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Night Fishing The White Flies

Night Fishing The White Flies


This time of year, everyone is asking if the white flies are on the Yellow Breeches.  While it’s been a fun Summer of feeding ants, beetles, and grasshoppers to trout- something about casting big mayfly imitations in the evening is a perfect end to the Summer and a casual signal that cooler temperatures of Fall are just around the corner!

The white flies (Ephoron Leukon) seem to draw the biggest crowds and have a certain appeal to fly anglers. One of the biggest challenges this hatch presents is it occurs largely after sundown, meaning the angler is fishing in almost total darkness. We routinely guide during white flies until 10:00pm or later!

I’ve put together a few tips to help you enjoy the blizzard in August! Please let me know what you think! 

Bring a headlamp

A head lamp will undoubtedly be used during this hatch. The most important part of the headlamp is realizing that you only use it when looking at the near bank, and not into the stream or at other anglers! Make your way to the bank before blasting your light- just because you are done fishing, doesn’t mean other anglers are! Make sure you have fresh batteries installed, or at least pack them in your fly bag.


Shorten the leader and your cast

Nothing is more frustrating at night than tangles. While a 10’or 12’ leader tapered to 6x or 7x may be the choice for morning tricos or midges this time of year, leave these at home when fishing the whiteflies! A 7.5’ nylon leader to 4x is perfect for casting size 10 dry flies. The fish are not leader shy after dark, and the heavier, shorter leader should help avoid tangles. I attach a small sized tippet ring to make adding tippet easier in the dark- they don’t affect the performance, and it’s easier than tying a blood knot or triple surgeon's knot to add tippet.

Long casts to the far bank are not required for this hatch. You will most likely have fish rising all around you. Try to keep casts shorter than 20 to 25 feet- you’ll be surprised how many fish you hook! 




Debarb your flies

First, please pinch your barbs down on all your flies, not just white flies. During this hatch, trout inhale the flies without hesitation. Please do your part in helping to save our fish, by making it de-barbed. If you miss a fish, you’ll have another chance shortly!




Consider wearing a buff or some type of face mask

We’re not talking about wearing a face mask outside for COVID 19 purposes, but because the hatch is so thick, you’ll be eating whiteflies on a good night! A buff is a great protective layer, unless you enjoy the taste of raw mayflies!




Fish responsibly

Please consider the water temps when fishing this time of year. Just because a huge hatch is coming off, and fish are eating on the surface - doesn’t mean we should take advantage of them. Take water temperatures, and please make sure your thermometer reads 67 or cooler. 68 degrees and above will stress fish out. This hatch happens in the evening, however the water has been super heated by the August sun and temperatures all day. Please be aware of this before deciding to fish.


Neil Sunday is the Head Trout Guide for Relentless Fly Fishing, operating out of TCO Boiling Springs. A Cumberland Valley native, he can show you a great evening of white fly fishing. Call TCO at 717-609-0169, ext 5 to book your trip, or contact Neil at: .

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