Get ready for dry flies!
Depending on the weather, sometime in February or March, some little bugs will start to stir around. These will be stoneflies. As they don’t have gills, they hang out in the highly-oxygenated riffled areas.
Then, in late Winter, they’ll heed the call of nature. They’ll crawl to the banks, emerge, and then start flying around. Eventually, the females will return to the river to lay eggs.
The bugs are from the family Capniidae and are known as snowflies. They usually comprise the first serious and sustained hatch of the year in our areas. Situate yourself near the quiet seams below riffles for nymphing. The trout should be there. On softer water, you’ll likely do well on dries. After a long winter, the fish are eager for food.
I know that fishing small stonefly nymphs work, but, this time, I’ll try to get them on dries, too. I’m thinking sizes 18 and 20. On some rivers I fish in the late winter, my fleece, hat and chest pack usually house quite a few stoneflies when I return to the car. They buzz around as I drive home. I also see them crawling around on the snow.
I’ll be making the fly in the above video. Amazingly, good dry-fly fishing may be only a few weeks away!