Monday, June 21, 2010

Sulphur Spinners

The sulphur spinner fall can be epic... the only problem is the time of day at which the bugs dance, die, and get eaten.  For most of this summer the sulphurs hatch, swarm, and fall just before dark.  This gives the angler a window of approximately 15 minutes to an hour depending on a few key factors in his/hers approach to the scenario.

Female Sulphur Spinner (backlit)

Here are a few tips for low light spinner action that will increase your success, and decrease your stress.  

1)  Preparation:  As the day winds down and the sun is getting low, start to prepare for the upcoming madness.  Get a headlamp ready, make sure the batteries work and pop it on your head!  You will need this if you accidentally break off and have to retie.  Also make sure your floatant is somewhere handy, and your tippet and leader are fresh.  You do not want to be messing with any of these things while fish are boiling around your feet!

Male Sulphur Spinner

2)  Position:  Find someplace with flat water close to riffles.  Fishing water with a little chop can be much easier than flat water during the day, as your imitation can look better, and the trout need to make a faster choice to eat.  However, when fishing in low light, flat water can be just the edge you need to see your fly and stay on the water for that extra hour.  The best position I like to get into during a spinner fall is a flat section directly below a tailout of a riffle, as the sulphurs will swarm and fall around the riffles and once they hit the water they will quickly get washed down to the flats.  The farther you are from the riffles the less time you will have to catch fish.  

Spinner Swarm

3) Fly Selection:  Here is where making the right choice can make or break your night.  Choose your spinner pattern considering these factors... a) Does it float well, and will it be easily spotted in low light.  b)  Can you catch numerous fish with the fly and it will not get destroyed or begin to sink.  c)  Is it the right size and shape.   If you can tie a fly with these three factors you will have an epic night of low light spinner action!  

Until next time...

Fishing a low light spinner fall can be one of the most rewarding events of the dry fly season.  It can also be one of the most frustrating.  Already this year I have had both kinds of nights, which has led me to writing this post.  There are many factors out there that will help you in your quest for spinner action, learn from the problems you encounter, and apply your new knowledge the next trip out!