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Flyfish's Reports

Green River Cicada Fishing

reported by Kevin Griggs in

June - 2003

Cicadas don't fly extremely well and when trying to traverse a river the size of the Green, many of them don't make it and fall on the water. What a meal for the trout!

I recently told you of my trip to the Green River. Well, I'm back, and with a new story about another trip to the Green River. The trip that I took at the end of May was supposed to be with a former IFFA member named Clif Oram. Clif and I hosted the IFFA conclave on the Green River in 1999. He ended up with some conflicts and couldn't go in May so I went with a local friend instead. Well, last week, Clif called and said he had cleared his schedule and wanted to plan a trip. Even though I wasn't relishing the thought of another 5-hour car ride this soon, how can I refuse a trip to the Green?
I am thrilled that I decided to go. The Green River is right in the middle of one of the best cicada hatches of the last decade. The trees were alive with thousands of the huge insects and the trout had certainly noticed their presence. The females were large 2-3 inches long and the males were about half that size. They don't fly extremely well and when trying to traverse a river the size of the Green, many of them don't make it and fall on the water. What a meal for the trout!

Here is a picture for those of you who haven't seen cicadas. (See photo right abowe). Some of the largest fish in the river feed on the surface during this time of year because of the chance to get an entire meal's protein in one bite. We had great fun fishing huge, cicada dry flies. The fish definitely have a memory and some of them had creative ways of determining the authenticity of their next meal. On one drift through a slow, deep run, a fish came up under my fly and drifted with it for 4-5 feet. He got a good long look but still wasn't convinced so he nudged the bottom of the fly with the top of his nose. I guess the real fly wiggles and kicks when touched and of course mine didn't. He turned and swam off. This type of reaction was common, especially in slow water. Sometimes the fish would look at the fly and refuse it 4 or 5 times in the same drift. I even threw a natural into the current to see what would happen. The fish were just as wary, often nipping the back-end of the fly to see the reaction before taking the cicada. I guess that's what they mean when they say the fish are "educated".....

Later in the day I fished some very fast water on the edge of some rapids. It was very much like pocket water except that the volume of water was much higher and the rocks were on the bottom. I targeted every seam, eddy, slick, and riffle I could cast to. Most of the time I had to make some creative mends to get a few feet of drift and even found myself climbing boulders to try to keep the belly of the line out of the raging current. It paid off though. The fish had very little time for inspection of the fly. It passed over them at such speed that they had one chance to take or refuse. I landed at least 8 fish in this area including my largest fish of the trip. It was a brown trout of just over 20" and gave me quite a fight in the current. This was the first time that I ever felt like my 5 wt. rod was not enough rod for the occasion. Here is a picture of the cicada fly we were using. The bottom row are all cicadas but my favorite was the second from the left. We also caught fish on the chernobyl ant which are in the second row from the top.

We caught numerous fish on nymphs, one of the best combinations was a annelid imitation that I created with an RS-2, or Yong Special dropper. Once the nymph fishing slowed down a little we switched back to cicadas and had a blast. I have fished the Green River for 12 years and this was the first time I hit the cicada hatch at the right time. I sure hope it happens again! I must have caught over 50 fish on this trip with many being 17-20" in length. I lost 3 flies on fish over 20" that broke off, mostly because I wasn't paying close enough attention to the condition of my leader or tippet. Live and learn..... I will send some pictures as soon as they come back from the developer. Hope you enjoyed the report half as much as I enjoyed this trip!

See you on the waters


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Copyright © June 2003 HS Skriv & Utred, Harry Salmgren.