The first of our moving water mayflies is the Blue Wing Olives. Hatches begin mid-May into early June. They love lousy, drizzily weather. There may be just a few or they may cover the entire pool. The odd thing about BWO’s is river fish often don’t both with them. Other times they eat some but salmon and brook trout around us don’t get crazy over them. You know the fish are there. We’ve been catching’em everyday prior to. Early season BWO’s are big for BWO’s, size 14 & 16.
When our BWO’s hatches slowdown the moving water mayfly event of the season kicks in. The first day of the Hendrickson hatches is a “Window of Opportunity” that everyone should experience at least once. It is without a doubt the best day of dry fly fishing we see. Every fish in the river is making a pig of itself. They can’t get enough and they’ll eat any fly that even comes close. Spot a feeding fish, give him a nice drag free drift and he’ll swallow it to his tail. There have been times when four different anglers have four different flies on and everyone is catching fish. All you need to know is to do a drag-free drift. You’ll eventually leave the river giggling with a big ear-to-ear grin. The very next day they hatch like the day before but fish begin refusing the same flies they couldn’t resist the day before. Don’t get me wrong you’ll still have a great day but fish aren’t as easily fooled. You may have to change from a traditional dry to a parachute style and by day 3 or 4 they stop take the adults all together and prefer the nymph or soft hackle fished just beneath the surface.
After day 3 or 4 of the Hendricksons, Red Quill begin and you can go right back to dries.
Once mayfly hatches begin we say “You can set your watch by the hatches”. They’ll start around 2:00 pm and last until the dinner hour when they’re all full and there isn’t a fish showing. You can head for Happy Hour without feeling the least bit guilty.
If you want you can stick it out until dark hoping to be in the right pool for the spinner fall. It’s a very short window just after sundown when yesterday’s mayflies drop to the water all at once to lay their eggs. Its ten minutes of crazy fishing if you know where your fly is out there in the fast fading light. There is a lot written about spinner falls and spent wing flies. Our take on it is “It’s a little overrated.” We prefer Happy Hour with friends over tangled leaders and lousy light.