Friday, July 11, 2014

Summer Heat and a Full Buck Moon

Your Olympic Peninsula fly fishing guide.
Catch & release, fly fishing only!

The Full Buck Moon

Dory by moonlight.
  The Full Buck Moon falls on Saturday the 12th of July this year. The summer solstice just turned a few weeks ago, and with it we are seeing some seriously warm weather now. This is in line with the weather predictions that forecast an unusually warm Pacific northwest summer. Just about everything around here is in a clamorous, screaming full bloom. And the black-tailed deer bucks are indeed "in velvet" as their antlers are growing fast.  Here's one fine example, whom we see in the neighbor's yard sometimes, usually with his harem. Taken from about 40 feet away. He's in rut in this picture, evidenced by his enlarged neck and clean, mature antler tines. So this is an autumn picture.

Black-tailed deer Buck.

Summer heat and a full moon tide. 

   This Saturday's full moon is also called a "Super Moon" because the moon is in perigee- the closest it will be to the earth during this lunar cycle. This will also create very deep and strong tidal flows. We will see an overall flood tide, sustained over nearly nine hours, of 11 feet or more here. When it is this hot and sunny these big tides provide some much needed cooling waters to the warmer shallows. Once the water gets to the mid 60 degree range, and it becomes less oxygenated, we really should not be fishing for trout then. The heat stress alone is too hard on them. So we need to be careful when fishing this time of year. A thermometer can be handy. But we can expect that slower moving waters, back eddies and flats or shallows, tidal lagoons and mud flat areas, will be significantly warming under the hot sun. And it is also true that sun baked gravel and sand beaches will gain heat once exposed, and that flooding tide waters will warm up as they pass across these surfaces for many hours. Two things that will really slow down and even stop trout from feeding- water that is too cold, or water that is too warm and low in oxygen. We can easily avoid the warmer water by being aware of local conditions, and by fishing in the fresh cold flows of the flooding tide. The larger and more exposed, open points of land will be best for salmon fishing now. That's where most of the active forage species, and feeding fish, are going to be anyway. Including sea run Cutthroat. And wearing a good sun hat, sun shirt and polarized sunglasses and sunscreen are mandatory!

Think Deep! The ubiquitous Bait Fish Clouser.

   Think Deep! No matter where you fish now, you need to be in the colder water. And sometimes this means fishing deeper. You needn't be dogmatic about this though, as each situation presents different conditions, flows etc. And by fishing deeper, we may mean this by only a few feet of difference sometimes. You might opt for using your floating line and a nine foot leader, slowing down your swing or drift to get deeper. or you may use a sinking line or sink-tip, a heavily weighted fly, and really dredge. One of the more popular lines for this is the clear intermediate sinking line. And some people will use a sinking "Poly" leader, in conjunction with this line, (or even with just a dry line). One limitation to using sinking line systems might be that during these deeper tidal exchanges, around the time of the new and and full moon, the stronger flood tide currents will lift a lot of weedy materials up off of the beaches, especially if there is any wind and wave action involved. So a sinking head or line, and your leader, can become festooned with all manner of vegetation on every swing at times. We can avoid some of this by using a floating line and a surface fly, like a Miyawaki Beach Popper or a big fluffy greased Muddler, or a surface bait fish pattern, etc. Contradiction? Not really. In a day of fishing you could be using several different approaches, with a variety of deeper presentations, or beneath the surface presentations, and even surface skating etc. The tides create a dynamic situation that is constantly evolving, minute to minute. Part of the intrigue to this fishing is in the riddling out of it all. One tip for you to survive all of this hot weather right now- go fishing very early in the morning for a few hours, then take a siesta break for the hottest part of the day, and then go back for a few hours before sunset. 

Disclaimer: With this heat and bright sun, I don't have much to say about summer steelhead and trout fishing in the Olympic Peninsula rivers right now. It 's not impossible, but the pickings can be slim in these conditions. That will be a dawn and dusk game for now. Even though it is early in the season, I am so excited about summer and fall Cutthroat and Coho fishing on the beaches that I wont think about the rivers until the October caddis flies begin to hatch out on the Sol Duc in late September. 

To learn more about Puget Sound and Olympic Peninsula region sea-run Coastal Cutthroat trout fly fishing, call or write for details. 

Olympic Peninsula Fly Fishing Guide and Instructor

  I am guiding fly fishers on the Olympic Peninsula beaches, rivers and streams. We walk and wade, fly fishing for sea-run Coastal Cutthroat trout in freshwater and saltwater, and in the rivers for trout and summer steelhead. This is strictly catch and release, traditional fly fishing only. Lunch, snacks, soft beverages, and use of some equipment is included. Personalized and private fly fishing and fly casting instruction, and guided trips are available, to beginners through expert anglers. Public presentations, Naturalist guide for Rowboat Picnics and Tide Pool day trips. Please call, write or email for booking details.

Bob Triggs
Little Stone Flyfisher
P.O. Box 261
Port Townsend, WA

Licensed Washington State Guide 
Certified Fly Casting Instructor
Trout Unlimited Aquatic Educator Award
U.S.C.G First Aid/CPR/BLS/AED/BBP/HIV Certified

Phone: 360-385-9618

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