Where are the CICADAS?
This is a common question at this time of year when cicadas are nowhere to be found. As one of the local weathermen described May as cold and rainy. That is the answer. Cicadas are predicated upon heat and sunshine. If it was rainy or snowy in the case of this May, we can assume there was a lot of cloudy days. Also, it was down right cold a lot of the month. I only put ice in the cooler a few times. With the forecast predicting warmer, drier weather in the next 10 day we will soon see if there will be any cicadas to be found this 2010.
Yellow Sallies (isoperla)
If you float the B or C section in late June or first half of July you will most likely run into a bunch of yellow sallies. Sallies are a small yellow stone fly with a tan underbody. Most of the nymphs are tan or light yellow. The isoperla is one of the few stone flies that emerge in open water. Most stone flies swim to the shore before emerging. Generally, I will see the emerges around mid morning and females laying eggs until one or two in the afternoon. When the female lays her eggs she will repeatedly fly 15-20 feet in the air, then nose dive down, hitting the water to lay her eggs. This can be the easier time to catch fish on dries. Even if you are not catching fish on sallies it will get the fish looking up. It's easy to recognize a sally eat by the splashy, aggressive takes by the fish. Often on the C section the fish like the sally skiddered. This can create some spectacular takes.
The the blue winged olives have started out on a regular basis. Each afternoon the bugs are emerging and fish have started to key on them. Most of the nymphs and emergers are dark olive, almost black, while the adults are more of a grayish olive. Adult BWO's are easily identifiable by there upright sailboat wings. Most of the adults have been around a size 16. They will slowly decrease in size as the hatch goes on. If it's a drizzly overcast day and there is a big hatch, adults as large as 14's will be present. Remember, the biggest hatches occur on the bad weather days. Oft times on sunny days the fish will key on emergers and nymphs instead of the adults. Good times and dancing lines.
Some Black Stone Flies
The last few days I have noticed some black stones on the water. They seem to be out for a short time each March. No more than a week or two. They are around a size 10-12. They can be a nice break for the eyeballs after staring at a size 22 midge all day. They can also jump start your heart as the strikes have a tendency to be aggressive. The action isn't fast and furious so I prefer to add a midge dropper while fishing these stones.
Mostly Midges Right Now
While the occasional blue wing will show up in the afternoon, Midges are definitely the main diet right now. Midges can come off in a variety of colors. The midges in this picture are a gray and black (the orange is called daphnia). You may want to take some samples if you really want to match the hatch. In march one of the most common colors is a dark reddish wine color. I also like to fish rainbow and purple UV colored midges. The larva are generally very skinny. Tying midges very skinny can be key to catching the picky fish. The adults and emergers tend to be black. Some times their belly will have a little color to it such as grey or cream. Most black flies such a Trailing Shuck emerger, Brook Sprout, or Griffiths Gnat work just fine.
The Blue Winged Olives (baetis) are here.
There seems to be more BWO's this year than the last couple. It is still early, but we are off to a great start. Here is a little more info about the hatch from a past blog. One of the most prolific hatches here on the the Green is the blue winged olives. Known as baetis, this little mayfly is of the upmost importance to the fish on this river. Coming out of the winter months the baetis bring a high volume of food the fish. If you catch a nice rainy or snowy day in April you will see the blue wings emerge by the millions. You can find runs, riffles, and flats with literally thousands of heads dimpling the water sipping in emergers, duns, and cripples. On a typical blue wing day I will fish virtually all the stages of the hatch. Starting with the nymphs, then to emergers, next is the duns and finishing with cripples (cripples work well during the hatch and when the spinners fall). As the hatch begins you can see the fish start to suspend up the water column. Keep adjusting to flies to depth of the fish. I have fished baetis nymphs anywhere from 1 to 9 feet given the conditions and where the fish are suspended. Baetis nymphs are excellent swimmers (prefering the dolphin kick) and move quickly in the water. They live along the slower edges and swim toward the main current as they emerge. Fishing back toward the shore and allowing the nymphs to swing off the bank can be a very effective way to catch fish. When the fish have reached the surface I like to fish a dun with a trailing emerger in the surface film. Once the hatch is in full bloom it's time to fish cripples. The fish key on the easy food (cripples), instead of snatching a dun that is trying to escape. Fishing a cripple and a dun or emerger together also works well. Cripples also work well when the spinner fall occurs. It is important to fish to fish, not water. When the fish will eat in rhythm and become selective. The more you get your fly over specific fish the better the chances of catching those fish. Your fly may be refused simply because it was not in rhythm. BWO's are a great chance to sight fish to some great fish. If you fish in the popular spots you will catch the fish that get caught a lot. Hatches like this give you the opportunity to catch fish that don't get caught. GO find them and your in for a treat!!!
When is the Best Time to Fish?
Here is a question I get a lot!!! My standard answer is that is depends on how you want to fish. If you want little dry flies the answer has to be, BWO's in april. If you want to fish big dries? Mid-May to mid-June and hope that there is a good Cicada hatch. Otherwise, July and August tend to be the best big dry months. If you just want to catch fish, April, May, and June the fish seem to be the most active. If you want to avoid the crowds, mid-October to mid-April on a Tuesday or Wednesday. The best time to catch big fish has to be late fall and winter. They start to show themselves during the day time. With that brief summary, I think that the best time to fish is before a weather front comes through. It doesn't seem to matter what time of year it is, the fish are very active before the front. As soon as the front comes through they can shut off immediately. If possible, no matter the time of year, try to plan your fishing adventures around the weather. When is the best time to fish? Let the weather show you.
Cicada (Homoptera; Cicadellidae)
Cicadas have been out in force the last few days and the fish are starting to eat them well. They are the smaller cicadas around a size 8. They have less orange in them than the picture below. This picture of a cicada goes a long way in describing this trout treat. These smaller cicadas (platypedia) live anywhere from 3-7 years in the ground feeding on the roots of trees before they emerge. The are considerably smaller than there eastern counterparts whom make many headlines in the news. They tend to be a size 8 or 10, possibly even smaller with less orange on the wings. We also have a 13 year cicada (magnifica) or sometimes referred to as a mondo cicada. In years where they emerge it usually occurs in late June or early July. The magnifica cicada is much larger than the platypedia and is about a size 4 or 6. When a cicada emerges from the ground it will climb on to a branch, warm up, and the males will use timbals located on there back to perform a mating call. The smaller platypedia makes a clicking sound, while the magnifica sounds more like a power line buzz. This hatch make the Green famous, so if you fish it, you won't be alone. It's worth it though. I have been told many times this past couple of months that it was the best dry fly day of someone's life.