Finally after years of drought the Blue Ridge Mountains experienced a very wet spring with some areas receiving almost 10 inches during the month of May. The rain of the spring has provided excellent stream water levels for the beginning of the summer.
High water contains more oxygen and maintains a cooler temperature which keeps trout active throughout the day. June provides a very diverse offering of insects and forage for trout so it is important to keep a fly box full of various patterns and imitations. Aquatic insects are still going to be the most important food source for trout until they are over taken by terrestrials later in the summer.
Yellow Sally stoneflies are prolific on small streams and are usually between sizes 14-18. Yellow mayflies are also very common this time of year with the vast majority being around a 14 or 16 hook size. Sulpher Parachutes, Yellow Humpies, and PMD patterns can all fool trout feeding on these bright mayflies.
Caddis flies are also around during the month of June and can be many colors. Gray, tan, and olive elk hair caddis patterns in size 12-16 are very productive patterns. As for the nymphs of the species mentioned, patterns include copper john (all sizes), pheasant tails (12-20), micro stone (16-18), prince nymph (14-18), and micro mayflies (18-20). There have also been some large stone flies around sometimes over three inches long. If the water is muddy or you are hunting big fish black and golden stone patterns 8-10 will be a good option.
Terrestrials begin to play an important role in a trout’s diet this month. We have been seeing a very large amount of large black ants on the rocks. Ants can be incredible patterns for finicky trout unwilling to take larger patterns. Both flying and standard ants in size 12 to 16 are available in red and black.
Japanese Beetles usually begin to show up the middle of this month and can provide very good dry fly fishing with large flies. Beetle patterns from size 10 to size 14 work well to imitate the Japanese and other species of beetles in the area. Also inch worms will begin falling out of the trees starting around this time so a few green meanies in sz 12 or 14 should be in your box. We have already started catching fish on this pattern so some of the fish remember them from last year.
For those only worried about large fish, high water provides the best streamer fishing. Large fish feed heavily on smaller fish and flies that imitate them draw the biggest strikes. Wooly Buggers in sz 8, 10, 12 and in olive, black, and brown all work very well. Most streamer patterns will work on our streams but the wooly bugger is the most popular pattern.