Amidst the heat, the August Blizzard arrives

The Hous is low (175cfs in Falls Village) and getting dangerously warm. I’ve recently taken readings over 80 degrees in the late afternoon; 78 degrees is the threshold where smallmouth begin to stress, so if you must fish, pre-dawn to a few hours after sunrise is best, with evening/night the second choice. You should carry a thermometer and use good judgement. (The bite stinks in full sun, anyway, so you’re not missing much.)

Overall, the fishing continues to be generally poor, with the bass in numbers so small (compared to, say, 2016) it’s hard to realize it’s the same river. The fish are scattered in isolated pockets, so if you do find a bronze crew, please don’t fish it (literally) to death. I’ve been doing best with low, slow presentations and smaller (about 2″) jig hook/bead head mini-streamers in rusty crayfish colors.

The white fly hatch has started and in some areas is already winding down. I have experienced two hatches this summer that were an easy 10 out of 10, with so many flies whizzing upstream that leaving the river without eating/breathing in/wearing them was next to impossible — and spinner falls so heavy it looked like the surface of the river was paved with spent white carcasses. Ironically, these mega hatches don’t offer the best fishing; there’s so much protein in the water that it’s hard to get your fly noticed.

For now, I’m giving the bass and the river a break. I encourage you to do likewise.

This is what I’m talking about. Madness!
I’ve found the August White, swung on a team of two, to be its usual wonderful self. I use it during the emergence and the spinner fall. One night I had to cut one fly off after my second double. Wet fly hook size 8-10, white hackle fibers for the tail, white silk or thread for the body, white hen cape soft hackle.

3 comments on “Amidst the heat, the August Blizzard arrives

  1. John Pavao says:

    Thanks for your report-
    I fished it Sunday night (7/31). I met with another guy who told me thursday(728) and Friday(7/29) were great but Saturday(7/30) was a weak hatch. I had the same experience on Sunday night.
    Here is my report-
    Got on the water a 7:30 and waited for the hatch to start which happened at 8 and got cranking at 8:30
    Not a blizzard but enough to wake up the smallies. Took around 10 or so in the half hour of daylight/twilight I had. See a rise, make a cast and a hit or miss. At the end of the session, my fly was pretty chewed up so it must have been eaten a few times.
    The bass have moved to the deepest pools. The water as you mentioned is quite warm and the fish are seeking cooler temps. I fished Monday (8/1) morning and found my fish in a deep pool.The fish were right on the bottom.
    Thanks for your report.

    • Steve Culton says:

      It’s been a very disappointing summer season. Some runs where just a few years ago I’d catch multiple dozens — and some slabs at dusk — have been barren, infertile wastelands. I’m walking a way for a while until this heat breaks.

  2. […] #10: The Summer Blizzard in August. This was a monumentally disappointing year for smallmouth bass. The numbers and size just weren’t there, and the drop has been so precipitous, I remain alarmed. But there were a few bright moments, and I can tell you this: the white fly population is in tremendous shape. White flies are a remarkable hatch, as it really doesn’t get going until you can no longer see your fly. But fishing under the hatch at dusk can mean the bass-o-matic, and once night falls, seeing your fly becomes irrelevant. Be advised: white flies will find every opening on your face, so keep your mouth closed. White flies taste really, really bad. Read more. […]

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