Saturday provided another all too brief glimpse of spring in the Catskills, as I floated solo on the West Branch of the Delaware. Putting out just before noon, I quickly shed my jacket and drifted in my shirtsleeves, enjoying the midday sun. It was a beautiful day, but our forecast for tonite and tomorrow might revisit the scene captured above.
Five days remain in April and I can’t help but wonder what May will bring?
I saw a great many flies on the water during my sojourn downriver, the vast majority among the tiniest of mayflies, too small to trifle with considering the long downstream casting required for drift boat fishing.
I did find a few rising fish. Some where happy to take my Blue Quill imitations, and some seemed dedicated to the abundance of the minutia. I can still see size 22 and 24 dry flies when wading, but from the high angle of the boat I cannot, not even when I scoff at the traditions I love and tie tiny parachutes with fluorescent chartreuse wing posts.
My solution then is to feed them the 18’s and 20’s I can see. That tactic left them cold, so I stuck with the Blue Quill. There seemed to be a few on the water sporadically during the afternoon, though catching mayflies out of a drift boat for identification is not my forte either. I need to find my old bug net!
I managed to land five brown trout, between my poster and parachute Paralep ties and a Quill Gordon Comparadun I tied on toward late afternoon. There were four more that seemed to be well hooked but escaped; one due to an abundance of pressure on my part allowing him to open up the hook. At least one appeared to have eaten the fly immediately (I didn’t see it fall) and I lifted much too late in disbelief. Add in a couple other misses and foibles and, combined with the fish that simply wouldn’t look at anything big enough to see, I had plenty of action.
The shirtsleeve session was repeated later in the afternoon, when the light breezes calmed and the sun broke through full and bright again. Those moments alone were worth making the float, having some trout to play with just made it all the better.