Autumn On The EB

Autumn On The EB

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

The Isonychia - A Mid Summer Hatch

We have to think seriously about conservation now, although it is chilling to realize there are catch and release fishermen alive today who don't know how to clean and fry a fish Jobn Gierach

Photo by Thomas Ames, Jr.

Years ago I was fishing the Miller's Upper Trestle Pool deep into a mid Summer evening enjoying the dry fly action that this pool is noted for. As the sun became a memory and the moon began to rise I began to notice a rather dark, large mayfly in the air and also on the water. A specimen flew in front of me and I grabbed it, mangling it in the process. Even with the wrecked sample I knew what it was - a Leadwing Coachman, AKA Isonychia!!

The late Bob Rouleau, a great fly tyer and friend of the Millers, said that the leadwing coachman was the go-to wet fly on the Millers back in the 1930's and 1940's. It was the wet fly that is important because of the way this fly hatches. It thinks its a stonefly or a damselfly because of it's habit of crawling out of the water onto rocks and such to hatch. It's not like other mayflies that ride the surface and fly away although it can occasionally be seen doing just that.

Thomas Ames says that this is a season long hatch but I've only seen them in mid and late summer at nightfall. The Millers has them BUT the EB is loaded with them as evidenced by the nymph casings found all over the river in late August.

You can fish a leadwing coachman if you want but I prefer a robust pheasant tail nymph fished with short, quick strips. This nymph likes to swim and swim quickly!!
photo by Thomas Ames, Jr.

Although this fly hatches on stream side rocks a grey bodied comparadun in a size 12 cast upstream in fading light will bring the fish up.



Anonymous said...


I think I've seen that nymph case on the EB like you said but I've never seen the insect. guess it hatches at night.


Millers River Flyfisher said...

It seems that it is an evening/late night hatch but I have seen the insect fitting this description after dusk. Same thing I think.


Anonymous said...

On a cold March day, I was just looking at your blog, with dreams of future trout fishing swimming in my head. Then I noted your offer to send a emailed version of your Millers River Fly Fishing Guide. Now that would really give me a nice fishing distraction.

Many thanks for your efforts. Your blog is the best running commentary of mid-State trout fishing out there. Keep it up.

Many thanks


Anonymous said...

Hi Ken,

I really have enjoyed reading your blog ever since I stumbled upon it a couple of years ago. I typically fish in central mass with the occasional trip to the swift and wanted to try the millers this year. Could you please send me your millers guide?

Thanks, and keep up the good work!


Millers River Flyfisher said...

Jim and Ryan,

I'm glad that you enjoy the blog. The Millers Fly Fishing Guide is yours! 30 years of fly fishing experience on this river is yours including weekly blog updates. You can't find it anywhere else!!


Parachute Adams said...

I enjoy seeing the insect pictures, Ken. They give me ideas on flies to tie and perhaps different ways to imitate them.

Regards, Sam

Anonymous said...

I recieved "the millers guide" three years ago and it was extremely helpful. I live two hours away and I hit the Millers three times a year max. So, having an idea of where to park and gain access as well as other tips has been very well appreciated.

Re: Isonychia, I've seen these casings over the years, never thought much of them, I thought maybe some other stone fly. Now I know better!


Falsecast said...

Getting ready to head out into some high water!

For you guys that like looking at unbelievable underwater bug (and trout) pics.

Happy Easter to those of you that celebrate!

BobT said...

My late father would have attested to the Leadwing Coachman on the Millers, it was his favorite fly for a long time and thought it worked particularly well on both the Millers and the Ware. I fish wets often but never a LWC...time to get on the vise.

Millers River Flyfisher said...

Falsecast (Andrew),

Thank you!

Bob T,

You and I have some tying to do. Thank you for the comment!!