Green River Cicada Hatch Slow

By Dave Webb
(Posted 6-13-05)

Most years the cicada hatch creates exciting fishing on the Green River in June. Trout seem to love the big black bugs and hit them aggressively. This exciting top-water action often begins in late May, peaks in June and lingers into July. The cicadas are slow coming on this year, apparently because we've had a cool, wet spring. Dennis Breer, owner of Trout Creek Flies, one of the premier guide services on the Green, gives the following report:

"Our friends, the cicadas, are most active in 80 degrees plus temperatures. The fish for the most part are sitting very, very deep, which means that nymph fishing has been the most productive way to reach them. Long leaders, extra weight and bright colored flies have been important. Glo-bugs, San Juan worms, big scuds, streamers have been the most consistent fish catchers. Back them up (trailer) with smaller scuds, pt nymphs, zebra midges and other smaller more natural flies.

"For those coming to the river at this time of year solely to catch the cicada hatch and top water action, it has been a disappointing time, unless they were willing to nymph fish. Not to say that there has been absolutely zero surface activity. Pockets of feeders here and there, a few on a small residue of Baetis, an in-frequent flying ant hatch, caddis activity or a slash at a cicada now and then. But when compared to years past, the frequency has been next to nil.

"Can't over emphasize the importance of fishing on the bottom. If it takes more weight to get there, do it. Set the indicator higher too. Remove the heavier sections of mono from your leaders to increase sink rates. Whatever it takes. Fish counts haven't been bad. Had reports from those who struggled, but not over what we experience normally under other conditions. The river really has fished well once everyone catches on how to approach it."

Dennis expects the bugs to become more active as summer temperatures set in. We may yet have good cicada fishing this season. Hoppers and ants will become important in July and August and will undoubtedly provide good surface action.

Another factor is big water. Flows were held at 4,600 cfs through much of the spring and that is incredibly high. Guides had a workout positioning clients in the fast water. Wade-fishers have had difficulty reaching many of the more productive runs. But that is changing now. The release schedule calls for flows to be reduced by 400 cfs every night until the river reaches 2,000 cfs. It will be held at that level until about mid-July and then reduced to 1,600 for the remainder of the summer.

The next few weeks should be a great time to fish the river. Angling pressure is down because of the high flows and lack of cicadas. But the fish are still there - still hungry. With fewer fishers and improving conditions - in my book that means now's the time to get to the Green!

Dennis summed it up this way: "The guides have done very well, though the big water has cost them with more physical exertion than normal. With the water mix, there have been some beautiful fish caught."

Dennis updates a website filled with hints and good information: