AccessMyLibrary provides FREE access to millions of articles from top publications available through your library.
AT ABOUT THE SAME TIME each year that basketball junkies freak out on March Madness, a similar affliction consumes another equally avid group. It's known as "Mayfly Madness," a passion that consumes Eastern fly fishers. The madness is about the advent of a season--the Eastern spring mayfly season--and the arrival of the "First Four" major mayfly hatches in the region.
In Pennsylvania, the First Four begins with the appearance of the Blue-winged Olives (Baetis tricaudatus), which emerge around the middle of March. The Blue Quill (Paraleptophlebia adoptiva) hatches follow and usually start in the third or fourth week of April. Then come the Quill Gordons (Epeorus pleuralis), which also begin in mid-April. Finally, the Hendrickson (Ephemerella sub-varia) duns surface, typically around the third or fourth week of April, ending in the first week of May. Each of the four hatches lasts about two weeks, but various species of Olives are present on many Eastern waters throughout the year because they have multiple broods.
Assigning specific times and dates to hatches is futile; they vary with the locality and weather. As a general rule, the colder the temperature, the later the hatch. For example, hatches in the northern part of Pennsylvania occur about two to three weeks later than the hatches in the central and southern parts of the state. Hatch dates vary from New England south through the mid-Atlantic states, and throughout the Midwest.
Unfortunately, due to the decline in water quality in many of our Eastern and Midwestern trout streams, the Hendrickson and Quill Gordon hatches have declined or disappeared. Of the four hatches, the Olives and the Blue Quills have proved to be the most …