View Full Version : Evening Hatch Question

05-02-2008, 08:00 AM
Last evening I fished along the lower section of the Little River Trail, above Elkmont. At about 7:30p there were two types of bugs hatching in a flurry of bugs and the fish went into a frenzy. I one pool I counted 15 different fish leaping out of the water in rapid successions. They weren't sipping...they were jumping. First off I was amazed at how many fish were in the pool, but also I couldn't believe how they were acting with reckless abandon.

I have seen little dinks act this way from time to time, but it was usually limited to one or two small fish. This time was much different. There were a few small ones, but many of the fish were pushing 6" or more. What would trigger that behavior and what the heck could I use to catch them? I tried a couple different flies for a few minutes but then just stood there and watched, amazed.

Also, I have never been too deep into entomology, but based on last night's experience, I can see that there are times when matching the hatch it not only helpful, but imperative. You can't always just sling a PA or Stimi and catch fish...

The first type of bug is what I believe was a Yellow Sally. It was yellow, had a forked tail and what looked like two sets of wings while it was flying. All the pictures I see of them are in Nymph form or are resting, so I'm not sure, but I'm reasonably confident on that one.

The other was more of a mystery. It was a mayfly with a mostly translucent body with an orange thorax between size 14 and 16. What was that one?

And regarding the leaping fish. I couldn't tell if they were catching bugs as they were taking off or out of the air (it didn't look like it). In a situation like that what would you try to throw to them?

Rog 1
05-02-2008, 09:08 AM
My son experienced that same scenario early last June just before dark...he had fish jumping right next to him in one of the pools in the campground....one night we stood on the upper bridge looking upstream and in every pool the fish were leaping out of the water like crazy....hope someone can enlighten us bug challenged feather flingers as to what the fish are actually after.

05-02-2008, 11:25 AM
Little Yellow Stone and Light Hendrickson respectively.

05-02-2008, 12:33 PM
I've never witnessed one of these massive evening hatches yet...all I've seen are a few scattered flies of various sorts. There is one that I saw 2 weeks ago that's bugging me (no pun intended), because I can't seem to determine what exactly it was. It was just about sunset on Straight Fork, almost at the park boundary. There were a lot of small grayish mayflies dropping eggs, but the one that caught my eye was a very large, very light green mayfly - it had to be at least a #12, maybe larger. I'm assuming it was a dun, since the wings were opaque. None of the pictures I have been able to turn up on the 'net quite match it...if anyone might know what it was, I would appreciate it, if just to settle my curiosity.

05-02-2008, 01:13 PM
Go to the website troutnut.com

There is a section for the various insects, including mayflies. It was probably a green drake.

05-02-2008, 01:14 PM
For sally's I like a good ol yellow elk hair caddis in comparable size or you could use Palmers, but in low light having a hair wing would be easier to see...have some orange bodied EHC could help in that multi hatch, or use a hair wing fly like the Harrops pattern which gives a cross profile of both caddis/mayfly to cover bases...

05-02-2008, 01:25 PM
I went there...it's a good site for that sort of thing, but I really couldn't find a match there. I don't think it was a Green Drake, primarily because of the stream I was on; for the most part, aren't they limited to Abrams? Plus, it didn't really look like one.

05-02-2008, 03:15 PM

I have seen that behavior on many times on catskill rivers and the streams in Western NY. It almost always is related to caddis activity. Apparently as caddis pupae hatch they make a mad dash toward the surface. This rapid ascent apparent triggers a chase condition as the fish move toward the surface often taking the fly prior to breaking through the surface. I have always had a difficult time catching fish during a caddis hatch. What works for me most often in this situation is a softhackle dead drifted and then lifted toward the surface in a leisering lift type of manuever. I have tried the bubble caddis that LaFontaine made so popular but that never worked for me. A soft hackle with a little antron or something coming from the tail end to look like bubbles as the fly swings up seems to be a pretty good response in that situation.

Now that we met and got to chat a little bit up near Elkmont you can see that I am an absolute novice - don't forget the raingear - and know very little about entomology, BUT I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night.

Talk to ya soon.

05-02-2008, 08:12 PM
I think Hans has it right. I think the mayflies were Hendricksons. They are one of the best hatches of the year and they are presently in full swing. The female spinners return to the stream about dusk to lay their eggs. You will see them dipping their tail in the water to dislodge the eggs from the egg sack at the end of their tail. You will often see fish jumping out of the water at the tail of a pool trying to catch them while they are hovering and egg laying.



I tie a couple of simple parachute patterns to imitate them. I use pink thread and hendrickson pink superfine for the body with a yellow egg sack. I tie both with dun hackle. Light or dark dun, it doesn't seem to matter. Use pink or red thread, it enhances the pink color when it gets wet.


The other one I use a tan biot and some pink superfine for the thorax.


So get you some pink thread and some hendrickson pink superfine dubbing.:biggrin:

Brian Griffing
05-03-2008, 10:15 AM
I would like to echo adirondack. I have had great success during caddis hatches by imparting a little movement onto my fly. When the fish break the surface by their whole body length, I think it is b/c they get a lot of speed chasing an emerger that is headed to the surface. I have dead drifted an EHC through a bunch of feeding fish and had it ignored, only to be slammed the minute I put some movement on it, either as adirondack suggested by letting it get wet and then pulling it up or by letting the fly swing at the end of the drift.

05-03-2008, 01:23 PM
Beautiful flies, Flyman. Would enjoy seeing more of your work. What do your sulfur patterns look like? Monktrout