Mystery Rises

Discussion in 'Stillwater' started by ak_powder_monkey, Apr 20, 2009.

  1. ak_powder_monkey

    ak_powder_monkey Proud to Be Alaskan

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    I've been fishing a football field sized hole in a local lake with a small population of resident coastal cutts lately and there are fish rising every 10 minutes or so, they look a lot like emerger rises, and as far as I can tell there are no bugs coming off, except this afternoon when there was a hatch of size 6 caddis coming off which the fish didn't seem to care about, didn't see one take an adult and tried a caddis emerger to no avail. So at this point I'm thinking that these fish might be busting smolt, which will happen a ton in a couple weeks but I think its still too cold for that to happen much and really the rises look a lot less violent than smolt takes. I did manage one fish yesterday on a smolt and one bite either on a chironmid or a smolt (dropper fishing) yet there are a ton of fish rising and not eating. Any ideas?
     
  2. Ed Call

    Ed Call Mumbling Moderator Staff Member

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    Do fish slurp bug eggs out of the slime layer? I've seen a bunch of similar activity at a couple of local lakes. I have seen small bugs seem to be laying eggs, then flying off. A few times this has happened very near my pontoon then I've seen fish come up to those areas and slurp/rise. I could faintly see some pale red stuff floating in the slime layer after the bugs have departed. Does anyone make a size 44 pale red amorphous blob fly?
     
  3. Richard Olmstead

    Richard Olmstead BigDog

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    I've had success in similar situations this spring fishing a small (ca. #18) midge pupal pattern on a floating line just below the surface. I also noticed the riseforms occurring without an evident emergence, but later in the day I did see midges emerging. I've tried both hanging the pupa below a small dry fly on ca. 1-2 feet of tippet, or just going with the pupa by itself and using a very slow retrieve to keep in touch with the fly.
    Dick
     
  4. Kent Lufkin

    Kent Lufkin Remember when you could remember everything?

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    Sounds like they could be feeding on daphnia - very tiny crustaceans (think shrimp) that are common in lakes everywhere. Fishing in lake where fish get the majority of their diet from daphnia can be quite frustrating since there's no good way to imitate a size 32-40 shrimp.

    K
     
  5. zen leecher aka bill w

    zen leecher aka bill w born to work, forced to fish

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    I've fished lakes during the "daphnia hatch" and done my best using an attractor of either a lime green or a hot orange carey special.
     
  6. Jim Wallace

    Jim Wallace Smells like low tide.

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    Good Grief! Size 32-40 Daphnia? I didn't even want to know about such things!:clown: I'll bet they're to blame for all my skunkings.
    I was already getting bugged by seeing the #18 and #20 black chironomids. Well, I have a magnifier lamp now, and some #18 hooks buried somewhere (not in my finger tip).
    Luckily, I found some less selective trout last week, in a westside lake. One of the three (all 'Bows) I kept for a trout dinner with friends was full of scuds, except for a few caddis larva, and its meat was pinker than the one I kept with only chironomid pupae in its gullet. That one had pale flesh. I don't think it had discovered the scud population yet. The third trout had all three food forms in its gullet, and its meat was nice and pink as well.
    The scuds were not pink, but look like they were a translucent pale olive, but I have heard that pink flesh is the result of scuds (or "freshwater shrimp") in the trout's diet.
     
  7. Old Man

    Old Man Just an Old Man

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    A orange or a pink scud is a dead scud. I was using a orange Ray Charles this winter in a size 20. This also imatates a dead scud.

    Jim you need some better eyes to see those small hooks. And be sure to debarb them all as the small hooks get buried in your hands and fingers easier than the bigger hooks do.

    Jim
     
  8. Richard Olmstead

    Richard Olmstead BigDog

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    Kent -
    I think Daphnia are much more likely to be an explanation for later in the season. Daphnia overwinter as eggs or in some sort of resting stage in the sediments and during the summer they can reproduce at frightening rates until by late summer they may be a majority of the living biomass in some lakes. However, this early in the season they are usually a pretty minor component. Also, Daphnia position themselves in the water column by light intensity, migrating up and down in a daily pattern. In the middle of the afternoon (the original post indicates 'afternoon'), they are probably too deep for trout feeding on them to be disturbing the surface, as the original poster indicates.

    Dick
     
  9. ak_powder_monkey

    ak_powder_monkey Proud to Be Alaskan

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    hmmm daphnia might be it I suppose I'll stick with the smolt patterns and see what happens
     
  10. cabezon

    cabezon Sculpin Enterprises

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    I don't know Richard. Egg Lake on San Juan Island can be thick with Daphnia in the spring and early summer. Our lakes on the west side don't freeze and there's always some light to keep the photosynthetic algae ticking, not on high gear, but ticking. The overwintering populations of Daphnia can be thick and are ready to skim off the first bloom of primary production. The timing / pattern of Daphnia abundance is likely to depend on whether a lake is oligotrophic (low nutrients) or eutrophic (high nutrients), bottom-up control in classical ecological terminology, and/or on the abundance of higher-level predators, like damselfly larvae, chaoroborus (phantom midges), or small fish, top-down control. On Egg Lake, when the stockers are onto Daphnia, they can be very finicky. Sometimes, stripping a damsel or black flash-back nymph across their path can induce them to try a larger meal.

    There are some "Daphnia" patterns out there. If I remember, we had a thread on it last spring. Check the archives.

    Steve
     
  11. barbless

    barbless Member

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    Looked like Teal Lake was absolutely crawling with something resembling daphnia this weekend. You had to look close with polarized glasses, but there were millions of them, red, about 2mm long.
     
  12. Ed Call

    Ed Call Mumbling Moderator Staff Member

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    Barbless confirms what I thought I was seeing. How the heck do you imitate that miniscule stuff? I've got some little red mirco midges that I'm going to try next time out there, but even they are probably too large.
     
  13. Tim Cottage

    Tim Cottage Formerly tbc1415

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    The riseform from trout feeding on tiny critters whether daphnia or midge would be entirely different than the riseform from chasing smolt.

    I have had sporadic success during the tiny mystery hatch using a 20 -22 sparse light green midge on a greased leader just under the film or a similar sized claret parasol suspender type pattern or a small brown generic emerger midge tied and greased to float vertically.

    It's generally a crapshoot during a mystery hatch.

    TC
     
  14. Ethan G.

    Ethan G. I do science.. on fish..

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    If fish are eating daphnia, that means they're out of anything else to eat. Tie on a big fat streamer and hold on!
    -Ethan
     
  15. Kent Lufkin

    Kent Lufkin Remember when you could remember everything?

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    Isn't that the truth! Somethimes it's a crapshoot when you know what they're feeding on but can't persuade them to take your poor imitation.

    One fall a few years back at a hike-in Cascades foothills lake (you and I have been there together Tim!), the blue damsels were doing their mating dance, flying around in tandem, locked in insect copulation and driving the trout absolutely nuts.

    The damsel dance started at about noon and immediately got the fish's full attention. As the damsel pairs would fly low over the water in their oblivious bliss, the trout would literally rocket up out of the water to try and snatch them in mid-air. Once they keyed in on the damsels, the fish wouldn't have anything to do with our offerings, even adult blue damsel patterns.

    Turned out the best strategy was to take a break for a shore lunch and watch the show until it slowed down in an hour or so. The the fish returned to their pre-dance state and resumed taking the flies that had been successful for us before noon.

    K
     
  16. cabezon

    cabezon Sculpin Enterprises

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    Not necessarily, Ethan. Daphnia can form dense swarms. In those cases, it can be very energetically profitable for a trout to just locate the scattered swarms and suck up parts.

    Steve
     
  17. Ed Call

    Ed Call Mumbling Moderator Staff Member

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    I tied up some ridiculously tiny red midges that I hope to fool those slurpers with. Now I'm dying to try them out.
     
  18. Dustin Bise

    Dustin Bise Active Member

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    very interesting thread. could u take the smallest hook you have and simply paint it red then toss it into the mix?? anyone have some photos of these little shits?
     
  19. Jim Ficklin

    Jim Ficklin Genuine Montana Fossil

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    Smallest I ever tied were size 24 Jassids for a guy from NY . . . I was 18 at the time, not 61 & my eyes weren't right for 2-weeks thereafter once 3-dozen-plus were done. Got a lot of Graylling takes on the Upper Big Hole back in the day, but landed darn few. 'Course back then, my cheap glass 6-weight was my only rod (doubled as a back-up for pole-vaulting practice) . . . might do better today with my lighter, higher quality rods (I won't claim experience) . . . been making the same mistakes for years) if: a) I could see to tie them and b) wasn't too so shaky to thread the eye. I've come to the conclusion that manageable fly size is inversely proportional to my age on both counts . . . but it's been a grand journey!
     
  20. barbless

    barbless Member

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    Forgettaboutit.
    It would not be possible to imitate one of these things with a fly. They are too small and they move fast. I have seen flies that try to imitate clumps of them, but I think it would be a desperate situation to try that. As mentioned earlier, pull out a big streamer and start dredging if daphnia are on the menu. Or you could try this: http://www.westfly.com/feature-article/0402/feature_770.php