‘Bug Week’ 2017
The first week of June finally arrived. For us fly fishermen, this week has always been known as “Bug Week.” This is about the time every year when the waters of the Upper Delaware turn to bug soup for a while. So far, this year is living up to the name and visiting fly fishermen are very happy.
I have been out on the water about every day since the season has opened. This year the progression of insects has been at a snail’s pace due to the very wet and cold weather. The trout activity has been unpredictable due to both the higher than normal river flows and the lack of reliability with the insects.
Over the last week things have been changing: some sunshine, some warmer air temperatures combined with falling river flows have the fishing prospects looking good. Around the region there are now some great opportunities for fly fishermen.
The big news is that the bugs are now pouring out of our rivers. We have a dozen or more species hatching every day, and the trout have taken notice. Currently our giant insects are making their presence known. Green Drakes, Brown Drakes, March Browns, Isonychia and big Golden Stoneflies have been on the water. Now is the time where you will see violent surface takes as our wild trout hunt these big meals down. In addition to the big bugs, there is also an abundance of mid- to small-sized insects, including the large and small Sulfurs, which will remain as a staple food right through summer.
For the next few weeks, anglers planning to fish will find the best action in our area’s freestone rivers and smaller freestone creeks: the Main Stem Delaware, Lower East Branch, Beaverkill and Willowemoc will fish best. These are the places that have perfect habitat for the insects that are currently emerging.
In addition to the right river, it is also important to pick the correct water type and time of day. Right now, the insects are emerging from early afternoon right through until dark. The best action is always at dark, as this is normally when insect activity peaks. There is a big difference day to day. Bright sunshine will condense the activity more toward dark, while overcast days often keep the fish feeding right through the day. Over time, days with light rainfall have always proven to be the best with fish rising all day long.
Currently most all of the daytime activity is in or near the riffles and pocket water. The evening hatch activity is always just downstream from these fast-water centers of insect activity. Most of the trout will take up feeding locations in the pools just about where the faster currents dissipate and slow. The really huge trout, however, will be the ones cruising around in the pools’ super-slow lower sections.
If you like chasing big trout, now is your time. The Bug Week period is the best opportunity of the year to get a crack at 20-inch and more, with wild trout actively surface feeding. This week, my guests have been lucky enough to hook up with quite a few of these beasts. Our best this week was a 23-inch brown from the Main Delaware that took a March Brown spinner imitation about an hour before dark.
Top flies for this week: Green Drakes, March Browns, Coffin Flies, White Wulffs and Big Spinners.
Wade safe and good luck!