Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance.
Seldom in my fishing experiences on TDR (Spokane River), or, for that matter, anywhere, have I been witness to a hatch of such magnitude as that which I observed last Sunday (Oct. 25). To be sure, this activity had been building for the past several days, as I had noted during my fishing the previous Wednesday. The conditions that entire week were textbook, and as is the order of things for this time of year, the Blue-winged Olives were next on the slate for their annual fall hatch, and hatch they did, in such numbers as to cause at once joy, and at the same time, consternation. For a period of almost 2 hours, the eddies and buffet lines were dotted with thousands of tiny sailboats.
In the picture of the river, taken at approximately 2 p.m., you will notice the severe hydraulic upwelling. This convolution is 50-odd feet or so below several somewhat shallow rapids, running over rocky terrain to spill into the lower, flatter runs whose bottoms are dotted with very large granite and igneous rocks. The bankside edge is literally wing-to-wing with newly hatched #20-22 BWOs. Water temperature at this time was 48 degrees, and air temp. was 52.
You will also notice the outcropping of large rocks, where just downstream, there are a number of trout noses dimpling the surface. As I noted earlier, the picture was taken at about 2, and I'm pretty sure the fish had been hitting the buffet line for awhile before I arrived, got over my amazement, pulled out the Minolta (with shaking hands), and snapped the picture.
I worked my way back up to the tertiary trail I had used to get here, went downstream below the pod of fish I was watching, who were rising with as much frequency as I have ever seen TDR trout feed, probably about every 3-5 seconds, and decided on an emerger. Like I said, I really had no idea as how long the hatch had been going on; an emerger for me has always been the logical starting point when I'm not sure of the time frame s far as the progression is concerned, which I will explain more fully later, if I remember.
The flows as of Sunday were at about 1920cfs., which means to a classic caster, if he is attempting to reach these fish, that there is no, and I mean, NO, room for a classic cast. It's all roll casting now. And, the fact that one is severely limited as far as access to 'perches' which will get him even a couple of feet further from the bank, well... good luck not slipping in for a swim if you miss with your leap from the bank. I opted for the safe, although more difficult angle close to shore.
So I started at the bottom of the pod, and the emerger immediately took 2 fish. Then, upon further examination of the hatchees when I began seeing 'excuse me' rises close to my emerger, I saw that there were now a few spent-wings (dying or dead mayflies) in the mix. Not many, but a few. So, wanting to test my new adult version, I went to a #20 adult (see picture); and took 3 more, one close to 19".
Then, a while later, I went to the spent-wing, and finished off the day with 2 more fine rainows and a beautiful cutbow.
An amazing day. All in the span in the photograph, and all in the span of 2 and a half hours.