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Looking Back And Forward: 2018

Tim Flagler of Tightline Video will be our featured tyer this Sunday December 23rd. Class begins at 9:30 am. Len Ruggia will continue his Beginner Class on Saturday morning at 9:30am.

Every December I find myself entering the month just trying to stay ahead. Planning our Bubba Contest which is underway and lining up our great roster of tyers with Shannon's Co-Owner, George Cassa is what it means to get the shop ready for the holidays. It is a frenzy of planning but there soon comes a time when the decisions have been made and we just have to wait and see what will happen. As always, weather plays an important and often decisive role. As I am writing this, the rain is coming down again with 2-4 inches expected over the next day or so. Flooding is once again guaranteed. Last Christmas, we were locked in a deep freeze which lasted well past the New Year. We may finish this year with almost twenty inches of rain above normal (40-45 inches being average). This is likely a drought breaker. It is easy to forget that the last five years have been the driest since the big drought of the 1960's. As for last winter, I believe there were nine storms in February and five more in March followed by three Nor'Easters in April. I don't really understand why winter storms are being named I just know there were a lot of them. Still conditions began to improve a little in April and May and June were beautiful. The trout loved the conditions and there were rainy stocking days so many fish weren't pursued until after they began to acclimate to their new environs.

Later in April the weather abated. We had one of the better Hendrickson hatches in the last few years but for me 2018 marked the return of the Sulphur Hatch on the South Branch. It lasted a solid three and a half weeks solid and sporadically held into late June. Cahills were pretty decent and the Slate Drakes or Isonychia were strong. The Tan Caddis or Spotted Sedge was also typically common. My first fish of the spring came on a LaFontaine's Tan Sparkle-Pupa. Blue Winged Olive hatches were a little less dazzling, Tricos were abundant on certain areas of rivers per usual but two other trends worthy of note: Summer saw strong hatches of Yellow Drake beginning in June and Golden Drakes in July followed by the return of the Hexes in August. Another continuing trend was the abundance of Stoneflies especially Golden Stones in the Ken Lockwood Gorge. A great indicator of water quality, from February through July, Golden Stones were a fish slayer. Nymphs in the colder weather and Yellow Stimulator dry flies in late spring, the Golden Stones put on a show.

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