Stream Information
(last updated 5/6/17)


Tan Caddis, #14-16, pupa and adult patterns

Olive Caddis, #16-18, pupa and adult patterns

Pheasant Tail nymph, #16 and smaller

Blue Wing Olive, emerger and dun, #18-22

Rusty Spinner, #18-22

Big Sulphur (E. invaria), nymph, emerger, dun and spinner, #14-16

Little Sulphur (E. dorothea), nymph, emerger, dun and spinner, #16-18

Light Cahill, nymph, emerger, dun and spinner, #12-14

March Brown, nymph, wet fly, and dun #12-14

Gray Fox, nymph, wet fly and dun #12-14

Craneflies, #16

Walt’s Worm, #16-20

Olive Zebra Midge, #16 and smaller

Black Zebra Midge, #16 and smaller

Al’s Rat, #22

Griffith’s Gnat, #22-26

Various midge patterns, adults and pupae, #20 and smaller

Carpenter ants, dry or wet, sizes 14-18 (starting late May)


May is the peak month for insect hatches on our local streams.  The Tan Caddis and Olive Caddis, along with the Big and Little Sulphurs, are the stars of this show.  Plan to be well-prepared with patterns to match each life cycle stage for these important hatches.

A visit to the Ridley Creek Fly Stretch on May 3 found the stream at good, average mid-spring conditions of level and clarity.  The water temperature at 10:30 a. m. was 63 degrees.  I fished from about 9:30 until around 11:45 and had the upper end of the fly stretch all to myself.

Many adult midges were spotted on the rocks between The Falls and Flat Rock Pool.  These were blackish, size 18 to 20.  There were a few Tan Caddis in the air. 

The weather was sunny, breezy, and comfortably cool upon arrival.  Clouds increased steadily, and the wind became more blustery.  The surface of the water was littered with catkins and other “tree dirt,” which made cleaning one’s fly a frequent necessity.

There was no surface activity evident for the first hour.  I decided to fish an in-line tandem rig consisting of a size 18 Starling & Herl wet fly behind a size 14 olive caddis emerger.  Two small shot were added to the leader.  One trout was hooked but not landed by swinging this rig in the Flat Rock Pool.

I worked down toward the Bridge Pool, and once there I fished the same rig below an indicator.  Around 10:30 the fish became more active, with some surface rises.  Four average Rainbow Trout were landed, and a few others missed or lost.

It seemed late in the game to switch to a dry fly, so I fished a weighted black Woolly Bugger for the last few minutes.  I picked up one more trout, a slightly larger Rainbow, to finish out the morning.

Early in May, especially when weather is cool, hatching activity will occur primarily during the afternoon.  Prime fishing time will gradually shift to the evening hours as temperatures rise, especially on sunny days.  Being in the right place, at the right time, can be a critically important factor in fishing success.

By this point in the season, the stocked trout that remain in our streams have learned to feed on natural foods.  Attractor patterns like Woolly Buggers, Weenies, San Juan Worms and so forth can still work, but when trout are actively targeting insects the successful angler will be ready to “match the hatch.”

Our suburban streams have been negatively impacted by extensive development in their watersheds and do not have the great variety of aquatic insect species present in more pristine locales.  Tolerant species such as midges and craneflies therefore take on much greater importance.  It’s wise to be prepared for selectivity to these hatches, which are easy to overlook when showier insects are in the air and on the water.

Terrestrial patterns will become a factor some time in May, usually toward the end of the month.  As soon as you’re seeing ants and beetles in your yard, they will also start turning up along the streams.  Be ready.  Trout that have been worked over with aquatic insect patterns may be more receptive to something different--like  an ant.


 Trout stocking by the Fish & Boat Commission ended in late-April for Ridley Creek and other Delaware County streams.  Some Chester County streams will be stocked on May 8 or 9; check the Commission’s website for details or call The Sporting Gentleman.




Various Woolly Buggers and other streamers, #4-10

Cork or foam poppers and sliders, #4-8

Unweighted soft hackle wet flies, #10-12


Warmwater fishing continues to improve this month as increasing day length and warmer temperatures bring fish into spawning condition.  Male bass and sunfish are now establishing territories and will soon be building nests which they will defend aggressively.  Locations with an attractive water depth and bottom composition will attract large numbers of fish.  Target these areas with shallow-running streamer patterns early in the month, and switch to popper and slider patterns later on.  White is always a good color, since it suggests the belly of a minnow.  Yellow and chartreuse are good change-up colors, as is black.

Don’t forget that all of the streams that are stocked with trout also hold wild populations of warmwater fish, commonly including Smallmouth Bass, a variety of sunfishes, Rock Bass and Fallfish.  All of your larger trout flies will work fine on these fish.  Don’t forget to add some cork or foam poppers or sliders to your fly box.     




Saltwater fishing is heating up in the back bays & on the beaches.  We are receiving reports of monster bluefish being caught close to shore.  Call for more info.