Tag Archives: mayflies

Fly Fishing the Sulphur mayfly hatch

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.


It is important to know the specific mayflies that will be hatching as the season progresses so you know which fly with which to fish. An easy way to predict this as I see in 30 years of my stream notes is to watch the wildflowers in the mountains.

*When the blood root is out full the Quill Gordons are hatching well so use a Mr. Rapidan Dry size 14.
*When the Trillium are beginning to break through the little Blue Quills are on in good numbers so use a Blue Quill Dry size 16 or 18.
*When the Trillium are out full all around the streams the March Browns are hatching well so use a Mr. Rapidan Dry size 14.

Mayflies are still available

Late Evening Mayfly Hatch
Late Evening Mayfly Hatch

There are still a few mayflies available to the Brook Trout in the mountain streams throughout our area. These Mayflies hatch predominately late in the evening, so plan your trip accordingly. Also expect to find a Little Yellow Stoneflies and Caddis coming off the water. 5x Tippet material will do the trick as long as you stay down low and DON’T spook the fish.

The Brookies are feeding and Mayflies are hatching

Fish Food! Mayflies anyone??
Fish Food! Mayflies anyone??

Great Fly Fishing awaits! The Brook Trout in the Blue Ridge Mountains are feeding like crazy! Expect to find a lot of hatching mayflies: March Browns, Light Cahills, Gray Fox’s, Little Yellow Stoneflies and Caddis Flies are coming off in abundance on many of these streams! If you are waiting for the fishing to get good…. You are about to miss it. A Mr. Rapidan Dry #14 or #16 or #16 Murray’s Little Yellow Stonefly fished on 5x tippet with a drag free drift is unstoppable! Check out the Trout Fishing Report at www.Murraysflyshop.com

Hatching Mayflies – Aquatic Insects

Blue Quills, a few Quill Gordons and a few March Browns are coming off on different areas of the Mountain Brook Trout Streams. The prime time seems to be around 2:00 to 3:00 pm. A Mr. Rapidan Parachute #16 has worked quite well this week.

Quill Gordon Dun
Quill Gordon (Epeorus pleuralis)

Blue Quill Mayfly Dun
Blue Quill (Paraleptophlebia adoptiva)

These are the first two Mayflies to hatch on the Shenandoah National Park Brook Trout Streams each season.

Olives or Midges

A few Olives
A couple hundred Olives

In the winter you spot trout rising to feed on the surface. The insects are very small but you finally catch one so you can match it. You are not real good at entomology and you don’t know if its an olive mayfly or a midge but you know the angling tactics are different. Simple. If it has a tail its a mayfly, if not its a midge.