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sanky

BWO

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I have fly fished for many, many years but I am baffled on the following question and I hope there is some clarification here. Why do fish not take BWO off the surface in the spring on the Bow like they do in the fall? Curious to see the answers...

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I have experienced amazing topwater BWO fishing in late April and early May on the Bow, but it certainly does not happen every year.

I think Bow River fish kind of forget to look up after a long winter

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11 minutes ago, scel said:

I think Bow River fish kind of forget to look up after a long winter

Thats kind of my feeling on it, as well as needing good water temps to get them moving up into the water column. Always find the best dry fishing for baetis is following a big midge hatch as i feel like it retrains them to look up.

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Seen  the same thing, big BWO hatches in the spring and nothing rising... and even the birds were in on it.  Always seemed like it might be a temps issue/lack of having been on dries for the winter etc.

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Thanks for the replys! I also wonder if it has something to do with water level...low water= warmer water. Low water = easier to rise and eat dries than if there was deeper water? 

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I don’t necessarily like the depth idea, but a few of the above make sense. 

Could seem worse simply because for a chunk of the spring there are fewer fish around, And the remaining browns may be coming up more covertly/after dark.

 April 22, 2015, I happened upon 3-4 big browns going suicide on bwos.  The one I hooked was 21” and there was definitely at least one that was quite a bit larger.

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ya really depends on the year. forget which one it was, but there was a spring ~5 years ago that was absolutely nutty on midges, baetis and caddis all the way up to runoff. The following year they couldnt care less about the bugs on top except in pretty specific spots, even with the same number of bugs around..its super year dependent as there are tons of variables.

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48 minutes ago, bcubed said:

ya really depends on the year. forget which one it was, but there was a spring ~5 years ago that was absolutely nutty on midges, baetis and caddis all the way up to runoff. The following year they couldnt care less about the bugs on top except in pretty specific spots, even with the same number of bugs around..its super year dependent as there are tons of variables.

I remember that year. Some of the shops were running out of parachute Adams before runoff hit, so everyone had their dry boxes stocked up for the next spring and there was no top action.

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Ya, that was the year that virtually anyone could have caught a fish on top and they were easy to find as they were all eating dries like 12" cutthroat... i miss those years haha

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25 minutes ago, Bron said:

...the snow flies and the fantasizing begins

ice on the river has made me forlorn.. but saw gulls crashing a riffle on the drive yesterday so im sure there was some baetis/midge action

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That’s what that is, eh? Seems like a lot of expended energy for little gain.  Thought it had to be bugs but Figured baitfish or eggs there.  

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15 minutes ago, Bron said:

That’s what that is, eh? Seems like a lot of expended energy for little gain.  Thought it had to be bugs but Figured baitfish or eggs there.  

Really obvious when you see them doing the bug-train. They fly to the top of a riffle, land, float down and eat bugs, then fly back to the top and ride the train again for hours.

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Ya I’ve seen that, but what’s the dive bombing? They hover for a sec a 2-3 feet above and slam their heads into the water

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Thanks everyone for your insight! Last year a week before the May long week-end we were dry flying with cadis and having a hoot with both large rainbow and browns! Epic actually

 

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Perhaps the trout food options are different spring vs. fall.  Certainly would be more chironomid larvae/pupae around in spring vs. fall, that could affect feeding patterns (subsurface vs. surface).  Others (e.g., Brian Chan) have produced indicative trout food makeup charts for stillwaters, which show shifts in trout food priority/availability over the year.

 

 

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5 hours ago, Sparkplug said:

Perhaps the trout food options are different spring vs. fall.  Certainly would be more chironomid larvae/pupae around in spring vs. fall, that could affect feeding patterns (subsurface vs. surface).  Others (e.g., Brian Chan) have produced indicative trout food makeup charts for stillwaters, which show shifts in trout food priority/availability over the year.

 

 

Midges are chironomids.  They are a year-round staple in the Bow.  When the BWOs come off in the spring, they are not as plentiful as fall, but they are also the only big hatch. The trout will surely key into the nymphs---an evil olive or WD-40 is are my key go-to flies.  Until run-off, zebra midge is also a killer good fly. Really any size 18-22 nymph will work.

The voodoo seems to be understanding when topwater becomes a valid food source.  The larvae are definitely around.  Like everyone else seems to believe, a calmer warmer March that allows a good blanketing of midges seems to be the warmup for a good dry fly spring.

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Yes, while chironomids are in fact a non-biting family of midges, the question to my mind is whether trout in the spring in the Bow preferentially key upon chironomid larvae and pupae, as they generally seem to do in stillwaters.  I don't fish the Bow nearly as much as I do trout lakes, but I see reports of plain red hooks working on the Bow early season that would strongly suggest chironomid larvae - bloodworms - in the trout diet.

I would guess that in the fall, when there are fewer chironomid larvae/pupae available to the trout compared to spring (along with fewer larvae/pupae/nymphs generally), so less feed/biomass down near the bottom may have the trout looking up more.

 

 

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