Hot and Humid with a Side of Dries

July 3, 2014

Date: 7/2/14

Anglers: Zach, Bailey, and John

Flies:  Quigley Cripple size 18, Olive X-Caddis size 14-18, Silvey's Chubby Sally, Orange Chubby size 10, Pat's Stone Black and Brown, Pearl Lightning Bug,Tungsten Beaded Hare's Ear size 16

Section: Red's to Roza

Results: 10+ trout to the boat including a few in the designated "trophy" size 18+

We grabbed a few guides and hopped in a boat to test the lower canyon. It was hot and humid and when we started it looked like it may rain. Soon enough however, the sun shone through and baked us the rest of the day. We started with dries and landed a few smaller guys but action was slow. We invariably switched over to nymphing the usual suspects. A black and brown Pat's with a pearl lightning bug on one setup and a Tungsten Hare's Ear with a lightning bug on another. This too, was a bit slow but some fish were hooked and released.

We focused on fishing the banks anywhere from two to 12 feet off and we kept with this pattern all day as it provided the best success. Around 5pm we decided to go back to dries and the best success happened with Elk Hair Caddis being thrown in super tight to the banks. I personally fished a dry/dry system, with the first fly being an Olive X-Caddis size 16 and the "dropper" dry being a size 18 Mahogany Cripple that resembled this Quigley Cripple. The other guys were fishing EHC patterns with a cripple dropper as well and this is the system I would recommend as we didn't see many adult bugs flying around.  Fish seemed to be eating in the surface film which means an emerger or cripple pattern is most likely going to be the most successful.

The cripple pattern really attracted the big boys and we had our best success on this fly running tight to the banks from about 6-8pm. Multiple fish in the trophy range were roped by this fly. We also found that posting up on a bank by anchoring the boat gave us our best chance at hooking fish instead of the usual run and gun method. 

For these dry setups I use a 9ft 4x Rio Powerflex Leader with about 12 inches of 4x Powerflex Tippet tied to the leader via a triple surgeon's knot. About 16 inches behind the first fly I tie on the "dropper" fly with 4x tippet. This simple setup allows you to fish smaller flies or emerger patterns that you normally couldn't see by using the first fly as an indicator of sorts. 

Overall it was a fun, exciting day of fishing on the lower canyon.  The river is perfect shape and with this hot weather we have in store the dry fly fishing should only begin to get more and more effective.  So get out and enjoy this holiday weekend and hook some fish!
  1. Larry Graham Invented the lighting bug many years a go. Sorry to say he passed away years ago. He was truly one of the best on the river and I enjoyed fishing with him. He was truly a good friend and I got a lighting bug tattoo to honor him. I have landed many rainbows and some well over 20'' . He truly got me hooked on fly fishing and if you knew him you are truly blessed. Fish on Larry and thanks, Leonard Sutter