April Calls for Tan, Cream and Yellow Dry Flies

By Jeff Durniak

April is prime-time for topwater trouting across north Georgia. It’s the height of seasonal hatches for light cahill mayflies and tan caddisflies, and the start of our yellow stonefly hatches, too. Load your box with the right dries from our two Unicoi Outfitters (UO) shops and cash in on the best month of the year. We’ll help you out!

First, the tans. Load up with tan caddis in sizes 14, 16 and 18 to match the hatch of the day. The elk hair caddis is a tried-and-true pattern that works as well here as it does out West. All veteran trouters have some tan caddis in their boxes. When adult caddis are buzzing on or above the water surface, let your fly ride high on its hackles. When they’re first hatching or finally expiring as spent adults, then give your bug a haircut. Grab your scissor/pliers tool and trim the bottom hackles close to the belly of the fly. It will ride lower, in the surface film, just like the real bugs drifting past you.

Next up are the light cahill mayflies. They’ll come on strong at mid-month and often linger into May.  Once again, tie or buy them in sizes 14-18 to imitate the most abundant species (size) during your evening astream. I’ll even carry some flies with tan, cream and pale yellow bodies to match their color shade, too. During the actual hatch event, my dries are sometimes ignored. That’s when I tie on an emerger pattern to match the molting nymphs in the surface film. That pattern is tied as a half-brown nymph on the hook’s rear (abdomen) and the lighter, half-adult mayfly on the front (thorax). A good emerger will save you from a skunking when fish are rising all around you. For both caddis and cahills, prepare for “shrinking” bugs, too. The larger species (#14) typically hatch earlier in the month and are followed by successively smaller insects as April progresses.

Yellow starts showing up at the end of the month. The dominant mayflies are often lightly or strongly colored yellow and are known as sulfurs. Your yellow mayfly dries will vastly outfish the tan and cream versions in your box, so stock up on a few “sulfur” dries, too, to match the hatch. Throw some  #14 yellow stimulators to imitate the golden stonefly adults or to simply stimulate some dry fly eats during the day, when no bugs are hatching. The much smaller yellow sally stones may also flutter and dip eggs, so be ready with #16-18 yellow stimulators or yellow Sally dry flies to cash in on the Sally hatch.

Come to the mountains in April with your tan, cream and yellow bugs and have a big time. Stock up with our UO dry flies and hit the stream at 5 p.m.  Stay past dark and you’ll walk out with a flashlight along with plenty of photos and a big smile to celebrate your success!

For more, see unicoioutfitters.com.

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