Early Season Guiding Special, Early Season Hatches, & Our Argentina Waters Video
Congratulations to Bob Meyers for guessing closest in our contest last week- We'll be sending your Super Buggers out soon! Thanks to all who participated.
Early Season Guiding Special
Brooke here. Barry and Cathy are in Argentina as I put together our blog for this week. Today they start their stay at San Huberto Lodge and are enjoying beautiful warm late summer weather. Here we're struggling with early spring weather which is up one day and down the next! With spring comes a new trout season so Susie and I have decided to repeat the Guiding Special that was a hit last year. Our guides are anxious to get out on the water, and have already had some very good days on the stream. The water is in great shape, they're seeing some flies, and it looks like a great season is ahead!
Here are the details:
Save $100 on a day of guided fishing with us from March 15-April 15, 2022. For one or two people, includes lunch and any gear that you need to borrow. It does not include instruction, only fishing. All day on the water. 1 person $295 (goes up to $395 on April 16), 2 people $350 (goes up to $450 on April 16).
The fish have had a great winter and are rested, and I'm sure they are ready to eat your flies! Call or email us to set up a day. 570-925-2392 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
It's a great way to kick off the season and save some money too!
Early Season Hatches that you Don't want to Miss!!
Traditionally the Pennsylvania opening day of trout season, for as long as I can remember, has been the second week of April, often overlapping with the Easter holiday. I'm not sure what that decision was based on other than the weather, usually is a lot nicer in the middle of April than the beginning. I do know that fly fishermen miss several of the major early season mayfly hatches across the state because of the late opening.
In 2020, the governor surprised us with an unannounced first week of April opening day. That year we saw heavy hatches of early black stoneflies, blue quills, BWO's and an awesome Hendrickson hatch that lasted for almost two weeks. The weather was cold and windy with snow squalls for several days. What we didn't see were other fishermen!
April weather can be anything from nice warm days to snow storms and cold windy conditions. This keeps a lot of fair weather fly fishermen off the stream. That year my fishing buddy, Len, and I had the best dry fly fishing of the 2020 season. Blanket hatches of blue quills and Hendricksons in between snow squalls and sunshine.
Let's look at the hatches
Starting in March we usually see early black stoneflies. The nymphs hatch by crawling out of the water to the bank edges to hatch and become adults. Nymphs are a size #16 and the adult size #18. A black size #16 or #18 nymph or soft hackle will work for migrating nymphs working their way towards the bank.
An important early season mayfly is the Quill Gordon. Unlike most mayflies, the Quill Gordon hatches underwater not on the surface. Fishing a size #12 Quill Gordon wet fly can be very productive during this hatch and the tungsten trapper soft hackle is a go to pattern. Once the duns push through the surface they float for a long ways trying to get airborne and I like the delicacy of a CDC dun to do the trick. I'd like to point out that the poly fluff duns are are a bit more durable and float higher than the CDC duns but when the water is flat and the fish picky, the CDC is a good choice.
Little Blue quills (LBQ) will often appear right before and during the Hendrickson hatch.
These flies start hatching when the water temperature reaches 50 degrees for a few days. Hatches start around noon and continue throughout the afternoon and can be heavy at times. Pay attention and watch as the LBQ hatches occur at the same time as the Hendricksons and the trout will be feeding on both mayflies.
A size 16 or 18 pheasant tail nymph is the perfect choice for imitating the LBQ nymphs and I like using poly fluff duns whenever fishing a dry fly. I like the translucency of the poly fluff wing material and think that it makes a realistic looking fly.
In the morning hours trout will feed on the Hendrickson nymphs. A size #12/14 dark hare's ear is a good imitation for this larger mayfly nymph. Again, I prefer to use a size #12 or #14 poly fluff dun as my dry fly and at the start of the hatch I will trail a Hendrickson poly puff emerger or nymph behind the dry fly.
In spring time weather conditions the Hendrickson duns will start to hatch between 1:00–2:00 p.m. Often with the colder temperatures and overcast conditions, the duns will float on the water for a long time before they can fly off the water making them available for the trout to eat.
The Hendrickson spinner fall usually occurs around dusk over small riffles and fast current. Most mayfly spinner falls occur late in the day and are often missed by anglers who go home too early. Try a red brown or jenny spinner in size 14 for a good imitation. This same spinner works well for many spring and summer hatches and I always have a good supply in my fly box.
Let's not forget the caddisfly. They are many different species of caddis. The caddis hatch offers the fly fishermen several different ways to fly fish. Dead drift a caddis pupa or swinging a soft hackle wet fly are my two favorite ways to fish during a caddis hatch. Most of the time the adults don't land on the water except when the females are laying eggs or if some are blown into the water on a windy day. An often very effective way during caddis season is to trail a pupa or emerger behind the adult caddis and let it swing around at the end of the drift.
Most all of our spring mayfly hatches occur when the water temperature is around 53 degrees. Once the flies start to hatch they will continue to do so in spite of colder water temperatures or bad weather conditions. Often a low pressure system or a drizzly rainy day can trigger a mayfly hatch. Watch for baetis, those tiny dark BWOs (blue wing olives) that love wet, drizzly days.
Early spring offers a smorgasbord of mayflies and a great opportunity for great dry fly fishing, which is often missed by anglers waiting for that perfect day that really doesn't exist. Most angler's vision of a perfect day is a bright and sunny warm day! But that isn't necessarily the best time to see mayfly hatches.
Contact me through the blog comments if you have any questions or comments, I like nothing more than to talk about fishing. I hope to see you on Fishing Creek this season, on one of those less-than-perfect days.
Argentina Waters Video
We recently posted a short video from Argentina Waters and want to share it with you. Enjoy.