Hook, Line and Sinker: May, 14, 2014

We just experienced the best weekend of the year so far – with temperatures finally reaching well into the 70s, plenty of sunshine and not too much wind. There was a terrific hatch of Hendricksons Saturday on the Beaverkill, so heavy that the windshield was plastered with the flies and their distinguishing yellow egg sacs. It’s interesting to make note of nature signs that coincide with each other – generally when the forsythia bush on the west side of our house is blooming, we can count on the Hendricksons to hatch. In addition to our forsythia, we look for violets and trout lilies to make their appearance; sure enough I found plenty of both this weekend.
Following the Hendricksons was an even heavier hatch of Shad Flies on Sunday and Monday. The Shad Fly is actually a caddis fly, with a notable green egg sac. It is named for the timing of its prolific hatch, it usually makes its appearance at about the time that the shad run up the Delaware, usually during the first week of June. The Shadbush (also called June Berry or Service Berry) blooms at this same time, and sure enough, when I saw the Shad Flies hatching I looked over across the road at the June Berry tree and saw that it was in bloom. While the Hendricksons seemed a bit late this year, the Shad Fly hatch is early, we generally look for them around Memorial Day and early June.

More fly hatches
Al Carpenter of Al’s Sports Store in Downsville also remarked on the Hendrickson and Shad Fly hatches on the East Branch of the Delaware River. He said that at the end of last week there must have been a terrific hatch downriver; a man driving up from East Branch to Downsville pulled in front of Al’s store and had flies dropping off the car onto the stones in front. Al keyed them out to be a mixture of Quill Gordons and Hendricksons, with their yellow egg sacs.
Another customer reported that while floating the East Branch the Shad Fly hatch was so heavy he was afraid to open his mouth! And another customer was driving along Route 17 from Roscoe and said there were so many flies he had to close the car windows. Al saw two young eagles flying sideways up the valley, and remembered seeing eagles acting similarly in the past, a sign that the shad are starting their run.
The Pepacton Reservoir has been fishing well this past week, with good numbers of trout being taken from the surface down to about 25 feet. The surface water is warming up nicely now.
Dan Smith of Walton caught four browns while trolling on Monday. A nice five-pound brown that measured 21 inches was netted by Tom Drown on a sawbelly. It was nice and fat with a “hump back and hump stomach.” Tom noted that most of the fish were from the surface down to about 24 feet, with “a lot on the surface between noon and 1 p.m.”
Last week we reported on four-year-old Dominic Grieco, who was fishing with his dad and caught his first reservoir fish. Not to be outdone, his older brother, five-year-old Roni, went fishing with his mom and dad and caught a beauty of a brown that weighed four pounds, five ounces. Roni’s mom also managed a nice fish, catching a four-pound, seven-ouncer.