JC and I were camped at the old Keystone Landing on the
mainstream of the AuSable River in Michigan. It was a lovely mid-summer morning, a
butterfly-blue-sky day. Perfect for dorotheas.
We knew just the place. Right above Smith Bridge on the South Branch. This was a
lovely tea-colored stretch of water with just enough round rocks and gravel to produce
a slight riffle with slicks and fine edges. A deeper run along the opposite bank, ideal
We had our breakfast early, gathered our gear and drove East to the bridge. A wide
spot on the highway allowed for a few cars to park safely. The hillside going down to
the water was grassy, with an occasional clump of forget-me-nots and bright yellow
daisies. Across the stream, low cedars almost fell into the waters. By next year some
would be in the water, sweepers they are called there, and provide excellent cover for
the trout. For now they just would make casting difficult.
Waders on, rods in hand, we carefully moved down the hill. Once at the waterline, we
sat down and waited. Watched and waited. And waited. Mid-morning the hatch began.
Slowly at first.
We had seen the bulges of trout nymphing. We had also checked under a few rocks the
previous evening. There were mayflies ready to hatch! Everything was perfect.
The hatch got stronger. More fish were rising. Then lots of fish - gulping the hatched insects like
a vacuum cleaner across the surface!
It was the wrong bug!
The insects hatching were tricos (Tricorythodes) and not at all what
we had planned on fishing that morning. The dorotheas there is a size 16, the trico a 32. Yes, we had
them. But it just wasn't what we wanted to fish. That may be hard to understand, but it is the
way it was that day.
Yes, we know how to fish nymphs too - and there was a time when both of us did that. Maybe
it is a self-imposed challenge, but for us, sight casting to a specific fish, seeing the trout take the
fly on the surface is where it is now for us. We do fish 'wet'. Salmon don't seem to want surface flies
here, but we are working on that one.
So we sat there, watched the whole scene, discussed what we were watching, decided not
to spoil the trout's morning and very much enjoyed just being there.
Sometimes it's not the fishing that is important - it's being there. ~ LadyFisher
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