Bob Lawless

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