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Week of May 12th: Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there!  Let’s honor the mothers of fly fishing and acknowledge the diversity going back to the beginnings of our beloved sport.  

One of the earliest authors on the subject is Dame Juliana Berners O.S.B. (oh, those Benedictines!). Her A Treatyse of Fysshynge Wyth an Angle (1496) is the earliest “How-to” guide for angling in English. She begins with rod building and how to bore out several switches with “white hot iron” before boiling and dying horse hair to make the leader.  Then, the hooks! Since we no longer have horses or forges, most of us anyway, it may not sound too useful, but she continues with real, practical advice and highlights an axiom true to this day: 

And for the fyrste and pryncypall poynt in anglynge : kepe ye euer fro the water fro the sighte of the fysshe : other ferre on the londe : or ellys behynde a busshe that the fysshe se you not. For yf they doo they wol not byte.  Also loke that ye shadow not the water as moche as ye may. For it is that thynge that woll soone fraye the fysshe. And yf a fysshe be afrayed he woll not bi | te longe after. For alle manere fysshe that fede by the grounde ye shall angle for theim to the botom. soo that your hokys shall renne or lye on the grounde. And for alle other fysshe that fede {12} aboue ye shall angle to theym in the myddes of the water or somdeale byneth or somdeale aboue. For euer the gretter fisshe the nerer he lyeth the botom of the water. - A Treatyse of Fysshynge Wyth an Angle (1496)

In other words, don’t spook the fish and get your fly down deep!

Joan Wulff is a hero of mine and opened fly casting in form and audience.  My casting changed when a friend, who worked at a shop in the Catskills, had me cast a new rod and he immediately pointed out my grip.  Winston Rods, shameless plug - come cast one today!, worked with Joan Wulff and redesigned the shape of the cork to contour to the “Thumb-on-top” grip taught to many new anglers.  This subtle change allowed me to “Power Snap” the final cast of a dry fly toward where I want my drift to begin. 

If you are lucky to have a mom in your life, and one who fishes with flies, you could treat her to the newish line of products geared toward the largest growing demographic of fly-anglers: women! Ms. Mayfly is leading the way in waders that are not simply S-M-L-, or, XL.  Patagonia and Readington Waders have become more accommodating, as well. Thanks, Fritz, for the pictures.

A guided trip for one - plan ahead for next year - would be a welcome tradition for those who would pass the day spa for a dry fly hatch!  Watch the kids while she unwinds with a half-day trip with Mayflies likely to appear and bring a few noses to the surface.

(Thanks, Kino, for this picture!)

Speaking of hatches, the sulphurs are upon us!  The Ephemeralla Invaria, the Sulphur dun, showed up early again and in the few warm days last week, came in numbers!  I have not heard of many folks catching on the surface quite yet.  The cold and moist weather that followed those 80 degree days sent the bugs back, it seems. They will return with more consistent sun and temperature.

(Thanks, Kayla, for the picture on the right) Get yourself ready- John Collin’s sulphur nymph and emerger patterns are selling out already. His gallery of mayflies and others is inspiring!  We currently have his beautiful, traditional pheasant tail sulphur in #14 and #16. Weighted or fished high in the column, the trout like sulphurs as much as we do!  I was fortunate to get out several times this week.  I had luck with nymphs and especially small, tiny dark patterns #18 or #20.  The black caddis are here, too, and they took as many fish as the sulphur and WD-40 midge.  

If you are seeking reliable activity on the surface, you should stay beyond the dusky-twilight and bring a flashlight to help you get back to the car.  Pale evening duns PMDs and RS2s may be easier felt than seen if the big upright winged offerings are ignored at night.  Watch out for a little competition (Kayla again with the picture!) and remember Dame.

Be careful as the rocks are slicking up and the contours of more than a few rivers have shifted.

See you out there,

Roy B.

Local Hatches: I looked over the report from 2020.  I think the present conditions match. 

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

Iron Blue Dun Leptophlebia johnsoni Adams, Blue Dun, Blue Quill #14-16, Hare's Ear Nymph #14

Dark Iron Winged Olive Drunella cornuta Hare's Ear Nymph #14, Blue Wing Olive #14

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. 

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:

Sulphur Ephemerella invaria Sulphur #12-14, Pheasant tail #12-14, Sulphur Emerger #12-14

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

Mayfly Spinners #16-20 (Species listed above)

Egg laying and spent Tan or Olive Caddis.


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