Earlier this evening, I worked the Olive Woolly Bugger absentmindedly around some structure points - boulders and logs. I'm trying to enjoy some of my spring break from school but being an educator in a Pandemic means that you're never quite done. It's OK, we have our health and the students are learning and coping while experiencing what will hopefully be a once in a lifetime event. I laughed to myself; we always start our classes with a prayer at Villa Walsh. In addition to whatever prayer might be appropriate and there are always some good reasons for prayers especially this past year, I always try to remember to ask the kids what they are grateful for that day. They are thankful for their families, their dogs and the weather and now I was grateful to be able to be absentmindedly casting an #10 Olive Bugger. The air was just starting to chill and my waders weren't leaking. As is often the case, it was in that moment that I hooked a fish. Not a large fish but definitely a trout and when I got it closer, it was a pretty wild Brown maybe eight inches long but probably more like seven. I didn't catch any more fish, instead I just enjoyed being on the water mostly practicing my cast in an occasionally stiff headwind. The conclusion I reached was that it was better off to wait for the gust to pass by and then cast. Life Lesson Number One: Never underestimate the power of prayer. Life Lesson Number Two: Learn to duck. Casting into a headwind even with a beautiful fly rod can be tough. Casting between the gusts works better.
Over the last few days, we've seen some colder weather but Easter Sunday was warm and beautiful. Family and work commitments kept me off the water but reports began to trickle in of bug activity - Hendricksons on some small streams in Southeastern PA and Grannom Caddis and even some Quill Gordons in our area. That was good news, because it is a true sign of spring when the hatches reappear on our waters. Sure, we all nymph a lot and I enjoy tossing streamers but there is nothing to me like fishing a hatch.There are still quite a few Early Black Stoneflies and Black Caddis hatching but the availability of the new hatches will be a welcome source of food to the tens of thousands of trout recently stocked along with the holdover and wild fish. Expect most activity to take place during the afternoon but spinner falls usually take place after 5 pm and may last until after 7pm.
Early Black Stonefly Taeniopteryx nivalis Black Copper John #14-18 Black Elk Hair Caddis or Stimulator #16
Black Caddis Chimarra aterrima Chimarra Larva #16-18 Black Elk Hair #16-18
Early Iron Blue Quill Baetis tricaudatus Adams #16-18, Pheasant Tail #16-18
Quill Gordon Epeorus pluralis Hare's Ear Nymph #12, Quill Gordon #12, Parachute Adams #12-14
Hendrickson Ephemerella subvaria Light Hendrickson, Red Quill #12-14, Hendrickson Emerger #14
Blue Quill Paraleptophlebia adoptiva Blue Quill #16, Adams and Adams Parachute #16
Blue Wing Olives Baetis interclaris, cingulatis/ quebecensis BWO #16-20, RS2 #16-20
Needless to say, there are a ton of trout in the water right now across our area. Nymphing is taking the most fish and euro-nymphing has been particularly effective. Deep, fast runs are ideal for the heavy flies associated with this new style of subsurface fishing and the long, thin leaders offer less resistance to the heavy flow of water. Streamers are also taking their share of fish. Tom from Manville landed fifty on streamers Easter morning on the Pequest and then asked, "When are they stocking again?" Tom has been a great customer for a long time, it just made me laugh. I knew it was trout season again. Anglers are really enjoying the catch and release regulations and even with the regular Opening Day on April 10th and the anticipated harvest there will still be plenty of trout. Now this week, we can finally add some reliable dry fly fishing into the mix. There is much to be grateful for....
Tim's great video on the classic Catskill Style Quill Gordon: