The factors for a good stonefly hatch usually include consecutive, sunny days with air temps above 45 degrees. Prior to the recent snow storm, stoneflies began hatching in small numbers on the warmer days. Now the temps have risen again to optimal conditions and midges, blackflies, and stoneflies are hatching. On the 6th I spotted numerous flying stonefly adults, found four crawling on my waders, and a few dozen more after searching around some logjams. I saw a dozen splashy rises over an hour, when the occasional lumbering stonefly landed on the water. The fish were definitely more active under the surface than in recent weeks, so I continued catching nice browns on nymphs, without trying a dry. Angler reports from the 7th include sightings of stoneflies, midges and rising trout. I briefly filmed a few stoneflies, and included one last look (hopefully) at a winter snow storm.
Water temps are colder closer to Prettyboy, as I took a 39 degree temp midday at the base of the dam on the 6th. The temps at Masemore hovered around 40 degrees, while York Road water temps rose to 43 degrees. Consider exploring areas farther down river, but areas of the lower river, from the Gas Line through Phoenix RD, are CLOSED until Opening Day, March 28th. Anglers should also be aware that the Falls Rd and Masemore accesses have thick growths of Didymo like we saw last Spring. The “Rock Snot” is prevalent on the bottom from the bridge to the dam, and anglers nymphing these stretches are expressing frustration due to the algae frequently fouling the hook. Last Spring the thick growths were greatly reduced by either the warming of water temps or a higher release, or a combination of both.