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Wind Knots &Tailing Loops (Pyramids & Ice Cream Cones Revisited)

Posted on July 23 2023

The WNST won their first game and the sour cherry jam came out just fine. Time to answer some questions.

Jack -  Says he has to clean algae off his little sulfur flies every third cast. Either Jack is very good at dodging algae with his dry flies or he is making two casts out of three with algae on them. I check before every cast. Seriously, the algae above Hale Eddy is bad this year. It is probably a good idea, given the pressure in the "Sulfur Zone" to give serious thought to fishing the last couple hours of the day down river where at least you can cast sulfurs without turning them into olives.

Ed Smith - Wonders why the sulfurs are so inconsistent this year. So do I, and everyone else. Water temp is the biggest factor. The Doretha's like to hatch when the water reaches the low 50's, which depends on the amount of sunshine, smoke and rainwater. The number of bugs hatching and the length of the daily hatch I would suppose depends on how successful the sulfurs were mating last year and how many have survived the year in the pool you are fishing.

Dennis - Wants to know which fly rod is best for dry fly fishing, fast or medium action? I own several fast action rods that I use for bone fishing where engaging an approaching school of bones as far out and as quickly as possible is important. Delicate presentations and accurate 20 foot casts are not in their wheelhouse. I've said many times my Winston IM6 is put together and strung up from the first trout trip of April until the last pseudo hatch of November. It provides me with the ability to cast flies with reasonable accuracy from up close to distances where I'm not sure if my eye is even on the right fly. Sadly most rods are purchased after they are tried out in the fly shop's parking lot where distance seems to be the only criteria for purchase. Dennis also wanted to know how many kinds of browns there are in the Delaware. For sure there aren't enough dumb ones.

Brian - Hats off to you for, (on further review), ferreting out my attempt to compare the ideal trout population in a trout stream (a pyramid), where the numbers of fish in each year class decreases each year with fingerlings and yearlings the most numerous at the base of the pyramid and the biggest and fewest fish at the top of the pyramid. What we presently have in the Delaware in an inverted pyramid (an ice cream sugar cone if you will). The river is top heavy with big fish and while they are no doubt producing lots of fry, they (and the Mergansers) are busy eating them up for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It's been going on for the last two years and due to the fact that browns live a long time, is likely to go on for several more years. It's not good for the river system no matter how much you enjoy catching those 18 inchers. 

Brian- Also wanted to know if yearling trout were an easier, safer meal than sulfurs. I don't know how easy it is for a big trout to catch a yearling but they can and they do. Just think how many sulfurs are floating around in the Delaware with hooks in them vs how many streamers that look like a brown trout are being thrown. Given that a trout would have to eat maybe a thousand (or more) sulfurs without making a mistake vs eating one yearling trout it's not hard to see why they change their diet as soon as the big bug season is over.

The Merganser issue (and they're bad this year) is a lengthy and complicated one that I'll try to tackle at some future date.



  • Brian: July 24, 2023

    Thank you for answering my questions with additional insight. Always entertaining and educational!

  • Dennis 2: July 23, 2023

    Whatever happened to West Nile Virus? Was it too dry in June to build up enough of the disease carrying mosquitos?

  • Jack: July 23, 2023

    Thanks for your much appreciated comments.
    Would you suggest going all the way down to the game lands, or is the Hale Eddy bridge access sufficient?

  • Darryl Bogart: July 23, 2023

    Angler119,I read your work everyday. Watching the Mergansers eat trout after trout all day long.Please let the drift boat guys shoot them in the fall. Too many for our river system. Darryl Bogart

  • Ed Smith: July 23, 2023

    Angler119- Thanks for your feedback . Most appreciated. Enjoy the rest of the weekend. Ed Smith

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