While the chironomids remain the most prevalent and important insect on Hebgen currently, anglers willing to explore venues either lower in elevation or shallower in depth may find some fun thanks to Callibaetis and damselfly activity. This time of year when hatches may not be extremely thick or predictable is also a great time to prospect with impressionistic attractors like Rickards' Seal Bugger, Stillwater Nymph, or AP Emerger. The higher elevation and even some alpine venues are now fishing as well, so heading uphill is another option for anglers looking to scratch that early season itch for a while longer.
If you get to the lake and maybe aren't sure where to start as far as fly goes, it's always a good call to try out the SSS Protocol, outlined in last weeks report.
From there, it comes down to dialing in your depth and speed of presentation. This is often easier said than done, and one of the great challenges and allures of stillwater angling for many people. Embrace the challenge, or perhaps take a break and go match a hatch on the river until the gulper action really picks up.
In the past couple of years I've really gotten into fishing stillwater insect imitations at slower and slower speeds on sinking lines having seen great success presenting such patterns under an indicator. Seeing the bobber drain into the abyss is certainly a blast, but the steelheader in me just can't get enough of that unexpected, tight line grab from the sub surface. But I digress. One thing I had struggled with when trying to fish flies really slowly on sinking lines is that it is hard to maintain shallow and medium depths with slow retrieves and full sinking intermediate lines throughout the retrieve. The line eventually just sinks down out of the feeding zone, or into the weeds. About a year ago though, I got my hands on the Airflo Superflo Intermediate Sink Tip lake lines. They come in 6 and 12ft sink tip lengths in both slow, medium, and fast intermediate sink rates. With a flourocarbon leader and tippet, these lines let you fish flies incredibly slowly, but at more consistent depths than I have ever been able to before. A bonus of the sink tip lines is that you can let them sink down super deep and then employ a quick retrieve that brings your flies up toward the surface at a nice angle, just like the path of an emerging insect. Deadly. It comes down to experimenting a bit to find which sink rate and length of tip puts your flies right in the zone you want to fish for the longest amount of time. I've found the slow and fast tips in both 6 and 12ft lengths to be most useful in my own angling, and at my suggestion the shop started carrying those lines this summer. Check em out below if you are looking to add a new line or two to your stillwater quiver.