Tuesday, August 4, 2009
White fly patterns - Could we have a winner ???
You've probably heard of fabled insect hatches across the country. For some eastern rivers it's Hendricksons and Green Drakes. In the mid west it might be Hexagenias. Out west you have Salmonflies and San Juan Worms (ok, just kidding on the worms). But in my little neck of the woods - the West Canada Creek to be exact - we have a little known mayfly called the white fly. Also known as the white miner, the white fly is in the drake family of mayflies. It's cousins are the green drake, brown drake, golden drake, and the hexagenia limbata. Those mayflies tend to be the largest of the stream born mayflies, living in the slower, silty areas of the river. The white fly is the smallest of the group, ranging in the #12 size. Adding to the white fly's mystique is that it's common to have a prolific population in one river and be non existent in another similar river a few miles away.
The white fly hatch is also a little...well....unique. The hatch starts in the later half of August and runs through the first week or so of September. What makes it unique is that it will start down stream initially, and every day work it's way up river. The trick is being on the water in the right spot at the right time to catch the hatch. And I do mean HATCH. I would say that of all the hatches I've experienced, the white fly hatch - when I get it right - is truly a "blanket" hatch. It can be awe inspiring. You're fishing, the sun is going down, and suddenly you notice a bunch of ghostly, grayish white mayflies silently flying up stream. They hatch out of the water and into flight so quickly that you rarely see one actually coming out of the water. It can get so thick that it reminds me of snow being blown in a cross wind in front of your face.
As with any prolific hatch, the curse is that the fish have too much food to feed on. You may make the perfect presentation with the perfect fly and the fish will simply slurp the surrounding flies because they're everywhere. Naturally, we blame the fly and come up with new patterns every summer to do battle with. This year is no exception:
Back to the tying vise. I'll see you on the water...