White Flies After Dark By Neil Sunday
By now you’ve hopefully enjoyed your family vacations and the trout have been given a break for the hottest part of the Summer. It’s time to put the trout rod back together and make plans to hit the water. But there’s no need to set the alarm early, as we’re fishing the famous White Fly Hatch on the Yellow Breeches here in the Cumberland Valley. From Mid-August until Labor Day, you can find one of the best hatches of the season and have some great evenings on the creek.
I’ve put together a few tips to help you enjoy this hatch and hopefully achieve success!
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 angles! Make your way to the bank before blasting your light- just because you’re done fishing, doesn’t mean other anglers are! Make sure you have fresh batteries installed and remember to turn it off when you don’t need it.
Shorten your 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 10-14 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 much easier to use.
Long casts to the far bank are not required for this hatch. Fish will typically be rising all around you. Try to keep casts shorter than 20 feet. The length of your leader and a fly rod’s length of flyline will put you in casting range of a rising fish.
Debarb Your Flies
Please crimp the barbs on all your flies, especially 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!
As always, please consider the water temperatures 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 degrees or cooler. Anything above 67 degrees will stress the fish. 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.
Carry a few size options
I like to have white flies in sizes 10,12 & 14 in my flybox. It seems as the hatch goes on longer, the fish focus on the smaller end of the spectrum. Carry these three sizes, and you should be good.
If you want to tie your own white fly, here is the recipe for Neil's EP Trigger Point White Fly Spinner:
Thread: Black 6/0 or 8/0
Tail: Moose Mane fibers
Thanks for reading, see you on the stream!
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: firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on Instagram: #neilsunday