Look at this beautiful specimen caught by Sung Kim in the Gorge last week on a #16 bead head pheasant tail - a universal fly for year-round fishing! Keep sending us your photos, we love 'em!
For this week's fishing, since our best opportunity to present dry flies is upon us, consider this when you get frustrated when a dry fly goes for a swim. Think of this before you furiously lift your fly out of the depths and false cast more out of frustration than need; before you reach for the gink or ride or shake, consider one natural fact: flies swim. They go under. When our imitations do too, it is not a reflection of our inadequacy or inaccuracy. It is a reminder that things happen beyond our control and it is best to let the fly ride, even subsurface.
Relax the tension a bit - our muscles and the line. Sometimes the fly will pop up on its own. Otherwise, keep your eye on it as best you can and watch for a subsurface take. What we are really doing is setting up for the next cast - or false cast - or reaching for a product that will help the fly remain adrift. Here is why…
Female BWOs, which are ubiquitous and certainly plentiful right now, will reenter the water to lay their eggs! They land near the water’s edge and crawl in, wings folded down and back, and find a suitable downstream surface to deposit their brood. Then, they crawl back or get knocked loose and re-enter the drift trying to reach the surface once again. Hence, our dry BWO is behaving in a way fish are accustomed to when it slips beneath the surface.
Similarly, any rough riffle will upset a drifting dun or swallow up a swirling spinner. Let it go and resist the urge to recast for a perfect drift. Do not upset the fish with unneeded line movement or the splashing that occurs with a too-quick lift and back cast into the trees behind. The next chance will come at the end of the present drift.
While on the subject of the BWO, it is important to remember that not all BWOs are in fact olive or have blue wings. Close inspection reveals they come in a spectrum from brown to light green. Orange and yellow dubbing mixed with your usual BWO recipe can add to the menu you present. The wing color can vary as well. Keep your eye out for sipping fish near bushes and expect the greatest and more reliable hatches on cloudy, misty, and rainy days. Explore those stream banks with small flies - here is your miniscule fly list to bring to the shop: BWOs, Al’s rat, griffith’s gnat, mosquito, black gnat, blue quills. Shorten your leader and cast when near banks and overhanging brush. Carry a seven and a half foot, 6x or 7x leader and target this bug, not just the fish, on small and large streams.
Sulphur hatches occur later in the evening and into the dark when only touch and sound make us aware of a take. The larger sulphurs are giving way to the smaller, size #16 ephemerella dorothea (one of the few Latin names I can remember!), but do not go without the even smaller PED (Pale Evening Duns) if the fish are ignoring the #14s and #16s. Similar to the variety of BWO, sulphurs can be orange, yellow, or nearly white. Cahill patterns, wet and dry, can be effective alternatives during this time. For those of us who are up with the lark, the previous evenings’ sulphur and PED spinners bring up early risers from the trout community. Take the time to watch the water before wading out.
The flows are very good. Caddis are still the most prevalent insect on the water throughout the day. Terrestrials will become more important in the coming weeks.
We are fully stocked at the shop and our guides are waiting to show you what NJ has to offer! See you out there.
- Roy B