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OrrickOutdoors  
#1 Posted : Tuesday, March 14, 2017 9:08:31 AM(UTC)
OrrickOutdoors
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Location: St. Paul

A quick report and a question:
Hit the Rush yesterday near El Paso. River a bit high but clear. Zebra nymph behind a pink squirrel did the trick early when it was still cold. Light takes on the zebra but they hammered the pink squirrel. By 2 pm a solid hatch was on in sunny tailwaters. Impressive activity on the surface. Some sippers, some splashers. Nymphs went dead and I switched to a tenkara fly vaguely resembling a small comparadun. Solid action. I'm convinced a dry would have worked.
Here's my question: What was hatching? I'm no entomologist but there were more than just midges. I swear I saw a scattering of duns that sure as heck looked like mayfly wings sticking way up from the film. None were taking flight and I never snatched one up close to examine. And I got cold from all the fish handling and had to go. Air temps never got above 25. Dunno water temps. Didn't bring a thermometer.
I thought it was too early - and still too cold - for blue winged olives. Right? What could it have been? Thanks.
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William Schlafer  
#2 Posted : Tuesday, March 14, 2017 9:43:21 AM(UTC)
William Schlafer
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No, it's not too early for BWOs.

A few weeks ago when it was quite warm I saw what could've been BWOs flying around, and there were a few Trout eating something on the surface. As I understand it, Blue Wing Olives are an all season bug and will hatch whenever conditions are right. Although this time of year sub-surface flies are likely to produce much better.

Midges are common in the late winter months, as are Stoneflies. Black Caddis should start appearing in the coming weeks as winter loses it's grip.


-Bill
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Gurth  
#3 Posted : Tuesday, March 14, 2017 10:05:19 AM(UTC)
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Not a fly fisherman (yet), so don't know what was hatching on Saturday, but the stream I was on was active most of the day with little flies being gulped at the surface.
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rschmidt  
#4 Posted : Tuesday, March 14, 2017 2:08:40 PM(UTC)
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I have only seen midges so far. Stoneflies are usually swarming for the first few weeks of warmer temps 40+ I did see emergers from the sand too tho, not sure what they were. R
shebs  
#5 Posted : Tuesday, March 14, 2017 2:55:34 PM(UTC)
shebs
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I've heard talk of BWOs hatching in SE MN already, so it may have been? I've seen small mayfly looking bugs on various streams already, but that was during our "spring in February".

I know for certain that the Rush was running 38 degrees as of Saturday before the fresh snow, and was slightly high and only very barely off color. Likely it was warmer for you, provided the snow hadn't started melting yet. I'm not a bug guy, so I don't know if there's a particular water temp that starts the hatch, but that's my 2 cents.

Edited by user Tuesday, March 14, 2017 2:59:11 PM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

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jimmynotjim  
#6 Posted : Tuesday, March 14, 2017 3:07:03 PM(UTC)
jimmynotjim
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I was at Big Mill Creek in Iowa on Sunday and saw similar activity. Light takes on a zebra midges followed by lots of surface activity on what looked like large black mayflies, about size 14. I'm new to the area, and had never seen such dark duns before, but after searching a bit online I'm convinced they're Black Quills. The darkest thing I had in that size was an Adams and even that wasn't dark enough to convince any to take and as soon as the hatch picked up the sub-surface midges stopped producing. I'm going to try and tie some up in hopes they return the next time I make it out.
AKinMN  
#7 Posted : Tuesday, March 14, 2017 4:11:55 PM(UTC)
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jimmynotjim wrote:
I was at Big Mill Creek in Iowa on Sunday and saw similar activity. Light takes on a zebra midges followed by lots of surface activity on what looked like large black mayflies, about size 14. I'm new to the area, and had never seen such dark duns before, but after searching a bit online I'm convinced they're Black Quills. The darkest thing I had in that size was an Adams and even that wasn't dark enough to convince any to take and as soon as the hatch picked up the sub-surface midges stopped producing. I'm going to try and tie some up in hopes they return the next time I make it out.


Stoneflies

Edited by user Tuesday, March 14, 2017 4:13:41 PM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

jimmynotjim  
#8 Posted : Tuesday, March 14, 2017 5:39:17 PM(UTC)
jimmynotjim
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Joined: 1/29/2017(UTC)
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Location: Western Illinois

I don't know, these had upturned wings and split tails and we're rising off from the center of the creek rather than crawling up to the edges. If they were stoneflies they're unlike any I had growing up.
OrrickOutdoors  
#9 Posted : Tuesday, March 14, 2017 10:35:22 PM(UTC)
OrrickOutdoors
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Location: St. Paul

Thanks for the replies guys. After a few more consultations, I think they prolly were BWOs, just a bit early -- and not crazy-early I guess. I tracked down that MNDNR hatch chart - http://files.dnr.state.mn.us/areas/fisheries/lanesboro/se_mn_hatches_080405.pdf - and it looks like it's not really that far off.
Mine were definitely not stoneflies either. Nothing was crawling on rocks, just hatching all over the water.
West Branch  
#10 Posted : Wednesday, March 15, 2017 6:41:29 AM(UTC)
West Branch
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Joined: 9/23/2012(UTC)
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Location: West Branch, IA

Even on a warm January day BWOs can hatch in surprising numbers. There isn't a month on the calendar when at least a few olives aren't hatching, though during harsh winters I doubt much goes on when the temperatures stay low for weeks at a time. The warm February this year produced lots of hatch activity in Iowa. Little black stoneflies have been out in great numbers, but I have yet to see much response to them on the surface. A prince nymph fished along the bottom produced 40+ fish for my buddy one day last week while the stones were fluttering around. Besides the stoneflies, I've seen lots midges up to a size 16, occasional brief hatches of BWOs, and even a few scattered caddis.

It's been more than a week since I've been out and things can change pretty quickly this time of year. Given the mild winter and some freakishly warm days in February, nothing would surprise me. I've had some stellar days nymphing so far this year, but surface activity on my beat has been pretty sparse. I'm really looing forward to a good day of dry fly fishing.
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