Friday, July 10, 2015

Apocalyptic Black Quill Flymph

     Some things are ever changing, while others remain, seeming always constant.

There is that which abides longer, though, in truth, all passes eventually. All.

Meantime, planet enfolding carbon particulate matter takes its toll on the Pacific Northwest, which went from a dry winter, skipping spring, moving straight into a summer of blazing, hubcap-bright 100-degree-plus days. The trout lakes of my region, usually fishing fairly well at the beginning of July, are as warm as bathwater, the heat-stressed trout trying to hold on, close-mouthed, a mystery at the deepest depths. Fish & Wildlife has already closed some of the popular summer steelhead & salmon streams, & there will be more closures, certainly. And if we don’t get the miracle of rain during July & August, normally our driest months, there is a chance that all the rivers will be closed by fall.

Barely into July, there are over a hundred fires burning in Washington State. Two hundred in British Columbia.  There is no escaping the smoke – the pink tinged light hinting of fire. Passing clouds emit no moisture, only lightning.

Wonkiest year I can remember – it’s like flyfishing on the verge of apocalypse.

Due to unusually high surface temperatures, the river’s black quill (leptophlebia) mayfly hatches, normally prolific through late-afternoon & evening, & all day on overcast days in this season, have boiled down to a short burst in the evening, right up against dark. Though compressed, the big mayflies & rising trout are a reassuring constant, a reminder of what should be. And there are some nice fish up & hunting for black quills in the near dark, taking both emergers & duns. I prefer the dry, but when it gets too dark to follow its drift I switch to the emerger, of which trout are more forgiving. I fish it drifted, swung & stripped, moving, on a tight line so that I might keep contact with it in the dark.

Black Quill Flymph

Hook: #12 TMC 200R (or standard #8)

Thread: rusty brown

Tailing: 3 or 4 pheasant tail swords

Ribbing: yellow floss, doubled & twisted, wound over the abdomen section

Abdomen: chestnut-brown rabbit (2/3) mixed with dyed red rabbit (1/3)

Thorax: black rabbit

Hackle: furnace hen – 3 turns wound over the thorax area ~ & finish.       


  1. Sodden here in my part of the world - SE Michigan. Had to buy a new tent to deal with the nead. I've been "getting by" for a long time but not this year. New marmot on the way.

    I'll retire the old 4-man for backyard and grand cubs. It cannot take 12 hour soaks and I'm tired of rigging tarps. I'm getting to old to put up with tarping the tent, the camp kitchen, the tent pad (fold it in carefully or it becomes a bathtub puddle). I'm hoping the new tent will do the job.

    Excited. My favorite season now after July 4. Time for terrestrials and angry angry brookies.

  2. I type like a drunken chimp on this ipad. Apologies. The auto-correct hates me.

    1. Spike, it's too much or nothing this year. Crazy. Nevertheless, congrats on the new tent. Old one in the yard for the kids is a good idea. Watch them around the new one. We always have a couple set up as accomodations for clients at the fish camp, & last year we bought a new one, set it up, & the grandkids came over & I let them stay in it, & one of them had a BB gun (that was only to be used with adult supervision), &, somehow, two BB holes were shot through the roof & rainfly, right over the bed (a client later found out while napping during a rain shower).

      All machines hate us.

      We lift the amber to good tents & fine brookies.