View Full Version : Willow flies?

06-06-2007, 10:56 AM
Anyone know if the Willow mayflies are hatching out yet?

06-08-2007, 12:33 AM
do they look like an albino mayfly? If so yes. I about took a dunk today trying to catch one to take a picture for you too see if it was what you were talking about. I cant remember if its June or July, but it seems that the first of the month there are millons of mayflies at our dock on the Hiwassee. Youll go to bed and wake up and the trees are coverd in them and the post, deck, and roof of the dock are covered as well. It only lasts for a day or two it seems.

06-08-2007, 11:07 AM
I have only seen these flies on Watts Bar lake down at Kingston. I believe they could be the Hexagenia Bilineata. I'm no expert but the research I've looked at online says they are in the lake. They are very large mayflies and hatch out down there during the summer. I was hoping some of you guys that live down that way would confirm if they are there yet.
Heres a pict. of what they look like. Everyone just calls them "Willow Flies". cdu1961 and Kingstonian what do you say? It's been a few years since I've been there for the hatch.


06-10-2007, 08:06 AM
Yep, troutman, that is what the locals call a willowfly. They run about 1 1/2 to 2" long including tail. I saw a few tangled in a spiderweb on a dock in Kingston earlier in the week when I was out with my kayak, but haven't seem any big hatches. That day I didn't get any hits on a popping bug, but I didn't fish much either. There could be some more hatching downstream.

Usually they hit a peak (more of a plateau, really) about the 4th of July week, continuing to hatch well through the whole month. Some store windows get so many at night drawn to the lights that it looks like there are curtains up. I have a picture of a boat house that had some many on it that it looked furry.

And nightfishing under a blacklight can make a real mess out of your boat with all the willowflies sticking to the condensation, then dying.

I'll keep my eyes open and post if I notice any big activity. Willowflies make for great warmwater flyrod action. Bluegill, largemouth, smallmouth, even the occasional crappie will feed on them. Most fishermen just use small cork poppers, but a more realistic copy might do well if it could survive all the bluegill hits.

06-11-2007, 08:04 AM
Troutman, Those flies are all over Buggs Island in Southern VA right now. I know we're a little ahead of you temp. wise on this side of the Blue Ridge
but I just started seeing them in big numbers last week.

06-11-2007, 09:56 AM
You guys should try to get out to fish this hatch. It's probably one of the best times to fish for carp with dry flies. Imagine this.......Several 6-10pd carp slurping big dries off the surface mixed in with lots of bull bluegills! A green drake imitation or a large # 10 Black rubber leg stimulator should work pretty good.

Kingstonian, thanks for the update! I may bring my yak down there one weekend soon.
Bran, post us some picts. if you get out to the island soon. Good luck.

06-11-2007, 10:47 AM
You know troutman I have some pics downloaded to my PC here at work now, I just need to check out that photobucket and figure out how to do that. I have been doing some catfishing here the last week or so and so have
only flyfished once or twice. I slipped down to a small river Saturday for awhile and caught some redbreast and knotty heads on the fly.
What size rod do you use for those carp? I only have a 5 wt. and am thinking it may be too light for those? Anyhow I am really just learning about
FF so I need to invest in some more outfits, I told my wife that would make a
good Father's day presenthttp://littleriveroutfitters.com/forum/images/icons/icon7.gif....Ok you guys take care and I'll work on the

06-11-2007, 11:09 AM
Ok, I attempted to put some pictures on photo bucket so here we go.


The first couple are of my daughter Emily catching Crappie on my 3 wt. rod.
Then there are a couple Sunfish photos from a small lake near the house, just
some beautiful fish and if they were much bigger they would pull you in the
pond.http://littleriveroutfitters.com/forum/images/icons/icon7.gif The bass was at 3.5 - 4 lbs on my 3 wt, just an accident while I was catching specs off the brush. Lastly is a photo of some of my Smallmouth territory taken on Memorial day up the Roanoke river. Let me know if these work ok. Thanks.

06-11-2007, 02:08 PM
Nice picts Bran. My daughter enjoys fishing also, as long as its not all day! I use the bottom [img] code on photobucket. click on it to highlight, Copy and paste to your message. The pict. will show up directly on the message. You can preview it before you submit it to the forum. Paula can walk you through if you need help.
If I was looking for a flyrod for Carp, I would go with an 8wt. A fast 7wt. would OK and would be more useful on the smallies as well. You "need" bigger rods for those larger and heavier streamers to catch bigger fish. At least that is what I told my wife!

06-11-2007, 02:33 PM
I'm going to try a couple for practice.
This is one of the creeks on our farm that I wade and catch a variety of fish in.
This is my other fishing buddy, she is usually with me if my daughter isn't.
You can see the size of these sunfish here. We have a neighbor who stocked his pond with these and this spring he found a hole in the dam, he told me to catch all I could and transfer them to another pond because he
was going to have to drain it to repair the dam. They are a ball on light flyrods or ultralight spinning rigs, I caught them on BHP's all afternoon.
I'm going to look into the heavier rods, I saw on the fishing report that Daniel said TFO was coming out with an 8 wt. 4 pc for 149.99. I'll check it out when he gets it on the catalog this week. Thanks for your advice again.

06-11-2007, 03:05 PM
TFO shows them on their website. The Healing Waters 8wt 4piece. I think that is a great thing TFO is doing for our brothers and sisters in arms. I know you do as well. If I didn't already have too many rods including an 8wt., I would get it.
Do you use Picasa photo editing software? It's free from google. you can easily crop, and resize your picts down to email and MB forum sizing.
Again great picts, it's nice to have good neighbors like that! I have a sister in mid-Tn that has a good pond with big gills and bass, I just don't get over to see her very often. Those redbreast bellies and fins are more yellowish while ours are darker orange. Could be just an E. TN thing! Good looking Dog! German shorthair pointer?

06-12-2007, 07:25 AM
Yea she's a GSP. I got her last fall and have been working her a lot with
Bobwhite quail and Pigeons. I hope to have a good bird dog for years to come. The bird numbers have dropped so much here the last 10 years that I
have a guy raising me 300 right now and I'm releasing them at 6 weeks old in July on our farm.
Back to fishing I was looking at the Avid series which also look close to my
budget, just wondering if you have any experience with them. In particular I
was looking at the 7'6" 3 wt or something similar. Just curious, to tell the
truth if you're new to FF there are an overwhelming variety of rod types from each company which has got to be a good thing but I'm just trying to do a
little research. I'll check on that Picassa program when I get a chance and
thanks for your help again.---Bran http://littleriveroutfitters.com/forum/images/icons/icon14.gif

06-12-2007, 10:15 AM
Bran, your right , there are alot of choices out there to chose from. I have 7 rods currently and I find myself always looking for something "better". My 8wt. is a St. Croix Avid old style 3piece. I would consider it a med-fast action rod. Its been a good rod for Carp and I have lent it to a friend several times for Alaska salmon trips. I also have a Legend Ultra 3wt. but it collects dust since I started using an orvis superfine 4wt. for mtn. fishing. I have a 5wt. that is used as a backup rod and my son uses it also. my newest rod is a custom Sage XP 6wt. for smallies and general streamer fishing. This sport is addicting and one can become gear poor quickly. Eventually, I'll probably go to cane and never look back!
Best Advice is find a good flyshop with lots of name brand choices and test cast several different rods. One mans med-fast action is different from another manufacture and your casting style is different from others.

06-13-2007, 11:50 AM
I need to find a local shop where I can go throw a few and see what fits me.
Heck, last night I looked at Cabela's FF catalog til I got sleepy, you know it's
confusing just trying to decide what kind of line might be better.
A lot of sporting equipment holds to the rule of "you get what you pay for",
I noticed some fly line is outrageous and others are relatively cheap. It got me, as a novice, to wondering if that rule holds fast for fly line.
Jumping subjects again, I had time to slip down to our pond yesterday evening for a few minutes. I caught a couple of bull bream, boy that was fun.
Using a yellow popping bug, had a LMB suck it in once but he got off. After about 15 minutes a big Crappie hit it right against the lilly pads and wrapped
me up before I could stop him. Lost my bug.http://littleriveroutfitters.com/forum/images/icons/icon9.gif I'll post a pic later.

06-13-2007, 03:49 PM
You will probably have to drive down to Durham or up to Roanoke to find a shop that carries several brands and most "true" flyshops will let you test cast whereas the big box stores only let you wiggle them in the store! Get a good quality line. Rio, SA, Cortland, Airflo all make good lines. A DT will last longer since you can reverse it after it gets worn on one side. Kind of like 2 lines for the price of one.
I've kind of got the itch for a glass rod. No one really carries them anymore due to the popularity of fast actions and extremely light weights. Since a good quality cane rod is out of my financial reach for awhile, I am leaning in that direction for a slow action 5wt rod to throw poppers to bass and gills.
Like many have said before, This sport is gear addictive!

By the way, My wife hates it when January rolls around every year and I get all those new catalogs in the mail! She doesn't here from me for several hours.

06-14-2007, 07:30 AM
Know what you mean, I was looking again last night, my wife asks "what ya
got?". I told her and there's a little "hmmph".
Caught a few more gills yesterday evening between thunderclouds, they were liking a white popper, I also tried a dropper but nothing went for that. It
did help me get hung up tight a couple of times. They were popping a lot but
mostly over in the pads and thick grass. I tied on a black ant for a few casts
and suprisingly nothing went for it at all, I swapped it for a dry fly, one of the
quill type in dark brown, that worked best of all. It seemed to draw them out
of the pads more. Looks like more thunderstorms and cooler temps today
again before the big warm up next week. They say lower 90's Monday.

06-14-2007, 10:06 AM
I thought about taking my kids over to their grandparents last night after supper to cast a few times in their pond. They share a 2.5 acre pond with 2 other neighbors and it is overun with green sunfish and pumkinseed gills. It has so many that it has stunted the sizes. The largemouth are all long and skinny. I need to go and thin them out but the neighbors don't like anyone fishing for their "pets". They have even ask me not to fish in front of their property from my kayak. Glad they aren't my neighbors! They don't realize the effect of not doing this has on the pond. To many fish and not enough food.
There was an approaching storm from the north east so I canceled going and just reorganized the fly boxes again. We have been watering our little garden every evening for almost 3 weeks now and I just knew we would finally get some rain but all we got was just enough to wet the driveway. You would not believe how much lower the rivers are since you were here last. I have talked to people in Texas on another forum and they can't fish because of too much rain. The rivers are blown out. I wasn't here for the last drought in the late 80s', I was surrounded by water for weeks and months at a time back then. Haze grey and underway!

06-14-2007, 09:57 PM
Bran, I'm not nearly as experienced as many on this board, so take this for what it is worth... I think a low end rod with premium line will perform better than a high end rod with cheap line. And the difference between cheap and excellent line is maybe 30 bucks. It casts better, floats better, is slicker, and requires less maintenance to work well.

For me, if I had to, I'd scrimp a little on the rod and pay what I needed to pay for the better line. Others may disagree, and they may well be right. :)

06-15-2007, 11:04 AM
That's pretty interesting, I had seen Mr. Romer say something on another thread about the line quality. It just got me wondering about the difference in what I'm using, a $25 scientific angler vs. a $60 Rio etc.
Do you guys pick a quality line just considering weight and taper or do you
get into all the species and water specific lines? Again looking at my catalogs there are myriad choices for lines from each manufacturer.
Troutman, I lined up a float trip on the Roanoke river for tomorrow, I'm getting pretty excited about that. Gonna launch the canoe after sun up in the morning and try some top water for Smallmouth and Redeyes!---Bran

06-15-2007, 11:43 AM
Sounds like a good time. I'm floating a local tailwater tomorrow myself. Trout and smallies are abundant and I won't have to do all the paddling! A friend of mine recently C&R a 24" rainbow there last week.
I stopped and tried to get in an hour or so of fishing yesterday afternoon but I was in the water maybe 20 min. and a thunderstorm popped up. I had just released 2 small redbreast and a very small 8" smallie on a foam hopper pattern when I saw lightning. Out of the water quickly!

06-15-2007, 03:00 PM
TFO already has an 8wt 4 pc out. The one for $149 is the professional series (TFO 08 90 4 P). I own one and love it. I also have a 4wt professional and a 6wt TiCr. Haven't fished the 6 yet, but anticipate it to cast better than the 4 or 8.

06-15-2007, 10:47 PM
Do you guys pick a quality line just considering weight and taper or do you
get into all the species and water specific lines? Again looking at my catalogs there are myriad choices for lines from each manufacturer.

I did quite a bit of research on that before I bought. The differences in the species specific lines and standard lines are pretty small. Basically, a WF7F is a WF7F for all practical purposes, whether is says trout or bass or tuna taper. I'd go with the standards unless you see a good buy on one of the specialties. I've use the SA Mastery Series and the Cortland 555 and they both work well. I do like that the Cortland doesn't require any special cleaners or dressing to work well.

LRO sells lines off their online catalog. Since you are here, you might as well check here.

06-18-2007, 10:18 AM
Thanks Kingstonian, Appreciate the info. In asking abotu the species specific
lines I was wondering about the line finish of one vs. another. I will look at the SA or Rio for my next choice. I pulled off a cheap SA Green WF5 Saturday. I got pretty frustrated with it. I'm throwing my 3WT. 6'3" rod about 20-30 ft further than my 5WT 8'6" rod. I can't feel the rod loading at all. I was trying to throw large poppers with 2 to 4 hooks for bass and I couldn't get any distance, especially when the wind picked up a little. I picked up my smaller rod and threw Bream poppers 10 yards further but I could feel that rod load up, huge difference!!

06-18-2007, 10:43 AM
Here's my Saturday results with a couple of Smallmouth and a picture of a
Bream from the pond the other evening. We had a nice float Saturday with the exception of the flyline problem mentioned in the above post. My Dad went with me and we caught about 18-20 Smallmouth and a couple of gills.
We had a slow start but toward lunch time they started to turn on pretty
good. It was overcast most of the day and the water was still cold from 3 days of clouds and cool nights.


06-18-2007, 12:47 PM
Sounds like a good trip! great picts also. If you need to throw for distance with bigger poppers and streamers, the Rio clouser line is designed for that purpose. Pricey line but it does work well. If your 5wt. rod is a fast action or "tip-flex", you could overline it to slow it down and load the tip quicker.
My float trip was good, but very few fish caught. The little smallie I caught was the best fight all day. Lots of back and forth runs and bobbing of the rod tip. I hooked into a good size smallie right before quiting, but it broke my 3X tippet after about 15 seconds. I was trying to get it on the reel and should have let it pull out line from my fingers. Live and learn!

06-18-2007, 10:20 PM
Hey, I was just on Watts Bar in my kayak, paddling around SW Point. Saw one swarm of willow flies, but a LOT of dead ones on the water drifting down the Tennessee River side. Also some bluegills feeding along the bluff and riprap near the Hwy 58 bridge.

Not sure what is downstream, but it is probably time to start planning a trip down here.

The flies I saw were about 730 PM, but that may just be because that is when I was on the water.

If they hold true to form, the numbers will increase over the next two weeks.

So come to Roane County for the willow flies, and buy some gas and groceries to help pay for my kids' schools.