Week of April 2, 2023 – Theeeeery’re heeereee! Not in abundance nor can we say the fish are keying on particular May fly hatches, but they will be any day now. The bugs are popping up, reports from Western Pennsylvania indicate good things and the weather looks cooperative. Quill Gordon (Epeorus plueralis) precede the Hendrickson’s and I can personally attest to seeing big, beautiful mostly grey, (romantically slate blue, )Mayflies near the tributaries leading to the Musky.
On Saturday we had lightning and thunderstorms at dawn, then some rain followed by 70 degrees and sun. As of this writing, Sunday about 9:45 am, the water temperature is at 48 degrees. Sunday morning was cold, 37 F and windy. It is Spring in NJ, so things will fluctuate and being prepared is important. This morning, fish took #20 rainbow warriors and a #18 Little Black Stones. With the sun, La Fontaine sparkle pupae or soft hackle hare’s ear and wet flies alone or above a WD40, RS2, or Walt’s worm is a deadly combination. There really is no wrong order of flies in a double rig, so play around. If you see fish rising, even aggressively, double check before you switch out for a dry. The subsurface takes tend to be aggressive as the trout know they have moments to take a caddis before it leaves the water and takes flight. May flies have to struggle out of their shuck and the meniscus; trout can take their time and inspect their meal at their leisure.
The calendar, the forecast and guide reports suggest the surface action is imminent. Griffith’s gnats, Renegade and other bi-color midge cluster attractor patterns are great in the morning (after BWOs). Later, soon, but when (?!?) Blue Quill and Red Quills/Hendrickson’s! Caribou or Elk Wing caddis serve as point flies for your droppers. Be ready for the trout to be working up and down the water column and change flies frequently.
The TCAs are brimming with trout! They tend to school up in deeper runs or pockets. Move to find fish and move on once a few fish are brought to net.
Mind the regulations: Barbless hooks, Catch and Release, no scent.
Have fun, be careful wading, and tight lines! – Roy B.