Hatches of Nova Scotia

What a tourist terms a plague of insects, the fly-fisher calls a great hatch ... Patrick F. McManus

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Fly Pattern
April
May
June
July
Aug.
Sep.
Size
Habitat
Time
Alternative Patterns & comments
              
Early Black Stonefly                  
16/18
Riffle
All day
Spring stone
               
Early Brown Stonefly              
14
Moderate
Morning
              
Black Quill (1)                  
12/14
Riffle
Midday
Blue Upright, Quill Gordon, Black Gnat
              
Tiny Black Caddis                       
20
Riffle
All day
              
Hendrickson                  
12/14
Riffle
Afternoon
Red Quill, Lady Beaverkill
              
Dark Hendrickson                  
12/14
Riffle
Afternoon
Red Quill
              
Little Marryatt                   
14/18
Riffle
Afternoon
Sulphur Dun, Pale Watery Dun, Light Hendrickson
              
 
Black Caddis                   
16/18
All
Midday
              
Dragonfly nymph (2)                   
10 (3x)
All
Midday
Blades dragonfly nymph, Superfly brown dragon nymph
               
Damselfly nymph (2)                    
10 (3x)
All
Midday
Dave's Damsel, Marabou Damsel
              
Blue Winged Olive (3)                   
14/16
Moderate
Midday
              
Elk Hair Caddis (4)            
14/18
All
All day
Cinnamon Caddis, Little Olive Caddis (Little sister sedge)
               
Green Sedge            
14/18
Riffle
Afternoon
Green rock worm
              
March Brown                   
10/12
Riffle
Afternoon
              
Grey Fox                   
12/14
Riffle
Afternoon
Light Cahill
              
Light Cahill (5)                       
12/14
All
Evening
Grey Fox
              
Little Green Stonefly                          
16
All
Afternoon
              
Yellow Sally Stonefly                          
14
All
Afternoon
              
Litobrancha sp (8)                       
10 (3x)
Slow
Evening
Great green drake
              
Dobsonfly (6)                       
8 (3x)
All
Evening
Reg's Hellgrammite Nymph
              
Golden Stone                  
8/10
All
Evening
              
Cranefly (7)                  
8-12
Slow
Midday
Spiders and variants
              
Slate Winged Olive                  
14/16
Moderate
Afternoon
              
Tiny blue winged olive              
22/24
Moderate
Afternoon
              
Mahogany Dun              
16
Riffle
Afternoon
Cahill Quill, Light Blue Quill, Housatonic Quill
              
Trico      
22/26
Slow
Morning
Black or white body
              
Terrestrials      
8/18
All
All day
Ants and hoppers
              
Hexagenia sp. (8)                   
10 (3x)
Lake
Evening
Hexagenia paradun, Michigan mayfly
              
Fly Pattern
April
May
June
July
Aug.
Sep.
Size
Habitat
Time
Alternative Patterns & comments


Click here for a printable version of this chart.  IMPORTANT.  Before you print make sure that the Page Setup (under File on the Firefox or Explorer menu) is set to Print Background (otherwise you will not get the hatch chart bars). And in Google Chrome it is under Print>Options>Background colours and images.

Notes :

1. This is the early Nova Scotia mayfly. At the end of this hatch watch out for the blackflies.
My favourite is a chocolate-brown bodied parachute with dark dun legs and tail.
Other patterns, in appropriate colours, used for mayflies are the Usual, Haystack and Comparadun.

2. Dragonfly and Damselfly adults occasionally fall to the water, the nymphs would be the main source of food. The nymphs can be fished all year.

3. Blue Winged Olives are encountered at various times from their first major hatch until closing day.

4. Tom Lee (see  Tom's Bakers Dozen  ) recommends that deer hair should be used in place of elk hair for the wing. Body colours are olive, cinnamon or tan. The CDC caddis works well for both the adult and emerger stage. A green bodied Klinkhamer is a great imitation of a caddis pupa/emerger. Fish dry on the drift and wet on the retrieve.

5. Light Cahills are encountered at various times from their first major hatch until closing day.

6. Dobsonflys or Hellgrammites. Peak time for fishing the larva is the month of April.

7. Cranefly larva can be fished all year. They are burrowers and can be found after run-offs. Suitable patterns would be the Giant cranefly larva or Dave's cranefly larva.

8. Most pattern books specify the Green Drake as the Ephemera Guttulata. However, the only "Green Drake" mayfly found in the paper entitled Influence of water ph on certain invertebrates during lake surveys in Nova Scotia - Peterson, R.H., belongs to the Hexagenia species. The well-known species is the Hexagenia Limbata, the lesser-known being the Litobrancha Recurvata (formerly Hexagenia Recurvata). The two tails are what distinguishes these flies from other species of drakes. Both flies are known locally as green drakes, brown drakes or grey drakes. Body colours vary from a tannish-brown to a pale yellow. An appropriate hackle would be grizzly dyed yellow or yellow mixed with brown.

9. I have produced a web page which cross references common fly names to taxonomic names. It was created by compiling twelve hatch charts, available on the web, plus many other sources.

My thanks to Bob Lundy for allowing me the use of his hatch chart design.  And to quote Bob ... "Hatches are not defined by the Hatch Charts, but rather the converse. Hatches are driven by all sorts of forces in nature: timing, water and air temperatures, water level and flow, light levels, probably barometric pressure. Quite frankly, the bugs couldn't give a cat's whisker about what it says on our Hatch Charts." (sad to say that Bob passed away in 2006 and his site is no longer online)

A special thanks to all my fishing buddies, especially Bob and Reg, for their input. And a very special thanks to Nelson Watson and Andrew Hebda at the  NS Museum of Natural History  and to Anita Hamilton and the ladies in the library at  DFO.

As Dave Hughes once wrote, .."trout don't speak Latin".. but I had no choice when researching these flies (I'm still baffled by it all).
References ...
Logbooks of myself and other NS fly fishers.
Eastern Woods and Waters
Species distribution of Mayfly nymphs in three stream systems in NS - Peterson, R.H.
Distribution of Stonefly and Caddisfly species in three stream systems in NS - Peterson, R.H.
Distribution of Mayfly, Stonefly and Caddisfly of three maritime catchments - Peterson, R.H.
Distribution of Mayfly nymphs in some streams of eastern Canada - Peterson, R.H. and Johnston, D.J.
Influence of water ph on certain invertebrates during lake survey in NS - Peterson, R.H.
Distribution of Canadian stoneflies - Ricker, W.E.
The Mayflies of Illinois - Burks, B.O. 1953        Matching the hatch - Schwiebert, E.G. 1955
Hatches II - Al Caucci and Bob Nastasi     Hatch Guide for New England Streams - Thomas Ames, Jr.
Wilfid Laurier University   Purdue Dept of Entomolgy   Illinois Natural History Survey   NS Freshwater Entomology
Mayfly Identification Page

I would appreciate knowing if you have used this chart
and whether or not you have any additions or corrections.

Last update Jan 11 2006

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