The rains that came over the past week or so added some much-needed water to our area rivers and streams; the Beaverkill is flowing at just about an average level for this time of year.
Water temperatures are slowly rising to 50 degrees Fahrenheit, that “magic number” that fly-fishermen anticipate, which heralds the beginning of the great mayfly hatches the Beaverkill is renowned for. The river is at a good, fishable level for the beginning of May.
Yesterday there was a fabulous hatch of caddis flies on the lower Beaverkill. Beginning just before 10 am, waves upon waves of caddises came, with good numbers on the water, and at times hitting the car windshield like a snowstorm, along with some tiny Blue-Winged Olives and size #16 mayflies. And, the last full week of April saw fly-fishers awaiting the arrival of the Hendricksons, which make their appearance at about the time when the forsythia is blooming, along with Dutchman’s Britches, Violets and Colts-foot flowers, and the budding of wild cherry trees. Hendricksons have been in demand at the local fly shops, as these much-anticipated mayflies have been hatching in good numbers on the East and West Branches of the Delaware, as well as on the lower Beaverkill and will soon be more prolific on the upper Beaverkill. The Hendrickson, tied on a size #12 hook, represents the female – and the Red Quill, tied on size #14 is actually the male of the species.
The Beaverkill at Cooks Falls was flowing at 451 cubic feet per second as of Wednesday evening; this was below the average flow of 634 cfs on this date over 99 years of record keeping. The highest flow recorded on May 1 was 3970 cfs in 1996; the lowest recorded flow during this period was 270 cubic feet per second in 1930.
In addition to nymphs and wet flies, fly fishers will want to have a supply of Quill Gordons, Blue Quills and Caddis flies in sizes #14 and #16, along with small Blue-Winged Olives. However, with the beginnings of the fly activity reported downstream, it’s also a good idea to have some Hendricksons dry flies in size #12, and Red Quill size # 14 on hand.
Make your approach quietly. Watch for rising fish when the sun is on the water, and make each cast your best, without disturbing the water around.