Popular flies for the Pennsylvania flyfisherman

Although, the flies I will discuss are not the only flies to fish with in Pennsylvania, and they are not limited to this state….I will cover some popular ones, and flies recommended you have in your possession. I could not begin to cover all species.

As discussed before, flies are in 3 categories -mayflies, caddisflies and stoneflies. Blue Winged Olives, Tricos, and midges and sulphurs are all mayflies. Caddis are tent winged flies and have no tails like mayflies do.

Caddis flies – Because of the many species, caddis can be found fluttering on the water from spring and into fall and throughout the day. Caddis is a great fly to use while fishing riffles and can dredge up fish even when nothing is hatching. Many fly fishernan say if they only carried one fly in their box, it would be a caddis. When a good caddis hatch is on, “Kady bar the door.” The Grannom caddis hatch on the Little Juniata in April is a good example of this.

Blue Winged Olives – “BWOs” are another great fly to have in your arsenal as they can be on the water from spring into the fall, They typically hatch in cool misty weather, but also on overcast days.

Tricos – This small mayfly starts around the beginning of July and lasts until the first frost. Look for tight swarms in the mornings. The female breeds with the male, and dies. Trout are very actively sipping these dead flies while this hatch is on. They tend to get smaller as the season goes on and patterns in the size #26 version are a must as the trout can be very selective.

Midges – Fishing midges are overlooked by a lot of flyfisherman for the fear of going to small as it requires using 7X or 8X tippet.  Midge hatches can be found even in winter. Sunny days seem to bring them out. A popular pattern to use is a griffith’s gnat. I like to use a gray hackle fly which I learned to tie from my old fishing buddy, Levi Keefer.

Sulphurs – There are many patterns and sizes of this mayfly which begins the end of May/early June timeframe. In many cases the hatch comes off late evening and after dark. Sulphurs can bring the large trout to the surface.

I will cover additional flies as the season goes on as well as terrestials (ants, beetles, hoppers). Stay tuned!

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