The Sulfur Hatch
Springtime means warm weather, which is a perfect time for mayflies to emerge and for fish to feed. In many areas of the country, April and May start off trout season. Emergence of this hatch is likely to occur in the midafternoon, and spinnerfalls occur in the evening. Around May, when temperatures are reaching the 70s in many areas of the country, sulfurs are likely to emerge in the middle of the month!
During this time, it may be time to shop for a sulfur dry fly here at RiverBum. We have all the popular patterns that will attract fish and help you bring fish to hand. Not sure which sulfur dry fly to use? Knowing and understanding the sulfur hatch will help you make an informed choice. Read on to know more about it:
When and where
These mayflies are referred to as ‘sulfurs’ because of the color of their bodies: pale, yellow-bodied with gray wings. Nymphs drift for some time just below the surface as they begin to emerge, and these floating nymphs cause rises to the surface which may fool the angler into thinking the trout are taking duns.
Emergence itself takes quite a while, making emerger patterns more important for this hatch than for most. This importance is heightened by the lower availability of the fully formed duns. These duns take to the air more quickly than most mayflies, but anglers should still be prepared to imitate them if need be.
Sulfurs are predominantly found in the Northeast and Upper Mid-West. The Poconos are famous for their sulfur hatches. They opt for gravel bottom and fairly fast-moving water, but they can be found in many sections of gravel and sand bottomed cold streams.
After emerging, the duns leave water for the trees to molt and become sexually mature. Mature sulfurs become a rusty brown color with clear and shiny wings, and they gather in a mass high over the river from 7 to 9 in the evening to mate. Males fall to the water, and females deposit eggs in the water before dying. The spinnerfall is truly something to behold.
Dry flies and popular patterns
RiverBum is your one-stop shop for Sulphur patterns. Our popular patterns include the Sulphur Parachute dry fly. Comparadun Sulphur, Sulphur Dun, and CDC Sulphur are great to use where there is a sulfur hatch. Sulphur’s and Pale Morning Dunns from the West Coast are closely related. In fact, my go to fly during a Sulphur hatch is the Humpback Emerger, PMD, I kid you not.