This wild-looking little thing completely puzzled me. At first I was thinking beetle or month larva, until I got a look at the pictures on the computer screen. I made a couple of incorrect guesses before entomologist Greg Courtney pointed me in the right direction with Psychodidae. He suggested a possible genus of Thornburghiella, but could not rule out some other members of the tribe Pericomini.
On certain rivers in late summer the Ephoron mayflies gives new meaning to the words "blizzard-like hatch," because their large white bodies give a true snowstorm appearance to their enveloping swarms. This is the most intense aquatic insect hatch of the year in places, and sometimes the flies are so thick that it's hard to get a trout to find one's imitation among the carpet of real insects on the water.
Ephoron leukon is most important species in the East and Ephoron album in the West. They overlap in the Midwest. These are the only two mayflies of this genus recognized in the United States, but Caucci and Nastasi in Hatches II report inspecting specimens which did not fit the description of either species.
Jmd123 on Aug 3, 2007August 3rd, 2007, 9:53 am EDT
Hey folks, what would you recommend as an imitation of these guys? They're hatching furiously in the Huron River in/near Ann Arbor, MI (smallmouth are leaping out of the water to eat them). How about a Light Cahill or White Wulff? Both have been major producers for me on other streams with white mayfly hatches in summer (e.g., Rifle River). If anyone has a particular recipe that works for them, I'd like to know. Thanks!
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
Wiflyfisher on Aug 3, 2007August 3rd, 2007, 11:04 am EDT
I have never fished smallmouth during the E. luekon hatch, just trout. I have always found during the start of the hatch and near the end being more productive for catching trout. In the middle of the hatch it is a total blizzard and the trout are really keyed into the insects and feeding in narrow feeding lanes. At this time I find it easier to catch a flying bat than most of the feeding trout. :-)
That said, I have never done well on a nymph pattern (these are burrowers with feathery gills) that don't show themselves until ready to hatch into duns. I have had success on an emerger type pattern with some sparkle (antron nylon fibers) and a trailing nymph case fished just below the film. I have found white-colored dun patterns fairly useless because these flies pop so fast off of the water.
My best success has been when the trout have switched to sipping in spinners and using the the moonlight to see the little sipping rings. Some of the smallest looking rings have turned out to be very large brown trout. The spinners I tie have real white colored bodies and a good quality hackle for the spent wings, trimmed top and bottom.
JOHNW on Aug 4, 2007August 4th, 2007, 11:33 am EDT
The Smallie guys I know tend toward white poppers, sliders or skipping minows during the E. Leukon hatch on the Susquehanna. The thinking being the big bass are going to be eating the smaller bass and bait that are eating the flies. The other thought is to impart motion to the fly during the heaviest portion of the fall so as to make you fly stand out from the rest.
Trout patterns are very simple a white comparadun and an all polypro spinner are all I carry and have had little difficulty with selectiveness.
My larger problem has to deal with breathing during such an intense hatch. I learned the hard way that you NEVER turn on you head lamp when the white fly is on.
"old habits are hard to kill once you have gray in your beard" -Old Red Barn
Martinlf on Aug 5, 2007August 5th, 2007, 8:21 am EDT
Use of larger imitations are excellent strategies also, and they may often get the attention of the bigger bass. It may depend on a number of conditions. I've talked to guys who preferred the mayfly imitations, and who claimed at times they worked best. I'd carry both the flies JohnW recommends--you can never go wrong with what he suggests--and some Wulffs and Cahills, just in case.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"
Martinlf on Aug 8, 2007August 8th, 2007, 2:59 am EDT
A recent stream report on the PAFlyfish.com forum describes an evening trip to the Susquehanna in which the angler had no luck with bigger flies and seemed to have to switch to a Wulff fished drag free to hook up.
DarkDun on Sep 25, 2007September 25th, 2007, 12:13 pm EDT
I have always thought that a very LONG HACKLED White Mller fly
would work very well. I have several in my fly box that I want to try if I run into the Ephoron again. About a size 12 or 14 should be right. I have fished it in PA, Wis, and Mo. with varied success using cream fuzzy emergers size 12 and got slashing srikes with few hookups.
In Missouri I used the LH White Miller and had better success. Need to experiment with that fly.
Does anyone know if the White Fly hatches in NC, where I now call home.
Gene on Sep 25, 2007September 25th, 2007, 4:48 pm EDT
For a good dry fly trick use a large White Bivisible! The reasons are that it floats rather well and you can distinguish it among all the flies on the water a little bit better. It works for trout and it will sometimes work better than so called good imitations because it follows the "match theory" close enough to the naturals but different enough for the fish to pick it out!