Autumn On The EB

Autumn On The EB

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Sulphurs And The Swift

"I have fished through fishless days that I remember happily without regret" Roderick Haig-Brown

Photo by Thomas Ames, Jr.

It is the premier MAYFLY found on the Swift River and its June/mid July appearance is anticipated above all other mayflies including the hendricksons and the scattered BWO hatches. It's numbers can be astounding one year and just "GOOD" on another year but it rarely fails us.

Ephemerella Dorothea is the name that Thomas Ames uses and I do too although some may want to split hairs over WHICH sulphur is really hatching. Don't worry about it because the difference in the different species it too small to care about. Sizes 14 through 18 in standard dressings will get the job done.

The nymph of this species loves the riffles found in places like the riffles above the Gauge Run. There have been many June mornings where I've seen bankside spider webs LOADED with sulphur duns and spinners from the Gauge downstream. But the greatest numbers that I've seen are down in Bondsville. On a mid day last June every trout that I took was stuffed to the gills with sulphur nymphs yet they continued to chase my fly. My Fly?? A Partridge and Yellow or Partridge and Olive swung just below the surface was all that was needed.

Why would Bondsville have greater numbers of this insect (in my opinion) than the Route 9 area? The answer is that it has a good riffle environment and it has water that is a bit warmer and more fertile than the waters upstream. It's strange but Bondsville is always overlooked. A big mistake!!!

So they started stocking just in time for a Northeaster!!!!



Jim C. said...


I found Bondsville because of your blog and I enjoy the solitude of the place.

Jim C.

Parachute Adams said...

I'm with Jim. Not as many fish being it is year round catch and keep, but I can always find a run to fish in that agrees with my idea of fishing solitude, and I connect once in a while.

Ken, I am glad I'm not the only one with sulphurs in mind right now. A customer and friend from Pennsylvania is going to show me the ropes on the Yellow Breeches in late May when I am next in that area. They have good sulphur hatches there and I have been tying flies with that in mind.

A nice outing to think about on this cold March night with the impending Nor'easter on Tuesday.


Brk Trt said...

Those May evenings....first we deal with the nor'easter.

Millers River Flyfisher said...


Get yourself a copy of "The Modern Dry Fly Code" by Vince Marinaro if you're going to fish the Breeches. It will get you in the mood!!

Brk Trt,

At least the snow will not last at this time of year.


Parachute Adams said...

I have that book, Ken! I bought it in 1973 as a teen ager when I joined one of the outdoor book clubs back then. I'll bring it with me on the plane on Tuesday, if I get out that is.


Hibernation said...

Ken that's a great strategy. To often, if I fish nymphs during Sulpher times, I lure myself into using some sort of pretty little thing and get all tricky with a long leader etc... The simplicity of drifting and swining a spider is awesome. I need to remember this post in a few months :)

Have you seen much for sulphers on the Millers the past few years? Dont know if I just missed it or what. I can remember years ago around Wendell Depot seeing massive hatches of hunter orange colored sulphers (I assume that's what they were)... But I feel like the past 5 years or so, I just havent seen that. Could just be timing... But your post got me curious if you have seen any change there - or if I've just missed it!

Millers River Flyfisher said...


I will not let you forget this post. SH flies are my go to sub surface fly on any river (note: pheasant tails too!!)

Sulphurs on the Millers: I guess that I do remember them but not like the Swift. I remember Cahills on the Millers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Andrew said...

Reading some of your wonderful past blog posts (eg July 19, 2015) about soft hackle flies such as the Partridge and Orange, I thought of you and your readers when I read this piece on soft hackle flies at The New Fly Fisher: