It’s that time of the year again where yard chores keep piling up and even with the longer days it’s still a job just to keep up.
The yard needs mowed, the garden needs tending too, flower beds need weeded, food plots need brush hogged, and the list goes on. It’s also the best time of the year to fish so I’ve been staying busy. Last week I spent my evenings catching up on all of the yard work so I could hit the river for some quality family time over the weekend. I’m glad I did because the river never disappoints during the first week of June. With our bags packed and gear loaded we drove to the cabin where I had a couple of more chores to take care of before finally making our way to the peaceful rolling river. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t have the urge to fish during the month of June. It also drives me to get those dreaded chores taken care of on the days I can’t make it there. Of course I’m thinking about and wondering what’s going on while I’m missing out riding around on a tractor or lawnmower. I have a fishing addiction and I’m not afraid to admit it. The excitement was running high as we pulled in and suited up. With only a couple of hours of daylight left we found a spot where no one else was fishing and waited for the mayflies to start hatching. The river comes alive when the sulphur mayfly duns start hatching and then the spent ones fall to the water’s surface right at dark. I’ve found that we have a 2 to 3 hour window to fish when Kelsey comes along so the timing was perfect for the best fishing. Kelsey likes to look for rocks and play in the sand like any typical 5 year old. I’ve taught her how to spot the rising fish and point them out. Her main job right now is net girl and she’ll drop what she’s doing once one of us gets a fish on. We’re still working on her casting and I let her fish when she asks. I know it’s best not to push the issue as I want her to have fun. About an hour went by before I noticed the first riser. Then there was another followed by another so I knew it was time to fish. I saw the sulphurs fluttering up and down and tied one on. It didn’t take long before the first rainbow was hooked and then netted by our net girl. Tara was above me and she missed one right after that. Kelsey was standing right beside her watching intently as there were several fish rising by then. A few casts later, Tara missed another one. Kelsey informed her that she kept missing them which I thought was funny. I probably shouldn’t have laughed because I went on a fish missing spell afterwards. Tara managed to hook and land a small but feisty bow. Right at dark I hooked into an 18 inch rainbow as darkness set in. Kelsey had fun netting that one and then walking out in the dark with a headlamp. The next day we relaxed and tied some flies at the cabin. Kelsey tied her best looking one and was eager to try it out that evening. We rolled into the river at the same time as the night before but decided to fish a different hole. Kelsey really liked this particular spot because it had a big flat limestone rock that she could walk around barefoot on. We tied her fly on and she gave it a few drifts through the current but didn’t have any takers. It actually floated well and looked good on the water. It was still a little early and the mayflies hadn’t started hatching so it was a good time to practice. As the evening wore on just like clockwork the sulphur duns started hatching. The fish started rising but they were being picky at first. It took me a little bit to realize that the fish were keyed into 2 hook sizes smaller than the night before. It’s amazing how wild trout will key into a specific size and color. If your fly is one hook size off they’ll come right up to your fly then throw their nose in the air and go back down. After several refusals I finally tied on the right size and hooked up with one of the picky rainbows. Tara followed with another one after that. Daylight was fading fast and I started casting faster as the fish were literally porpoising on the top. There was a conveyor belt of spent mayflies coming down the river and the trout were engorging themselves on them. Mayflies hatch as adults and only live for 24 hours. Their main purpose is to mate and then they die. Adult duns don’t even have mouthparts as they don’t feed during these 24 hours. The mayflies that hatch the day before will mate and then fall to the water’s surface as spent corpses, or spinners as we fly fisherman call them. Fishing a spinner fall never gets old as it’s the best time to catch big fish on dry flies. There was one rainbow in particular that I kept casting to but he just wouldn’t take. He was being extra picky. He was one of the bigger fish rising and the reason why I was keyed in on him. Finally right at dark I tied a small sulphur spinner on and he couldn’t resist. After a short but tense battle I worked the fish in to my net girl. Kelsey said “what a beautiful fish” as we admired the blood red stripe down its side. I agreed and sent the rainbow on its way. It measured right at 18 inches and was a good one to end on. Kelsey informed us that she had a great day and really liked that hole. That made me smile as we walked back to the vehicle. Overall, it was a great weekend and I can’t wait to do it again. I’ll be thinking about it until then. Get out and enjoy your favorite river, pond, or lake as the fish are biting. Next weekend would be the perfect time as June 10 & 11 are free fishing days in West Virginia.