Late April 2017 Davidson River and Pisgah Area
It appears the Hendricksons have come and gone. The little pink bugs of about a size 14, that hovered over the water in the cool damp evenings before rushing into the swarming orgy hanging above the nearest riffle, are now petering out into a few lonely, love sick, leftover, stragglers. Like the last few unfortunate souls desperately looking about the bar after last call, a mate is hard to find and even the fish pay them little to no attention.
But for the Sulphurs, the party has just started.
Now that the Hendricksons have passed; their close cousins, the larger of the Sulphurs, have arrived. These are not the tiny dorthea Sulphurs that will arrive later in the spring but the larger invaria. These bugs are about a size 16-14 with watery dun colored wings and a dirty yellow body sporting hot peachy orange segments about the abdomen.
The weather has been cool and wet this past week with afternoon and evening showers. Good Sulphur weather. The hatches are arriving around 6:30 in the evening with fish keying on emergers and preferring them to the duns. I slipped out yesterday evening to find the bugs already on the water when I arrived. The hatch was quick and strong lasting about thirty minutes but the fish kept the sight picture and continued to key on an emerger pattern long after the naturals had found their evening roosts in the trees.
I had begun fishing the evening with a cripple pattern but decided to switch after a good many splashy rises and quite a few missed fish. My luck immediately made a turn for the better once I tied on the emerger pattern. A good number came to hand, and quite a few larger fish that I have not seen before. One in particular that got the better of me due to a poor and unprepared hook set. I finished the evening at a favorite pool casting the fly to the same spot until dark and taking a fish on just about every other cast.
This hatch should continue to get stronger over the next few days and move up in elevation into next week. Apparently last week was spring break for some of the schools in the area and may have lent to the crowds I saw during the Hendrickson hatch. The river was devoid of bodies last night and I saw only one truck on the drive up that was suspiciously bestickered in the manner common to fly fishermen and political zealots.
The weather will be soggy for the foreseeable future but don't let it deter you. Hide in the car or under expensive gear and wait for a break and you shall have your reward. Fish parachute pheasant tails and other emerger patterns for the rising fish and if nymphing prior to the hatch a split case, pineapple express, or a standard pheasant tail in a 16 should do the trick.
Good fishing and good luck,