Have you noticed the early morning mist rising up from the fields, crawling up and around the cedars, evergreens and hardwoods, before it rises into the pale sky? It’s as though the warming earth is exhaling a long sigh of relief as winter finally loses its grip. Once the sun rises over the tree tops, the sky inhales the vapor; perhaps to save it for tomorrow’s dawn when it will again provide sustenance to newly emerging buds. The effect of the morning mists and the recent warmth is rapid; the green blossoms of the forsythia of only a few days ago, today have turned bright yellow and appear ready to usher in the hendricksons. I received a text this morning that some have even started to flower in the lowlands.
Male Hendrickson (Ephemerella subvaria) - Photo by D. Cabarle
And better yet, I heard from a few folks yesterday that saw the first smattering of hendricksons on some of New Jersey’s rivers. Today there will likely be more, and possibly enough to interest some of the trout into feeding on them. So it looks like game-on any day now for this much anticipated hatch. Once it gets started, it will continue pretty much every day for a week to ten days on each river before petering out. If you are resourceful and have the time, you can follow the hatch as it progresses northward from New Jersey into the Poconos and Catskills over the next few weeks.
Also, in recent days the grannoms have been coming off fairly well starting up in the late morning and continuing on in the afternoon. A brown and bright green sparkle pupa or emerger will imitate the ready to hatch and hatching insects well. And if the trout are on them in the film, I like to fish an olive Iris caddis size 16 either dead-drift, or gently swing it like a wet fly and hang on. When the adult caddis are having difficulty getting off the water surface, fish a size 16 gray elk hair or caribou caddis. Observe the behavior of the fish and the insects and choose your weapon accordingly.
We are still seeing plenty of blue-winged olives coming off every day. They were a size 16, but as the hatch has progressed they have gotten smaller, and an 18 is a better sized imitation right now. I’ve been using the pheasant tail emerger I wrote about last week, and had good success again with it this past weekend.
And finally, the early black and brown stoneflies continue to hatch in varying degrees each day, and depending on the day and location, you may find the trout taking them off the water surface. I have heard good reports in recent days that this has been the case on some of our wild trout streams.
The options are varied, and all are viable and worthwhile, so find or make some time to get out, fish and put winter behind you.