Last week I had a guide trip with a couple of new fly fishermen. We went to an area that the state stocks regularly just so they could get a few fish, after all that is what it is about. One of them is getting back into fly fishing after a 10 year absensce and the other guy is a raw newbie. First thing I did as we were rigging up was go over what they wanted out of the day. They both wanted to learn as much as they could and if they caught trout that was gravy. So we discussed the ways trout feed and what was good holding water. This strech of river is great for teaching as it has all of the classic types of holding water. We started out at a long deep run, from the high bank we could see a bunch of fish working the bottom for nymphs. I put on a couple of nymphs and a thingamabober for each of them and we started at the top of the run. As we approached the water, I explained to them why it is important to try and were drab colored clothes when fishing an area like this. With the water being fairly flat and about 3 or so feet deep the trout have a good window to see above the surface and can detect movement at a good distance. That is why I have wondered about the bright red or salmon colored wading jackets and vest edges some companies have been marketing. They may be good for large western rivers but small eastern streams I think they might be a bit out of place. We worked our way down this run and a couple of fish were caught which caused some smiling pictures to be taken. As we reached the lower end I notice the big pool below us was now empty and there were trout rising in a few spots. we move to the bank walked down to this pool and watched the rises for a bit. I explained to them about the different rise forms and what they ment. These were plashy caddis rises so I took of the nymphs and indicators and we move just upstream front the upper most rising fish. I tied on a yellow bodies soft hackle and explianed how to best drift it to the fish. second drift the trout takes but the youg guy instantly grabbed the reel handle and the fish came off. I told him to let the fish go a bit crazy at first just keep in contact with it, if you try to reel or keep the line too tight they will come unhooked. we worked our way down thru this pool and they hooked a few more fish, at the tail there were 3 nice fish all rising to what looked to be spinners. I set them up so they could each make a short accurate cast to one fo the fish. I then took my net and ran it thru the water below the fish. they turned out to be taking sz 14 rusty spinners, probably the last of the Hendrickson hatch. They took some time to get the cast and drift right but the fish seemed patient on this day. Thye each got a rise and hook up. one was a nice rainbow the other a snall brown. By this time they had to leave so we walked back up to the trucks to leave they both had a good day and I hope they learned a few things. With the end of the hendrickson hatch it reminds me of a few pointers I want to pass along.
When the Hendricksons have started keep an eye out for the first of the beatis hatches to start. They will be size 16-18 olive brown duns with dark grey wings and legs. You will know you have one when you pick it up or see it sitting still and it actually wags it’s tail up and down almost like it is nervous and wants to dart the heck out of there. They like to hatch in good numbers on overcast / misty days. When it is cool out and they take more time to dry their wings a parachute or CDC winged, blue winged olive pattern is tops. If it is warm try a regular Catskill style dune or thorax dun. Always have a few rusty spinners in the same sizes as the spinner fall will come right near the end of the hatch. These little gems must taste good because trout seem to take them with a little more gusto than other mayflies this time of year. Near the end of this hatch you may also see some of the paraleps ( blue quills) mixed in with them they are a size 18 with a mahogany brown body. The traditional blue quills and blue duns work ok but in the last 5 or so years I have been tying a red quill pattern in size 18 and the fish seem to like it, I don’t know if it get more fish than the other patterns but I have confidence in it and that is the actual magic in fly fishing, having confidence in what is tied to your tippet.