This tiny little Zebra Midge Fly Fishing Fly works great. | Jeffrey Walters/Kern Valley Sun
In the morning, you can see the surface activity on Lake Isabella, where fish are actively feeding. It looks like there are raindrops, but that is just the fish sipping the bugs off the surface. Most of these bugs are those little black midges that look like mosquitoes but aren’t. Fish of all sizes eat these by the millions daily simply by sucking them in.
Now you only see a portion of the feeding frenzy because most of it occurs beneath the surface. The midge larva wiggle and squirm their way to the top so they can shed their skin and fly away to simply mate, lay eggs and die in about three to five days. This is called “a hatch” because the larva is emerging and shedding their skins to molt into adults, and it takes mere seconds to do so. So, the fish have to respond quickly, and they do. With fly fishing, this is called “matching the hatch” because you are using a similar fly that resembles the bugs the fish are eating.
Bass normally won’t engage in this feeding frenzy; they are there to prey upon the little fish that are eating all the bugs like bluegills, minnows and trout. When targeting bass during this time, you want to use a topwater style like a buzz bait, jerk bait, or other floating topwater lure – moving it across the open areas where the little fish are feeding. Just be prepared for some explosive topwater action as America’s favorite fish smashes that lure like a great white shark hits a seal.
Another favorite type of lure to use is a shallow diving lure that will keep it moving in the 4-5 feet in depth range as you reel it in. They simply float back up when you stop reeling them in and dive back down when cranked. This gives the bass something to look at besides the feeding baitfish on the lookout for danger. The style resembling bluegill, shad or plain white works very well in this situation. Casting out at a 45-degree angle lets you cover more targeted water.
For trout, the best method is fly fishing; however, you don’t have to use that method if you don’t know how. The “bubble and a fly” method works very well in this situation. These “clear water fillable bobbers” are used by anglers for many different types of fishing and can be found at any of the local stores that sell fishing tackle. The midges, however, will most likely be found only at our local fly shop in Kernville.
Summer mornings are the best time to fish on the lake for “matching the hatch” type of fishing. French Gulch Marina, or the influence of the creek, is a good area to fish. The fresh water moving into the lake is always a good spot early in the morning. The earlier, the better for this type of fishing.