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Drake fishing in the "drift boat era".

Posted on June 25 2019

On the 17th of June I fished to happy trout slurping up drake duns (both green and brown) without a care in the world. Three days later on the 20th I said if you are going to fish the drakes you needed to bring your "a game". Today I went back to the UE. The drakes are still hatching (along with just about any other fly you care to name). But at least for a dry fly fisherman, the fish are now virtually uncatchable (during the hatch).

Why? Fish are smarter than most people give them credit for being.
Just before the hatch started the rains came and the UE became floatable.
Fishermen (both waders and floaters flock to the UE when the drakes are "on".

Long Flat is loaded with big fish, and has a fisherman's parking area and access path. It's not unusual to see a dozen cars there during the drake hatch. Same (to a slightly lesser extent) for the power line pool just upstream. It has always been hard to catch fish in these two pools during the drakes. Other pools above and below might require a longer walk but often provided more opportunities to catch fish.

Enter the "Drift Boat Era" and things changed dramatically. If there is enough water drift boaters flock to the UE during the drake hatch. Because drifters float through the entire area where the drakes are hatching, no fish get a free pass. If a fish rises he is thrown at (by each passing boat). The trout, feeling the pain,change their eating habits. Those nasty duns with the sharp hooks are spurned in favor of the emerging nymphs which have far fewer hooks in them. I haven't stayed for the spinner falls where fish have to eat on top. I imagine fishermen throwing spinners get a few then, but I'm sure it's a perfect cast with a well tied fly that gets the job done.

Sometimes I'm frustrated by the number of people (and boats) on the Delaware system. But I love the challenge of catching the most difficult fish I have ever fished to.


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