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Discussing fishing flies, trout flies, salmon flies, fly fishing gear and equipment, Idaho and Montana fishing rivers, NW rivers, fly tying and fly fishing trips. Over 50 years experience in fly fishing, best flies, fly tying, fly fishing techniques, fish stories, directions to rivers and lakes and great fly fishing tall tales with special communications from area guides.

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Friday, April 21, 2017

Spring Gerrards

Fly fishing with an Idaho Fly Fishers Association friend and member yesterday, We hooked two really good fish. One flipped off at the surface and I would guess (I could see it - no fishing tale) would measure out at 24”. Considering the time of year and where we were fishing in Idaho, this was probably a Gerrard rainbow.



There was a prolific hatch of small dark stoneflies that were in 16-18 size and quite long and skinny. It was a bright and sunny and warm (55 degrees) afternoon. So I did some research and found the following courtesy of Troutnut.com site editor Entoman northern CA& ID:

“Regarding the small dark stoneflies of Winter & early Spring, we all hear these common names thrown about a lot:

Little Winter Black Stone
Little Winter Brown Stone
Tiny Black Snowfly
Tiny Brown Snowfly
Little Black Needlefly
Little Brown Needlefly
Early Brown Stone
Early Black Stone
Eastern Willowfly

These are the families and their important genera that are associated with the common names above:

Capniidae (Capnia and Allocapnia)
Leuctridae (Leuctra)
Nemouridae (Nemoura and Zapada)
Taeniopterygidae (Doddsia, Strophopteryx, Taenionema and Taeniopteryx)
Which go with which?

I figured this would be a good topic to chew on this time of year.”


My guess is this was a Gerrard-strain (Kamloop) Rainbow. These “Lake Trout” creep up into the small streams draining into Lake Pend Oreille, Idaho to spawn in the spring. Check this out from Game & Fish:
“The species is famous for its success as a predator, surviving year after year over a lengthy lifespan, feasting on kokanee, growing to incredibly immense proportions by trout standards. But it’s not just their propensity to grow huge that makes Kamloops so popular with anglers. It’s their endurance and dogged fighting capabilities that stamp an indelible impression on anglers who tangle with them.
The Gerrard strain of rainbow was transplanted from Kootenay Lake into Lake Pend Oreille (pronounced “pond uh-ray”) in Idaho in the 1940s. Supplemental stocking took place in the mid-1980s, too. Here these trout prospered in the azure waters of a forbiddingly deep lake, just as they did in the lake of their origin, gorging themselves fat on a fabulously rich diet of kokanee and baby lake trout and bull trout and anything else that swims that’s smaller than they are.
 
The result is a rainbow trout that averages 3 to 8 pounds in size, with double-digit fish refreshingly frequent, and fish in the low- to mid-20-pound ranges a real possibility almost every day on the lake. The world-record Kamloops was a 37-pound fish, surprisingly caught here and not at its native Lake Kootenay.
Now naturally reproducing, Kamloops trout spawn in the spring, usually in March and April, when they congregate in Lake Pend Oreille’s bountiful creeks and tributaries.”
Streams and rivers are flowing hard right now, but come to Idaho anyway and try for one of these monsters on a 6-7 wt. rod.
Hard takes, tight lines, bent rods and screaming reels to all.

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