Lenice "Mays"

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by Al, Apr 9, 2002.

  1. Al New Member

    Posts: 50
    Ellensburg, Wa, Kittitas.
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    Was at Lenice this afternoon and a Mayfly hatch came off at about 1:30 p.m. that was much like Chopaka. Was amazing and the fish thought so also. They were aggressively rolling and jumping out of the water after the Mayflies as they skittered across the water.

    If we had some dry flies, or even thought it would work, it would have been the thing to try. As it turned out, I landed 8 nice ones on a olive green damsel and one on a Chronimid. And, lost a bunch of others. All were 19-21'". There were very few Chronomids coming off today, but they will with a sunny day.

    The water is getting a little warmer and the fish more active so good times are acoming!

    Al :pROFESSOR
  2. Scott Salzer previously micro brew

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    We saw a few mays on Nunnally over the weekend but the fish were not keying on them, just taking the occasionally. We did get a few fish on an adams and and emerger pattern. We hit the may hatch last year about this time and it was amazing. What were you doing out there without dries????
  3. Preston Active Member

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    That's what I've been waiting for. I was there last Friday and only saw two Callibaetis all day. Guess I'm gonna have to haul back over the mountain again this week.
  4. ray helaers New Member

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    If you don't have any dries during a lake mayfly hatch, a good tactic is to fish an unweighted hares ear, pheasant tail, or other more specific callibaetis nymph (Jensen's is a good one, and I have two if anyone's interested) on a long leader and floating line, in the top foot or so of the water column. Grease the leader about half way, cast into an area of activity, let the fly sink a bit, and retrieve with a VERY SLOW hand twist (go as slowly as you can stand it, then slow down a little), so the fly moves smoothly and steadily.

    Actually, this is a good tactic even if you have some dries with you. Trout can get pretty snotty during a good calibaetis hatch, especially if its a sunny, glassy afternoon, and refusal after refusal in the middle of all those rises can be pretty humbling. The moving nymph seems to force a decision out of the trout, the underwater leader doesn't offend the fish as much , and you cover a little more territory with less casting, so you're less likely to move fish away from you.

    I've never tried it, but I don't think trolling the nymph would work. First, I don't think you could troll slowly enough, and second, you'd likely just spook the risers.
  5. Preston Active Member

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    I've found emerger patterns, like the Chopaka Emerger or a Quigley Cripple tied in Callibaetis colors, are almost always more effective than patterns that imitate the dun. The fish rarely refuse them and slurp them down avidly right through the hatch.
  6. ray helaers New Member

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    Yeah, I've found emergers to probably be the most effective too (I use a pretty simple CDC-winged/zelon-shucked emerger in grey/olive). Though I actually have had pretty good success from time to time on parachute and "thorax" duns. But I have made the nymph work when I was pressed for flies, or when something about my fishing seemed to be turning the trout away from my emerger or dry.
  7. Preston Active Member

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    I went back to Lenice yesterday (April 12). The Callibaetis hatch was still sort of sporadic though it went on for most of the day with occasional peaks; 10:30, 3:00 and about 4:30. There still don't seem to be large enough numbers coming off to get the fish looking up big-time. During the lulls there were always a few fish sipping midges and I took my (oddly enough) first-ever Lenice brown on a black, thread-body, size 20, trailing shuck parachute midge emerger.
  8. ray helaers New Member

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    I'm interested to know what size mayflies you're seeing. Back in the day when I used to fish chopaka every year, I tried to make a rather close study of callibaetis. I think of the callibaetis as a May/June hatch, but it is an interesting bug, with usually two and sometimes three broods per year in most of its habitats. So usually most lakes will have a late spring hatch, and then a summer hatch that most people don't see because most of us are ingnoring the lakes during the summer. The lakes that have three broods will have an early spring hatch (I know Lenore has one, and apparently so does Lenice).

    Here's the interesting part. Each brood tends to get successively smaller. The late spring hatch tends to be a size 16, and the summer hatch (which can bleed into Sept on some lakes), will tend to be an 18. The early spring hatch (where it happens) can be pretty big, usually a 12 and sometimes an honest 10. The April flies on Lenore are so big they confused me the first time I saw them.

    I've never actually seen callibaetis on Lenice, but I've fished good rises to them on Merry in May and June, the classic 16s. So I'm interested if Lenice is a three-brood lake, which would seem likely, but I was just wondering what size the flies were.
  9. Preston Active Member

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    I would say that the Callibaetis we were seeing were about 14's. At least that's the size we were fishing. That's the size I usually start the season out with at Chopaka (I've always felt that a smaller size than the natural was better than larger). I have the impression that these are lighter; more gray than the Chopaka Callibaetis which have always appeared quite brown to me. Anyhow, the fish didn't seem to find my choice of colors or sizes objectionable.
  10. Al New Member

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    Ellensburg, Wa, Kittitas.
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    What we were seeing were about size 14 and one of you was right - they were quite gray in the wings. My partner and I watched ( we weren't doing much catching) as a small group of Mayflies skittered across the water near the cattails. The fish in this one particular area got every one before they flew. I am going back on Monday and will be ready this time with some dries!

    Al :pROFESSOR
  11. fishnfella New Member

    Posts: 148
    Grand Coulee, Washington, USA.
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    Fish till ya drop.
    Then suck it up
    and fish the evening hatch.

    I've found that when the mayfly hatches are sporadic at the early stages of the hatch, the fish will be much more eager to take a Nymph sunk over weedtop under an indicator. I fish a Calabaetis nymph with gold beadhead,body and wingcase of wrapped Oak Turkey(mottled white,tan and grey),thorax of peacock herl,and a tail of guinee hen body feather fibres. Deadly.
    For some reason,probably my sloppy presentations, I do poorly on the duns too. But wait for days not far off when the spinners hit the water. The fish take these with reckless abandon just cast out and left...they will find them.
  12. dryfly New Member

    Posts: 59
    Seattle, WA, King.
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    I was thinking of hitting Nunnally this Saturday if I can force myself out of bed at o-dark-thirty. Maybe the warmer (predicted) temps will get the mays going around 1 to 2pm (?)

    Although I haven't hit this great chain of lakes yet this year, I do recall some of the best dryfly action on Nuannaly / Lenice last year in April / May with the Quigley pattern. Size #14 and even at times #12. I think the way in which they ride in/on the water is key.
    The design lends itself nicely - the ostrich sinks tail end down and the elk (or is it deer??) with a tad of floatant keep it "hatching".
    I'd say a second to the Quigley would be the sparkle dun, as they seem more durable than the parachute may patterns after a few catch and releases.

    But I just can't wait for the BEST dry action of all - blue damsels on the wing come June :)) Sigh casting among the shallow weedbeds - the BEST!

    Brad
  13. Ron Olsen Member

    Posts: 236
    Kirkland, WA.
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    Ronbow

    Was at Nunnally Wednesday. Strong early chironomid hatch, fell off at 10 am. Slow until the calibatis began to pop about 1 pm. Like being in the middle of a sailing regatta. Duns, size 12 everywhere. Fish went wild, porpoising all over. Fished a soft hackle calibatis nymph on a dry line over weed beds in 8 to 10 feet depth. Take on every cast. Then it started to snow, followed by hail, heavy rain and wind. Ah, Spring in Eastern Washington. Fishing slowed when the storm hit, and hatch lasted about an hour and a half. After did best with green chironomid in high traffic areas, ledges, points etc. Well worth the trip. :BIGSMILE
  14. ray helaers New Member

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    Do you mind saying what end of the lake you found the mayflies?
  15. Ron Olsen Member

    Posts: 236
    Kirkland, WA.
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    Ronbow

    Middle of the lake, north side, on the flat, 150 to 300 feet offshore. With the way the wind was blowing, never ventured to either end for fear of getting stuck. Got one of those "lowrider" u-boats that I really need to upgrade to pontoon craft or Power Pac/Abel type raft. Really wish I could demo/rent a few to try before buy! Any suggestions out there?

    Tight lines
  16. Greg Moore New Member

    Posts: 315
    Ellicott City (Baltimore), Md.
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Just got back from Lenice. Fished from about 2:00 p.m. until 6:30 p.m. There were about 20 others on the lake. The calibeatis hatch was coming off and lasted until about 3:15 p.m. Nice day, no wind, maybe a little too sunny, 62-64 degrees, water wasn't too cold (forgot my thermometer). All in all not too bad.

    Second cast lost a really nice fish (broke off the fly). Lost my next fish the same way as well, after about a ten minute battle, and 4 tail walks. I did manage to keep the fish on long enough to get it close to my float tube (well within a rod's length). It looked to have been in the 20" range. Then I realized that I had 6 x tippet on my leader and these fish were much to heavy for that. Re-tied on some 4 x and landed my next fish (18 - 20" rainbow). All three fish hit a dry fly (a size 16 adams).

    After the hatch slowed down, switched to a bead head nymph under a strike indicator. The wind came up some and the wave action made it a little difficult to tell if a fish was taking the fly or the wave was causing the strike indicator to move. I lost 3 -4 other fish because I didn't even feel the fish take the fly. Caught one and landed it but only because I was bringing the line up to cast and hooked the fish as I lifted the line. They were really taking the flys softly. Switched back to a dry and fished that way for the last two hours.

    Final count, hooked 8 fish, landed 2. Not my best day but I since I fished most of the day with drys and the fish aren't keying in on the surface big time yet, not too bad!

    I would rather catch fewer fish but catch those on drys then by using any other type of fly!

    Nunnally and Merry had about 15 -20 cars in their lots, so all three lakes probably had about the same number of fishermen (women?).

    If the weather stays about the same and no more wind than we had, I plan on going back up Monday or Tuesday next week.

    If you can get up there, do it! :THUMBSUP


    Greg
  17. Al New Member

    Posts: 50
    Ellensburg, Wa, Kittitas.
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    Went to Merry today. It was very nice with a light breeze part of the time and warm sunshine. The fish were really after Callibaetis in the mid-afternoon. They were taking Chronomids and green nymphs with vengence.

    There were 18-20 tubers on Merry and all seemed to get some action. I landed 2, broke off 3 and had a ton of takes!

    Al :pROFESSOR
  18. dryfly New Member

    Posts: 59
    Seattle, WA, King.
    Ratings: +1 / 0
    Lenice

    Went to Nunnally for Sat. 20th. for daytrip. Left Kirkland around 5am, on the water ~ 9ish. Sun sun and NO WIND:)

    Slow start. Didn't see anyone else getting anything either. Looks like most were doing chronos / floating line / indicators etc. I trolled (draged) a black leach around. I did notice a few (counted only 3) damsel nymphs wiggling up to my tube, but they were very small - size 16 or so. humm.. everything in my box-o-damsels that day was too big (leftovers from last June).

    Finally, at the magic 12:30 > 2pm "window"!
    Callibaetis by the hoards. By this time I was down on the east / SE end along the cattails about 15 - 20 yds out. Surface feeding the tons of mayflies was a blast. Had first one breakoff (on 5x) so up'd to 4x.

    This is the interesting thing. They are very large Callibaetis this time of year - I swear some of the naturals looked like a size #10/12.
    If only they made a size #11 hook;) I usually do good with emerger / Quigley pattern, but they were not keying on them today - not a one on those. Switched to parachute may #12(similar to a para Adams, but I use lt. grey Antron for the wingpost and tan dubbed body, same hackle mix). Landed 3 nice 18"-20" bows. Unfortunately, I was a tad lazy Friday after work and didn't tie up many #12's. I had some 16's and 14's, but they were not taking fish...Though not scientific proof,
    I'd have to believe that they are more interested to the proper size than so much the coloration.

    All in all a great day, great dry action in afternoon, sunshine, and no infamous Nunnally windstorms and whitecaps (well, until I left at 4ish when it started to get a little blustery).

    Next time I'll be better prepared for those large mays. Remember folks, bring lots (a dozen or more) of #12s.
  19. Greg Moore New Member

    Posts: 315
    Ellicott City (Baltimore), Md.
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Lenice

    My fishing partner and I hit Lenice yesterday (Wednesday). There were very few cars in any of the parking areas (compared to last Friday). Very bright sunny day, very little wind but the water was definitely colder. The calebeatis hatch was quite a bit smaller than last Friday as well. The fish were not keying in on the surface at all. Occasionally we'd see a riser but most fish were taking emergers.

    The fly of choice once again seemed to be chronomids, black ones. My buddy caught / hooked at least 18 fish and landed, by my count 13. I was a little slower to go to chronomids and go deep (I still prefer drys!) so I hooked 7 and landed 4. They all were in the 18-20" range. Good fighters and lots of aerials.

    We fished from 1:00 until about 6:30. I did see some damsels too!

    We're headed to Montana (Hamilton and the BitterRoot) on Monday for 4 days. I'll give a report when we get back.


    Greg :THUMBSUP
  20. Pontooner Member

    Posts: 134
    Puyallup, WA
    Ratings: +3 / 0
    Lenice

    I fished Lenice Sunday the 21st from 9am until about 3pm. I rowed my trusty bronco over towards the islands. A light breeze was blowing, mostly sunny skies, couldnt see any fish rising from the boat launch. Once I got over to the island area I saw lots of fish jumping and gulping what appeared to be adult mays off the surface. I quickly grabbed my Loomis lined with cortland camo line and a soft hackle. I casted at the risers for about 15 minutes without a hit so I figued it was time to try a dry. First cast with a cripple brought a hard smash, fish on! I thought wow my first cast with a dry, gonna be a great day. Well semi great. Got one more hit a half hour later with the dry and the hatch stopped. I didnt think this hatch began until around 1:00 or so. Fish quit all action on the top so I went to the chironmid style and ended up landing 8 fish for the day, lost several others. Fish seemed to like size 12 Green chirony the best. All rainbows 17-20 inches.

    No afternoon mayfly hatch, is the morning hatch common?