Mayfly hatch biggest catch on first weekend for trout
I finally went trout fishing over the weekend and managed two trout — one Saturday (rising!) and one Sunday (decent size!).
Of course, I or anyone else probably could have caught two trout on any weekend in the past five months, and probably bigger ones at that.
But for a variety of reasons, I never fished at all this winter. For the first time in years, I actually waited until trout season to fish for trout — that is, instead of fishing on the few streams that are open all year, I waited until April 1, when the general season opened everywhere.
I fished Saturday on Sprout Creek, a sweet little stream a few miles outside Poughkeepsie, and caught the only trout I saw — a small brown, presumably wild, that was foolish enough to rise to one of the midges flitting in the air above a bend pool.
The trout took a size 14 Starling and Herl wet fly on the third cast. Still a little lethargic from the cold water, the fish allowed itself to be landed, photographed and released without incident.
The second trout came Sunday morning on the Titicus River, a small reservoir outlet stream in northern Westchester County. I found it tucked alongside a modest run, and it was a nice fish for such a small stream, an honest 12 inches long and chubby, probably a holdover trout from last year’s stockings, or perhaps a reservoir fish that had wandered up from the next impoundment in the chain.
Judging by conversations with other anglers, the fishing was slow in most streams, so I was content to have started the season with a brace of browns.
But what really made the weekend special was seeing something I hadn’t seen since last fall: mayflies.
It was earlier on Saturday, when my buddy and I fished Wappinger Creek before heading over to explore Sprout. There were lots of stoneflies, which is common in the early season and which also reflected well on the Wappinger, since stoneflies require a good, clean environment.
There were a few caddis, too. And then, by 2 p.m., there was an honest-to-goodness, full-on hatch of Quill Gordon mayflies.
The trout ignored them, of course. You have no right to expect rising trout on April 6. It happens once in a while, but this early in the season, most trout are still lying low, the behavior of the foolish little brown on Sprout notwithstanding.
Still, mayflies are a welcome sight after the long, drab winter. And in a few more weeks, the trout will no longer be ignoring the mayflies. It’s really trout season now.
TENKARA AT CDFF
I’ll be giving a talk on tenkara fishing at the April meeting of the Capital District Fly Fishers, at 7 p.m. Wednesday at VFW Post 8692. The post is at 140 VFW Road, off New Karner Road, Colonie.
The meeting is open to the public. I’ll have a few tenkara rods and lines on hand, and anyone who is curious is welcome to drop by and try them out.
The CDFF website is www.cdflyfishers.org.
TU MEETING MONDAY
The Clearwater chapter of Trout Unlimited will hold its monthly meeting on Monday at 7:30 p.m. at the Albany Ramada Plaza Hotel, 3 Watervliet Ave. Ext., Albany.
Evan Botcher from the Hungry Trout Fly Shop will have a presentation on fishing the Ausable River and surrounding area. A guest tyer will begin at 6:30.
Admission to meetings is free, and the public is invited to attend. For more information, visit www.clearwatertu.org.
Morgan Lyle’s commentary appears regularly in The Daily Gazette. Reach him at email@example.com.