Just as Mother Nature controls the time of the year in which the beautiful little wildflowers push through the thick leaf carpet in the mountains to bloom, so does she dictate the time which the natural insects hatch in the streams. Since I am fond of photographing both of these I have kept stream notes on them for forty years.
Interestingly enough this has helped me in my fishing because usually a specific fly hatch will coincide with the blooming of a specific wildflower. The beautiful little blood root which is the first wildflower to bloom in many mountains tells me it is time for the first aquatic insect hatch. The trillium follows this and usually brings the next two aquatic insect hatches. Different wildflowers follow throughout the season with their accompanying hatches.
The specific insects that hatch at these times vary from one geographical part of the country to the next. However, it repeats each year in a predictable pattern. Keep stream notes and you will be richly rewarded.
The sulphur mayflies are coming off well now and the trout are feeding on both the nymphs and the adult (dun and spinner). A very special friend the late John Snyder, one of the finest brown trout fly fishermen on the east coast, was so successful with the nymphs on this hatch that he would often continue fishing them a hour into the hatch, long after the rest of us had switched to the duns.
If you want to play John’s game use a Murray’s Professor Nymph 14 and fish it upstream dead drift in the deep runs and below the riffles and even dress it with a cream floatant and fish to rising brown trout. This latter ploy is very effective on heavily fished streams.
I actually enjoy flyfishing drys best on the Sulphur hatch and use both Ed Shenk’s Sulphur 16 & 18 and the Murray’s Sulphur Dry 16 & 18 and fish all of these on 6X.
I always watch for feeding trout and go one on one with these fish. However, if I don’t see risers I use the dry flies to cover the water. Remember, the streams are getting lower and the brown trout are wary so use a cautious approach.
My final tip on the sulphur hatch is to stay on the stream until dark in order to cash in on both the duns and spinners.
There is a good hatch of aquatic insects on the stream and the trout are feeding well upon them. You catch several of these insects and by carefully selecting a dry fly from your box you are confident you have a good match for it. However, fishing this fly to rising trout for half and hour does not bring a single strike. On each of your presentation casts you can clearly distinguish your fly from the naturals around it. Then it dawns on you…if it does not look exactly like the naturals to you, it probably does not look like a natural to the trout. Most likely your fly is too large or the wrong color…Try again.