Early June in the headwaters brings runoff conditions and difficult fishing conditions on some waters, but also some of the best Stillwater angling opportunities of the year on our local lakes. While I can’t be 100% sure, this seems like there may indeed be an angling deity out there looking out for us mortals.
On Henry’s the tomfoolery surrounding the “false spawn” is rapidly waning and chironomid activity is picking up speed. Look for chironomid emergence activity to start in the mid-morning on warmer days, and at midday or even in the afternoon on cooler days. Be prepared with pupa and emerger patterns in a range of sizes, and examine the shucks on the water and bugs in the air to select a size. If you can find a live pupa, note the color! While most of our early season chironomids have dark bodies, there can be some surprises.
A few of the Gen 1 early season Callibaetis have been showing on Hebgen, particularly on warm and cloudy mornings. Will you find the first gulper of the year this week? If not, be prepared to match chironomid hatches on Hebgen with pupa and emerger patterns. If the surface is calm, these hatches present some fine early season dry fly opportunities. If the surface is broken by waves, expect the fish to concentrate on pupae subsurface. Dark bodied patterns in size 12 and 14 will do the bulk of the work.
As it often happens when prolific hatches are popping, the fish may be seemingly absent during non hatch periods. It’s as if they know that the pizza delivery guy is on the way. Be patient and fish through the slow times when the bugs aren’t showing with various leeches and attractors and don’t be afraid to slow your retrieve/presentation with cool water still prevalent. When the bugs start showing, if you aren’t finding the fish be sure to experiment with depth of your presentation, as that can often be more important then the actual imitation you are presenting at this time of year.
Lastly, this week will bring some unsettled spring weather. Don’t let that stop you from getting out on the lake, but do be aware of changing conditions for boating and tubing.