There is noting finer, nothing more sporting ,or more serenely classic in fly fishing than the merry month of May and its sulfur mayflies hatching. To watch those amazing yellow sailboats float down a trout stream and watch a wild trout gulp them is a sight for the soul. And to see those yellow snowflakes of spinners dance in the late May evening sunsets are what fairy tales and dreams are made of for a true romantic troutbum.
They are delicate mayflies and fit their “ephemeral” billing perfectly. The British called the lightish Baetis fuscatus: Pale Watery Duns, but they have different applications/meanings depending on locale and rivers. Here across the pond our true sulfurs are the Ephemerella invaria and dorothea- flies of May. The Pale Watery are mayflies that have a lightish yellow tinge though Baetis are more associated with the Blue-winged-olive mayflies. Thus if you look at our Ephemerella invaria, they have that same yellowish-olive hue. Hence any creamy, yellowish mayfly can be called sulfurs and are usually labeled by the average fly fisherman as just that. Since they emerge usually smack in the middle of May generally, they are the true mayfly, whereas the Danica “Mayfly” drake, usually starts at the end of May but can emerge late as June and July, and into August. Sulfurs, as called by Fox ands Marinaro from the limestone legacy days, are an eye catching beauty that can’t be missed like the often very hard to see “white curse”/aka Tricos, or the late night big mayfly emergers of the darkness.
The Sulfur’s yellowish-orange color makes them impossible to ignore as a fly angler and as a hungry trout. They embody all the things so lady-like and gentlemanly about the dry fly pursuit. They appear sporadically throughout the day as tea and crumpets are served streamside, thus the perfect hatch when staying at a riverside estate or lodge in the finest country sporting tradition. Then as the last brandy and cognacs are consumed après-diner, they hatch and spin in the sunsets giving them a poetic and ethereal significance to the fly fishers ceremonial pursuit.
“It is the most fantastic thing in the world to see a cocky blue-winged sulpher (invaria) float downstream, drift into the face of the jam (log jam), bank slowly with the current, and travel along the edge until it breeches the deepest bend of the concave face. There it stops and eddies about for the longest time, turning around and around, the circumference of each revolution becoming a little larger each time, until finally it is seized by the outlying positive currents and carried around the end of the jam and through the narrow gut to the stream below. In this way thousands of duns are paraded in front of the trout, where they obligingly stop, pirouette, and are sampled by a breed of fish who might have read Horace and learned about Roman orgies, for they seem to lean on their elbows and allow the food to fall into their mouths” (Modern Dry Fly Code – Vincent Marinaro)
I fell in love with the sulfurs on the hallowed waters of the Letrort Spring Run when I spent a decade in my younger Washington, D.C. years as a hotelier. Back then I would live the days to chase their wild browns each weekend as my retreat to save my mind and soul from the urban madness. I cherish those days having been blessed with the acquaintance and tutelage with the two masters I owe so much to: Vince Marinaro and Ed Shenk. These two late masters showed my a deeper world of the trout and the fly than I would ever imagine. And today their spirit is alive and well in Hallowed Waters Journal. Honoring the dead and the masters before us is maybe not the cool hip gig of the YouTube world, but with all things pure and real authenticity just lends itself to the “cred” so much more beautifully and adds so many more exciting layers to our journey.
In our “Sulphur Chronicles” exposé and complete manifesto on the intricacies of this super hatch, besides the invaria and dorothea we look at the many yellow mayfly cousins like Epeorus, PMD’S , Heptagenia and Stenonema that add to the mix. We do an analyses of the various stages of the hatch, the tactical approach, the killer fly patterns needed for success and so much more. We start in New York state with Matt DeLorenzo from the Hungry Trout on the hallowed waters of the famous Ausable and other iconic freestoners in the Adirondacks/Catskills as he discuses these freestone mountain waters and the fine tactical approaches needed for them.
Then its off to the iconic Pennsylvania limestone spring creeks of the Cumberland and Happy Valleys with the modern deans that are continuing the limestone legacy -Tommy Baltz and Dave Rothrock. Here they describe the cult-like following the Sulphur and drakes have in the month of May from the Yellow Breeches and Letrort; to State College’s legendary Spring and Spruce creeks, along with the Little Juniata.
Finally we go big tailwater Sulphur magic with Patrick Fulkrod on his wild brown trout filled South Holston in Tennessee and Virginia. Tailwaters like the Delaware in the Catskills and others around the world are the ideal habitat for the sulfur mayflies since they are full of the icy cold water, vegetation and gravel and sand they love so much.
In this our best issue yet, the 264 luscious pages of the spring/summer issue is packed full of mayfly magic. Hallowed Waters Journal is dedicated to bringing you content and eye candy images that reveal the true heart and soul of why we fly fish and the natural journey of the hallowed waters, flies and the trout/salmon/steelhead that tease us to venture into their realm. Hallowed Waters is what we have lost in today’s fast past frenzied world of skimming only the shallow surface of the total fly fishing passion. A journey and obsseeion for the true troutbum that was born in history, science and the joys of the natural world , one that delves into a realm which is so much needed today to bring heart and soul to the total vibe that fly fishing provides. Hallowed Waters treats our passion differently than just another trendy action sport- it’s a lifestyle journey that is begging you to explore it.
To explore this hatch that will consume us from May/ June, until well into July and into fall on the ice cold multi-brood tailwaters of the Catskills and spring creeks of Montana come to https://www.hallowedwaters.com…your passion and journey will never be the same…subscribe today!