May Day thru Cinco de Mayo
May Day, May 1, ushered in the beginning of the turkey (hunting) season. In addition to rain during the night, showers all morning made for soggy hunting – we did have a big gobbler come in close but had no shot as it was behind some very thick brush. We saw that the blueberry bushes were blooming – a bit early this year. In the afternoon, the skies cleared and made for favorable fishing weather.
The Shad fly, a caddis fly with a green egg sac that usually hatches in May, has been hatching for two to three weeks; on May 1 we noticed some female Hendricksons (slate-colored mayflies with a yellow egg sac that is especially apparent when they hit your windshield as you drive along the river.) Reports of March Browns hatching on the East Branch Delaware River have come in as well.
Caddis flies of various sizes as well as small Blue-Winged Olives are hatching during the day although fishing from late afternoon through evening seems to be most productive.
Many more fishermen are out on the river – including several mini-bus loads of fishing groups – as all area rivers and streams have been stocked.
Today (May 5, Cinco de Mayo) on a horseback ride along the river we saw several nesting and mating pairs of birds – beautiful Baltimore Orioles, Red-Winged Blackbirds, brightly colored Goldfinches and even a male pheasant who surprised the horses when he took off. In addition, there were hundreds of brightly-colored orange and blue fritillaries (medium-sized butterflies) fluttering in and out of the bushes nearby.
Favorite flies to use on the Beaverkill are the Adams in sizes #14, #16 and #18; as well as the Elk Hair Caddis in faster water and riffle areas. Try to match the size, color and shape of the flies you see hatching or on the water; remembering that mayflies have the beautiful upright ‘sail’ shaped wing; caddis flies have wings that are tent-like; and the wings of stoneflies are folded flat along their backs. If you are imitating the size, shape and color of flies that are hatching and are not successful in raising a fish, try the same fly in a smaller size.