All content © Robert Williamson

All content © Robert Williamson

Friday, June 2, 2017

This Story Appears on KSL.com


Robert Williamson

4 tips for using stonefly hatches in local fly fishing

By Robert Williamson, KSL.com Contributor  |  Posted Jun 1st, 2017 @ 11:27am


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THE GREAT OUTDOORS — This time each year, fly angler’s ears perk up as stories of salmonflies (giant stoneflies) start to spew forth in Rocky Mountain fly shops.
Wide-eyed storytellers talk about the hatch (the emergence of aquatic insects) with enthusiasm, and often, half-truths, while listeners marvel at these stories hoping to glean the secret information and whereabouts to pursue their own salmonfly experiences.
Finding the giant stonefly (pteronarcys californica) to utilize in fly fishing is a hit-and-miss proposition because timing and conditions are everything. When the weather and runoff are good and the fly fisher is in the right place at the right time, epic experiences and stories are produced.
While most fly fishers look to the fabled waters and hatches like those found on the Henry’s Fork and South Fork of the Snake Rivers in Idaho and the Big Hole and Madison Rivers in Montana, Utah has a few rivers with stonefly hatches as well. These waters may not be as well known or produce the size of fish found in those other rivers, but they do provide fun fly fishing opportunities to use large stonefly imitations in both the nymph (an immature aquatic insect living on the stream bottom) and the adult imitation, which emerges from the river and crawls on streamside rocks and willows.

Where to find stonefly hatches in Utah

Large stoneflies are typically found hatching in the Blacksmith Fork near Hyrum, the south fork of the Ogden River above Huntsville and the Ogden River below Pineview Reservoir and the Provo River system below Jordanelle and Deer Creek reservoirs. Anglers who like even smaller waters can find hatches on East Canyon Creek near Morgan and the east fork of the Little Bear near Avon, Cache County.

When to look for stonefly hatches

Most anglers looking to fish a stonefly hatch in Idaho and Montana will find hatching insects from the middle of May into June and early July.
On Utah rivers and streams, the bugs will hatch anytime from early May in dry, hot years to late May and into June on wet, colder years.

Fly patterns

Numerous stonefly nymph and adult patterns have been created. When conditions are right and the trout are seeing and keying in on the natural insects, most fly imitations that capture the size, color and silhouette of the natural stonefly will produce good fishing.

The stonefly secret

Fly fishers either hate or love the stonefly hatch based on their experiences. A couple of secrets about the stonefly hatch that is often missed by many anglers is the fact that trout will still hit a stonefly pattern for weeks after the natural bugs have disappeared.
In fact, sometimes during the actual hatch, the trout will be so full of stonefly adults that they may stop eating them aggressively. Also, stonefly nymphs are found on the stream bottom rocks in various stages of development and nymph patterns are typically fished successfully year-round on waters that have open regulations.
The higher than normal runoff this year will make fishing the stonefly hatch a bit difficult. With a little study and watching for the exact time that the runoff subsides, fly fishers may still have the opportunity to catch a trout or two on stonefly patterns.

THIS STORY APPEARS ON KSL.COM

Robert Williamson

4 tips for using stonefly hatches in local fly fishing

By Robert Williamson, KSL.com Contributor  |  Posted Jun 1st, 2017 @ 11:27am


1 photo
3

 
THE GREAT OUTDOORS — This time each year, fly angler’s ears perk up as stories of salmonflies (giant stoneflies) start to spew forth in Rocky Mountain fly shops.
Wide-eyed storytellers talk about the hatch (the emergence of aquatic insects) with enthusiasm, and often, half-truths, while listeners marvel at these stories hoping to glean the secret information and whereabouts to pursue their own salmonfly experiences.
Finding the giant stonefly (pteronarcys californica) to utilize in fly fishing is a hit-and-miss proposition because timing and conditions are everything. When the weather and runoff are good and the fly fisher is in the right place at the right time, epic experiences and stories are produced.
While most fly fishers look to the fabled waters and hatches like those found on the Henry’s Fork and South Fork of the Snake Rivers in Idaho and the Big Hole and Madison Rivers in Montana, Utah has a few rivers with stonefly hatches as well. These waters may not be as well known or produce the size of fish found in those other rivers, but they do provide fun fly fishing opportunities to use large stonefly imitations in both the nymph (an immature aquatic insect living on the stream bottom) and the adult imitation, which emerges from the river and crawls on streamside rocks and willows.

Where to find stonefly hatches in Utah

Large stoneflies are typically found hatching in the Blacksmith Fork near Hyrum, the south fork of the Ogden River above Huntsville and the Ogden River below Pineview Reservoir and the Provo River system below Jordanelle and Deer Creek reservoirs. Anglers who like even smaller waters can find hatches on East Canyon Creek near Morgan and the east fork of the Little Bear near Avon, Cache County.

When to look for stonefly hatches

Most anglers looking to fish a stonefly hatch in Idaho and Montana will find hatching insects from the middle of May into June and early July.
On Utah rivers and streams, the bugs will hatch anytime from early May in dry, hot years to late May and into June on wet, colder years.

Fly patterns

Numerous stonefly nymph and adult patterns have been created. When conditions are right and the trout are seeing and keying in on the natural insects, most fly imitations that capture the size, color and silhouette of the natural stonefly will produce good fishing.

The stonefly secret

Fly fishers either hate or love the stonefly hatch based on their experiences. A couple of secrets about the stonefly hatch that is often missed by many anglers is the fact that trout will still hit a stonefly pattern for weeks after the natural bugs have disappeared.
In fact, sometimes during the actual hatch, the trout will be so full of stonefly adults that they may stop eating them aggressively. Also, stonefly nymphs are found on the stream bottom rocks in various stages of development and nymph patterns are typically fished successfully year-round on waters that have open regulations.
The higher than normal runoff this year will make fishing the stonefly hatch a bit difficult. With a little study and watching for the exact time that the runoff subsides, fly fishers may still have the opportunity to catch a trout or two on stonefly patterns.

Monday, April 17, 2017

THIS ARTICLE FIRST APPEARED ON KSL.COM

The fly angler's secret for fishing small creeks and streams

Created By: Robert Williamson
Author:
 Robert Williamson
Web Tease: When the large rivers are flowing high and murky, don't overlook small streams and creeks to satisfy your desire to go fly fishing. While the location of these streams may be secret, the rewards of fishing them are well known!

THE GREAT OUTDOORS — Because Utah is a dry, desert state, most of our large rivers receive moderate to heavy fishing pressure, especially in the summer and fall months.
Guides and outfitters work these waters, along with groups of fly fishers who enjoy the social aspects of angling. This increase in pressure can make it difficult for some to find a stretch of water all their own. Fishing pressure will send some fly fishers in search of their own piece of heaven: usually a small creek or stream that is often overlooked.
Many fly fishers have a secret creek or stream they rarely, if ever, share with others. They may talk about it, but never tell the location or name of the water. Some will give this water a code name or use the generic "No Tellum" creek as they verbally share their fishing experiences. This creek or stream is the one they fish alone, the place they go for solitude, the place they keep secret because too much pressure can send the already skittish trout into hiding, and because frankly, there is not enough room for a lot of anglers.
However, before you head out into the mountains to find your new favorite spring to fish this spring, be sure to read the proclamation and know which tributaries close for cutthroat trout spawning. Some tributaries close until the second weekend in July.
A fly fisher who takes the time to go exploring can find some real jewels. The old cliche "beauty is in the eye of the beholder" certainly applies to the perception fly fishers have on the waters they fish.
Here are some of the benefits of finding your own secret fishing stream.

Quantity 
Many of Utah's small streams and creeks are teeming with trout. A fly angler who just wants to have a lot of fun catching fish will have a blast on small streams. A sneaky fly fisher with the skill to stalk and cast in tight brushy places should have no problem with numbers. It is possible to catch and release dozens of trout in a few hours on many of Utah's small streams. The trout in small streams are aggressive and opportunistic feeders and will hit most well-placed flies.
Quality
Some anglers measure quality in numbers, some measure quality in inches, while others measure quality in beauty. There are small creeks in Utah that have trout of decent size. While most trout will fall within the 6- to 12-inch range, it is possible to catch 14- to 19-inch trout in small waters. It is surprising to see a 19-inch trout come out of a deep undercut bank, a pooled bend, a beaver pond or from in front of a large rock on a small creek. But for those who fish these places regularly, it occurs often enough to provide real excitement.
The beauty of the surroundings and the colors of the trout are often the aesthetic aspects that prove the real draw of the smaller waters. The trout caught in the small waters are some of the prettiest trout around. They take on the coloring of the streams with rich dark backs, and depending on the species and age class, are splashed with blueish parr marks, white, yellow or crimson bellies, and spots of red, orange and black.
Solitude
If you are seeking solitude, small creeks are the ticket. To find a peaceful setting, one that you can have to yourself, look for creeks and streams that require a little hiking. Or seek waters that most people just overlook because of size, too much brush or that are remote.

Native Bonneville and other cutthroat trout
If you are seeking Utah's native Bonneville cutthroat, the Colorado cutthroat, Bear River cutthroat or Yellowstone cutthroat, you can find them in creeks and streams around the state. The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources and Trout Unlimited have partnered to create the Cutthroat Slam Program where anglers can register to catch the above-mentioned trout and qualify for recognition. The fees collected go toward preservation and habitat improvement.
Stream flow
Most small streams and creeks are not controlled by dams. This means the spring runoff will blow out quickly and you can fish when larger waters, especially those below reservoirs, will still be too high to approach or too murky to fish adequately. Monitor the runoff and hit a small stream or creek just after flows drop — the fishing is fabulous and so fun!
On years of heavy runoff, searching for, exploring and fishing small creeks and streams will satisfy the craving to get outdoors and an occasional large trout or two is an added bonus. 

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Autumn Trout

 With a feeling of early winter in the air, there is a need to get out on good fall days. Unsettled weather and other obligations just seemed to be getting in the way. We decided that on Friday September 30, 2016 we would make a trip even if the weather was just a little unsettled. We ate an early breakfast and then drove to a beautiful little river in Idaho. On the drive we kept our eyes on the larger cumulus clouds, some which had that dark grayness on the bottom. If they accumulated and bunched up against the mountains, we knew there was a chance of isolated thunderstorms right over us. As we neared the town where we would buy our licenses, the clouds had moved on and more blue sky was appearing.

After securing our licenses, we drove through the foothills toward the canyon. The road through the foothills was dotted with older homes and a few newer ones. The small community would be a nice place to live--quiet, with little traffic. We guessed that most of the residents were farmers and ranchers. Some of the homes might be summer homes owned by those who want a semi-secluded get-a-way--a place where they could come to relax and maybe do some hunting and fishing. Some homes might have been inherited by children or grandchildren of the original residents.


 It wasn't long before we were on the dirt road that paralleled the river. We glanced at the water with excitement. It looked so inviting. We found a turnout and hurriedly put on our waders and then rigged up our rods. As we walked down river looking for a good place to enter the water, we commented on how it seemed so perfect. The only other thing that would add to our already giddy demeanor would be for the trout to cooperate. We found a small clearing and walked through fall leaves and dry grasses. Upon entering the water I could sense through my waders that it was cold; just the kind of water that cutthroat trout like to live in. It was so clear. The bottom rocks matched the autumn leaves. My favorite color is yellow. I see it in the autumn aspen leaves and in the water-covered rocks of the creeks, streams, and rivers I fish. I also see it in the trout I catch. Just a tinge in cutthroat trout but more pronounced in the cutthroat that hide in shaded water and dark undercut banks. It is also pronounced on the sides and bellies of stream bred brown trout; rich and buttery during the Fall.

We started the day with hopper patterns. These were tied with tan heat shrink air-filled bodies, light elk hair wings, tan foam heads and brown rubber legs. We always add just a little floatant in the wing to keep them buoyant. After a few trout we seldom redress the wing and let the fly sit down in the surface a little.





Wednesday, April 20, 2016

SILHOUETTE SERIES AIRBUGS

Brown stoneflies
Two brown and one gray stonefly adults
Top and bottom view Silhouette Airbugs
Brown trout


The Silhouette Series of Airbugs is a "new" way to use  O2 Body Material. I have been tying large dry flies with O2 for the past 18 years. The tying technique creates two air-filled chambers that form the body of the fly and creates a nice silhouette. The air-filled body along with the elk hair wing and foam head makes for a great floating fly.

If you want to imitate some of the large stonefly adults such as the salmonfly and golden stone this is a great material and tying style to do it. By using orange, brown, black, and gold colored O2 a tier can create some great looks to imitate the stoneflies.

This technique and material also lends itself to the creation of beautiful cicada, hopper, and beetle patterns. Hoppers are best tied in the tan and pale yellow color, cicada with black or orange, and beetles with black, green, or even purple. With a little crystal flash or similar material mixed in with the wing the cicada pattern looks and works great. The body, foam head, and leg colors can be changed to create several fun patterns.

Last year I used the hopper for most of my late summer and fall dry fly fishing and had a blast. 

Monday, June 22, 2015

Under Construction

I'm going to start selling the material for the air-filled flies I have created and eventually the flies themselves. The site is still in the works, but thought I'd give a sneak peek.

http://rwilliamson4.wix.com/airbugs


Thursday, November 6, 2014