Insects and other foods the trout
should be eating:
1. BWOs (Little BWOs)
2. Giant Black Stoneflies
3. Light Cahills
4. Cinnamon Caddis (mostly Abrams)
5. Hendricksons/Red Quills
6. Little Short-horned Sedges
7. American March Browns
8. Eastern Green Drakes (Abrams)
9. Little Yellow Stoneflies
Most available - Other types of food:
10. Sculpin, Minnows (Streamers)
Fishing Tales - Wise Old Men
I'm one often critical of older guys who make the claim "I've Been Fly Fishing Since Moby Dick was a
Minnow". I usually think but don't say "That's a long time to do something using less than the most effective
methods, strategies, tactics, etc", but I have also learned, that isn't always the case.
Angie and I were on one of our many trips to fish the Delaware River in New York, hands down the best
tailwater in the eastern United States. Most of the time we fished the West Branch or main stem the locals
call the Big "D". We usually ignore the East Branch of the Delaware, a completely separate tailwater that
together with the West Branch, forms the main Delaware. Only the uppermost part of the East Branch stays
cool during the Summer because the warmer, freestone water from the Beaverkill runs into it on its way to
the main stem. The Beaverkill water creates two distinct sections of the East Branch. The uppermost part
consist of cooler water but it consist mostly of large pools that are smooth, slick flows with many areas of soft
bottom. It's a very different stream from the West Branch, Big "D" or lower East Branch and it is considered
by most anglers to be very difficult to fish. At the time, we had only fished it a few times and with little success.
We had been convinced by two anglers staying at the same motel we were holed up in, that the
Hendrickson/Red Quills were hatching heavily on the upper East Branch but that no one was fishing the
hatch because the smooth water was too difficult to fish. Rarely do we pay any attention to hearsay from
other anglers but we were not doing well on the other sections of the river and thought we would check the
upper East Branch out. They had witness the hatch and spinner fall and had described the mayflies well
enough for me to believe them. The problem was, they had failed to catch a single trout. That was all I
needed to hear. The challenge was on.
We pulled off the road at one of many parking areas and noticed two older gentlemen sitting in their lawn
chairs on a rather high bank of the river. I asked if they had fished there before and one replied "only for
about forty years". I asked them if the Hendricksons were hatching there and they replied "yes". They
explained that they had just stopped hatching for the day and that was why they were taking a rest. I asked
why they hatched so early, not really believing them. They proceeded to tell me that they hatched much
earlier than they did elsewhere in the Delaware system.
We politely thanked them for their information and headed down the trail off the high vantage point to fish.
Angie set up the camera and I fished for about two hours right at the time the Hendricksons normally hatch
without seeing a single bug or without a single take. We headed back to the truck to leave and head back to
the Big "D" because I was convinced the insects were not hatching.
The two men had watched me fish the entire time. When we passed them headed back to the truck, one
asked "how did you do". I knew he already knew and I told him I had not caught a single trout. He asked if I
would like to catch some trout. When I asked where, he responded, "right here". He said, "you and your wife
get a lawn chair out of the back of my SUV and wait until the spinners fall". I wanted to tell him they didn't fall
if they didn't hatch, but something told me he knew what he was doing. He continued to tell us that he and
his brother had fished the spinner fall the day before and they would like to see us enjoy fishing the spot -
the same spot they were waiting to fish. I told him we didn't want to interrupt them but they both insisted.
They explained that in 45 minutes the spinners would start falling and that it would last for about an hour.
There was just something about them that was convincing. They both lived in New York City and owned a
cabin up the road. We accepted the invitation and sat down to chat with them. They did not want me to go
down to the river for another 45 minutes, so I didn't. They asked to see the flies I used for the spinner fall.
When I showed them, they said the flies were just fine.
About 30 minutes later, one of the men said that I should go on down to the river and wade out to such and
such place he pointed out. He also told me I shouldn't make a cast until they started to fall. I did exactly what
he said but I admit, I really felt funny standing in the middle of the river not casting at all. In about ten
minutes, the spinners begin to show up and within a few more minutes they begin to fall. I caught a 16 inch
brown trout on the second cast I made. Within the next hour, I caught eleven trout, mostly rainbows running
from about 10 to 14 inches. Angie video taped the entire deal until it was so late she began to complain
about the low light.
The two men watched the entire thing. As I was wading out of the river to leave, I looked up to see them both
waving bye. They were gone before we could make it up the trial to thank them. I wanted to contact them but
we couldn't remember their names well enough to know how to contact them in the big city. We couldn't find
their vehicles parked at any of the cabins nearby. That is the last time we saw them, waving as they got in
their vehicle to leave.
They knew precisely what they were doing, right down to the minute. They obviously enjoyed watching me
catch trout just as well as if they were catching them.
Copyright 2013 James Marsh
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