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Week of June 2nd: Big Bugs

We have had a spectacular Spring. Our hatches are a testament to the health of our streams and the forces of man and nature working together to keep our environment in good shape.  Dry fly fishing opportunities present themselves throughout the day, but the morning and evenings seem to be the optimal times for rising fish.

Find a long pool with water that is moving but slow enough to exhibit the slightest disturbance to the surface.  Find a spot where your silhouette is concealed from the contrast of the sky and watch.  Trout find a spot and extend their fins, hover, and wait.  Some won’t move out of their line, or narrow feeding lane, when food is abundant.  Watch for several minutes to see where fish are and how often they rise.  Then, choose your target or zone, tie on the fly and wait some more.  Slowly move into your casting position and time the cast to when you think another will be ready to feed. Stay frosty and be consistent.  My biggest mistake: giving in to the desire to chase every rise I see.  Work a fish and change flies rather than position.  They will kind of forget your presence if you can stay still enough for a while.  Change flies frequently and wait for it. The take may happen or it may not; the readiness is all.  Is that another reason to call them May flies? 

 There were a few days when the temperature reached 90 degrees and the water neared 70 degrees.  The safe zone for fishing for trout is between 67 and 70 degrees. This week starts off decently - highs in the 80s and lows overnight in the 60s. Keep your thermometer handy.  Mid week could see some storms, but none that should chase folks off the river for too long.

Dan Cahill is a name to remember if you are into fly fishing and fly lore.  He is the brakeman on the Erie and Lackawanna rail line who, recognizing a parcel of imported rainbow trout would not survive a delay on the track forestalling his train, decided to enlist other rail workers and walk the rainbows, in pails, about a mile to Callicoon creek where they were deposited and spread throughout the Catskills region and thrive today.  He remains in the Catskill origin story as the creator of the fly that bears his name: the Cahill.

The Cahill is light, yellow to cream to pure white.  The fly it imitates is the Stenonema and is related to the Gray Fox. They are BIG - #10 - 12 and the light Cahill, pure white with dark markings on the tail, is easy to spot on the river and sides of buildings after a healthy hatch.  Look for these in the evening beginning in late may and through June. Art Flick said of the Cahill: “It is doubtful if any fly compares with it in popularity, especially in the East.”

On the darker side of flies is the Isonychia.  These are fascinating insects in that they are great swimmers. When the Iso is ready to hatch, it crawls out of the water onto a rock. The exoskeleton splits and off the flying insect goes.  The empty Iso case remains where it is to let us know they are here. capture this occurrence in a series of photographs:

They are large, too, in the #10 to #12 range and often tied with a bubble wing or a parachute making them easier to spot from greater distances. 

Look for these flies, and the caddis in the list below (once again copied from years’ passed) throughout the day; fish the nymph, wet, and wait for the dry.  It has been a hectic week for me personally, so I will have to cut it short for this report.  Patience and persistence win the day!

Here are a few of Tim's videos on Light Cahills and Isonychia (Slate Drake)

See you out there,

Roy B.

Local Hatches 6/2/2024

Morning 9-11 am:

Spotted Sedge Hydropsyche spp. Tan Elk Hair Caddis #14-18, LaFontaine's Tan Sparkle Pupa #14-18, Hare's Ear Soft Hackle #14-16, Tan Bird's Nest #14-18.

Green Sedge Rhyacophila lobifera Olive Elk Hair Caddis #14-18, LaFontaine's Olive Sparkle Pupa #14-16, Partridge & Soft Hackle #14-16, Olive Bird's Nest #14-18, Henryville Special #14-16

IBlue Winged Olive Drunella attenuatta Pheasant Tail Nymph #16-18, Blue Wing Olive #16-18

American Iron Blue Quill Paraleptophlebia mollis Blue Quill #16-20, Grey Flashback Hare's Ear #16

Midday through Late Afternoon 12 noon - 5pm:

Caddis may continue to hatch. see above

Blue Wing Olive Baetis levitans, interclaris, quebecensis, vagans. RS2, BWO, Pheasant Tail Nymph #18-20

Pale Speckled Wing Olive Callibaetis ferrugineous Adams, Blue Quill, BWO #16-18, Pheasant tail #16-18

Dark Red Quill Rhithrogenia impersonata Red Quill #14-16 Pheasant Tail #14-16

Little Quill Gordon Cinygmula subequalis Pheasant Tail #16 Adams or Blue Dun #16

Evening 6-8pm:

Yellow Drake Ephemera varia Yellow Drake Parachute #10-12, Potomanthous nymph #10-12

Pale Evening Dun Ephemerella dorothea Sulphur #16-18, Sulphur Emerger #16-18, Pheasant Tail #16-18

Eastern Brown Quill Siphlonurus quebcencis Adams, Grey Wulff or Blue Dun #10-12

Yellow Sally Stonefly Isoperla bilineata Golden or Yellow stone #14 Yellow Sally dry #16

Golden Stone Isoperla & Acroneuria spp. (Meck and Weamer) Golden stone Nymph #1-12, Yellow Stimulator #10-12

Grey Fox Maccaffertium vicarium Grey Fox #14, Sulphur #14

Grey Winged Yellow Quill Epeorus vitreus Sulphur #14

Mayfly Spinners #12-20 (Use a Rusty Spinner for species listed above  except for E. dorothea. Use Sulphur Spinner #16-18)


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