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Week of May 26th: Memorial Day

South Branch Outfitters mourns and remembers our veterans who gave their lives in service. 

The abundance of mayflies astounds me.  The shape remains the same but the size and color are fascinating to look closely at if a specimen remains still enough to examine. Certain river roads are similar to dusk drives in the Catskills when there are so many bugs illuminated by headlights it is tempting to turn around and fish some more.  Take a minute in the morning to look closely at the grill to see what was out - remember the size and color.  I had my hat out the window last night trying to catch a few as I slowed down to drive through the swarm.  

If you have been lucky enough to catch a hatch or had a great day when they are on emergers, you know it can be wonderful once you find the right pattern. If the right size and color eludes us, the frustration may be enough to drive one towards Pickleball.  Try not to get frustrated; the only thing we can do is mix and match.  Choose a big dry fly - #14 Sulphur or Elk Hair Caddis followed by a midge or emerger. It may be challenging, but change up after a few casts - the light goes quickly right about the time things really get going on the water.  I had to end early last night because I left my headlamp at home having taken it out of my waders during the recent power outage.  Of course, I had just figured out they would take a Sulphur Comparadun, in size 20. 

Much of fly fishing seems to be counter-intuitive.  Naturally, fish the bugs you see, first.  The four-week-window of dry fly fishing is here, so match the match as best you can.  Sulphur and PMDs are out, but so are the BWOs and Caddis!  They can be present simultaneously. Every once in a while, I chuck out a Royal Coachman and - WHAM - it seems to work in the midst of the melange.  CDC and soft hackles are a nice option as trout will take them off the top or on an upswing. 

Shout out to John Collins once again, who posted great shots of Isonychia, maybe my new favorite Mayfly, under the garage lights.  Look for these on the water as well. 

I found a killer combination I am calling the mop-and-midge or malibu-and-midge.  It is just as it sounds.  Rather than a split shot, I realized the mop fly or unweighted wooly bugger provides the perfect buoyancy for keeping small flies in the midwater column that a split-shot can not.  A black RS2 set back about 18 inches on 6x tippet was the money trailer fly, after some trial and error, and few fish took the mop or bugger.  The pair rode midway in the water column and really seemed to turn an otherwise frustrating day around.  

Rigging up some dry-dropper or “mop-and-midge” combos can make things easier and faster with some planning ahead.  We have some options for keeping these handy for when the time comes. Loon has a disk style rigging foam and we also have some great signature boxes that hold individual flies as well.  

This week, if you are on the water, mixing and matching or throwing single flies, take a moment, stand still, and appreciate the fact of what we are able to do in this country.  Remember why.  The reason we are here is because of those who gave everything to protect the principles of Democracy, Liberty, and Justice for all.

See you out there,

Roy B.


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