As I slipped into a local pool on the South Branch I scanned for activity. At first glance it seemed a bit sparse. However, first impressions were a little deceiving. While not a blizzard hatch by any stretch of the imagination, trout were rising purposefully and consistently. I finally took a beautiful wild Brownie on a #16 Sulphur Comparadun, a personal favorite on many of our glassy pools.
The fine weather we've been enjoying has seen good flows and moderate temperatures. As we move through June, we can expect to see some warmer days and the first appearance of summer heat. Water temps have been mostly in the upper fifties to low sixties in the morning. Expect to start seeing warmer temps. Does that mean trout fishing is over? No, but it is important to leave the trout alone when the water temps near 70 degrees and we may see that for a day or so this week. I carry a stream thermometer.The trout don't die but they do slow down. It's not the best time to target them. Afterwards, cooler temperatures and a little rain are on the way later in the week and this will improve the trout fishing. All that being said, June can be one of the best months to fish for trout in our area. Lots of hatches and lighter crowds make for some memorable fishing.
What does this mean for those of us who need to find some water in the heat? The South Branch below Clinton has some nice Smallmouth fishing as does the North Branch below Far Hills. This action can be found all the way down to the confluence in Raritan. All you need are some nymphs like the size 10-12 Beadhead Prince, a handful of Woolly Buggers or Crayfish patterns and a couple of bass poppers or Chubby Chernobyls and you're in. We just had a shipment of saltwater streamers, bass poppers and carp flies, yes I said carp flies. They are a challenging and hard fighting quarry on the fly rod.
I also really enjoy Largemouth Bass and panfish on the fly. It's hard to beat the feeling of a big Bluegill on a light rod or the head shaking strength of a 3-4 pound bucketmouth on a large Deer Hair Mouse or Foam Popper. These fish are pretty aggressive early in the summer before the ponds heat up; a strip set is needed to drive the hook home on the larger bass. Use a thick leader 2-3X and although a 5 weight rod is fine, I prefer a 6 weight.
Pennsylvania spring creeks hold temp really well although there was a pump failure at the Hercules Quarry in Easton which de-watered part of the Bushkill Creek and caused a fish kill in the immediate area. The Little Lehigh is a good option and there are more between Allentown and Reading. Catskill rivers in upstate New York are really peaking now. Sulphurs, March Browns and Green Drakes are high on the menu on the Beaverkill and the East and West Branches of the Delaware. We just got some nice, big Green Drakes and Coffin Fly patterns. Stock up before you make the trip.
Smaller Sulphurs, Isonychia and Light Cahills have been the most consistent hatches later in the day over the last week or so and this action should continue through the month. Smaller Blue Winged Olives will hatch on cloudy, cooler days. Tan Caddis will appear almost every morning by around 9am. Be on the lookout for Yellow Sallies and Golden Stones. These two species are distinguished by size, the Yellow Sallies are small (size 16) and the Golden Stones are large size 10-12. The Gorge is a great place to find hatches of these insects and it means that a Yellow Stimulator can be a very effective match for both species when matched to the size of the emerging insects.
Local Hatches 6/09/2020:
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
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)
Here are a few of Tim's videos on Light Cahills and Isonychia (Slate Drake)