I love to see fish rise. That’s why I fish dry flies. Splashy rises are my favorite. It’s the type of rise form which tells me the fish are exploding at the surface with reckless abandon. I like those two words…reckless abandon. These takes may be the most memorable. Makes me smile just thinking about it.
Splashy rises are what makes the Salmonfly hatch so much fun. You know where the fish are. There is no doubt when a fish takes your fly!
Ever thought about why fish make different rise forms? Splashy rises…head and tail rises…tails only…a sipping fish which only leaves a barely perceptible ring? I’m lucky enough to fish quite a bit and I see these different rise forms all the time.
But I think the other rises are tougher to catch fish. Sure, the fish may be rising more consistently with a sip, sip, sip. Find the right rhythm of “sip” and place your fly in the feeding zone with a drag-free drift and keep your fingers crossed. There’s more of a chance for the fish to “drive by”, take a quick look at your fly, decide not to take your fly and swim away.
Some insects create the opportunity for these splashy rises. October Caddis are flitting over the river and only touch down momentarily to lay their eggs, so the fish have to make a very quick decision to rise and try to eat the bug. Hence the splashy rise. Sometimes they miss and try again. Entertaining to watch.
This is a good time to try your favorite October Caddis pattern. Here’s mine:
The fall drakes are out too. They hatch, float down the river briefly and take flight. This activity happens in riffles where the river current is swift. It’s a quick process for the duns and the fish need to react quickly.
I’ve been using a Sparkle Dun and hooking a fish or two.
A couple of weeks ago, I observed a splashy rise and covered the fish with one of my flies. The fish gods were smiling upon me that day and I hooked up with a BIG fish. It immediately headed for fast water, jumped a couple of times to show me how big it really was and popped off. It all happened in less than 8 seconds. But I still remember the brief fight…I’m smiling now.
So head out to the river and use your observation skills to see if the fish are showing themselves. You might me lucky and see a splashy rise and create a memory for yourself.