Friday night I was working with a new customer on the water. He had attended one of our fly fishing schools and came back to get outfitted. After a casting lesson we agreed to meet on the water to give him a more direct experience and to learn the basics of casting, fly selection, reading water, etc. It's always good to work with anglers new to the sport, I appreciate their enthusiasm and willingness to learn.
The bugs weren't really prolific that night. I saw a few Spotted Sedge, AKA Tan Caddis and a couple of March Browns. Tonight, the bug life was still sparse, an unsettled day of weather had brought some much needed rain to the area but the cool down behind the front didn't bode well for a major hatch. Fish had been on spent Caddis and small BWO's for about the last week. The March Brown, Maccaffertium vicarium is a large mayfly usually a size 10 or 12. In our area size 12 is the most common. They begin to hatch usually in the beginning of May and are often overlooked by anglers because they hatch sporadically throughout the day rather than in a dramatic blanket hatch like the Hendrickson or the Sulphurs. They prefer rocky sections of rivers and streams and hatch in the shallows and on stream side rocks. They are large and clumsy and while they don't appear to be numerous, when they gather in clouds in the evening as spinners, their numbers become apparent. Use a large Rusty Spinner or John Kavanaugh's Trusty Rusty #12. Fishing a large dry fly or emerger is always something I look forward to. Tonight I matched it with a 4X tippet landing four nice trout in the process, three nice Rainbows and a Brown between 11 and 14 inches. That's right I said 4X, divide the hook size by three and you've balanced the tippet and the fly for optimal casting. March Browns will hatch for a couple of weeks and then will be replaced by a smaller, lighter version known as the Grey Fox which resembles more of a Cahill with grey wings.
For the last several weeks, it's been all about the caddis. We had the Little Smoky Wings and now the Black Caddis and finally the Spotted Sedge or Tan Caddis. Sparkle Pupa in sizes 14-18 are catching fish. On cloudy days with the Baetis and Pseudocleon carolina making an appearance small flies have been best. This coming week, the larger Sulphurs Epemerella invaria should begin to hatch in the late afternoon and continue into the early evening.
This year has certainly been interesting from a supply chain point of view. We've kept the shop well stocked and continue to do so. Flies and other goods are coming in weekly. You may see some different labels on certain items. We have waders and boots from Chota at good prices and some Korkers are likely in this coming week. For the fly tyer, Umpqua U-Series hooks came in along with more materials from Wapsi. Hareline is due this week.. I've been spending a lot of time working on bringing in what's available. We have a nice selection of of rods from Douglas, Fenwick, Hardy/ Grey's to Scott and Winston. We even have a few of the new GLoomis NRX+ rods in 4 and 5 weight models. For those wanting to fish the Catskills it can be important to have a good 5 weight that can cast in the wind. The new Scott Centric 9' 5 weight, the 5 weight Winston Air II, Alpha+ or GLoomis NRX+ or LP+ fits the bill. Match it with a Bauer reel including the new RVR or RX2 for a killer outfit. Experienced anglers realize the necessity of a smooth drag for these big water fish which often demand light tippets. For smaller water, it is hard to beat the Winston Pure or the Scott G series. Shop inventory on these rods is still healthy but we are experiencing delays due to demand at the factories for some models. As for T&T, the Contact II Euro Nymphing Rods have been popular and scarce. We are getting them in as they become available but call us. If one does come in the shop, it's not around long. I had the pleasure of casting their new version of the Paradigm series and it is beautiful. It is a moderate action like the Winston Pure and the Scott G series. It deserves to be in the conversation especially in the 9' 4 weight. Check out our selection of Nomad nets by Fishpond along with their vests and packs. Inventory is strong in this area and finally for those who love to nymph, I found a nice selection of Frenchies today. Our Guide Flies Box will be getting a boost this week and the Euro folks should be happy about that.
Early May Hatches:
March Brown Maccaffertium vicarium March Brown #10-12
Black Caddis Chimarra aterrima Chimarra Larva #16-18 Black Elk Hair #16-18
Iron Blue Dun Praleptophlebia johnsoni Adams #14-16, Blue Quill #14-16, Blue Dun #14-16, Pheasant Tail #14-16
Small Slatewing Brown Quill Pseudocleon carolina BWO #20-22, RS2 #20, Pheasant Tail #20-22
Spotted Sedge Hydropsyche spp. Tan LaFontaine's Sparkle Pupa #14-16, Tan Elk Hair Caddis
Sulphur Ephemerella invaria Sulphur #12-14, Sulphur Emerger #14
Blue Wing Olives Baetis interclaris, cingulatis/ quebecensis BWO #16-20, RS2 #16-20
Here are couple of Tim's latest useful videos. I had a solid night with the F-Fly last weekend. It is a great spent caddis imitation and simple to tie. I tied a couple up in about ten minutes and was in to fish almost immediately. It is hard to see on the water but I fished across and downstream and the fish helped me out...