Gene Chague: Fly fishing season kicks into high gear

Sunday May 26, 2013


For the fly fishermen, this is the time they have been waiting for, when the mayflies and various caddisflies start hatching in our waters.

Anglers are anxiously awaiting the appearance of flies such as the Gray Fox, March Browns, Light Cahills, Sulphurs and others. Hatching as duns (sub-imagos with smoky or colored wings), most float on the water surface for a short time before flying to nearby vegetation before the birds get them.

They will be around only a few days, transform into spinners (imagos with long tails and glassy clear wings), do their in-air mating dances, mate, drop their eggs into the waters, spread their wings, fall into the water and die.

Thus begins the new cycle. The eggs hatch into nymphs, which crawl along the river bottom, hiding under rocks and woody or leafy debris for the next 360 days before they emerge again. When it is their time, they come up from the bottom and hatch in the surface film or climb onto rocks and branches and hatch there.

These harmless insects don't have mouths or stingers, so there is no need to swat or zap them. Trout feed on them as well as the birds. I don't know which excites the fly fisherman more, actually catching fish or the mere sight of these delicate insects.

Fly fishermen are well aware of these life cycles and have flies that imitate each phase. They fish with weighted nymph flies along the river bottom; with emerger flies that imitate the nymph as they swim to the top just before hatching into duns; with dry flies which float on top of the surface that imitate the duns; and with spent wing spinners flies.

To be a good fly fisherman, one has to become an entomologist of sorts, knowing when the flies emerge, their habitat, size, color, traits, etc. They already know everything that I have mentioned above and are probably critiquing my every word. But the comments are directed primarily to the person who knows nothing about the sport and may be contemplating taking it up.

If you are one, may I suggest that you tag along with an experienced flyfisher who would be more than happy to teach you about the sport. That will save you a lot of time of trial and error. But be careful: Flyfishing can be extremely addictive.


The 21st annual Harry A. Bateman Memorial Jimmy Fund Fishing Derby will take place next Saturday at the Frank Controy Pavilion at Onota Lake in Pittsfield from 6 a.m.-noon. No fishing license is required because it is free fishing weekend in Massachusetts.

Open to the public, the Derby's purpose is to raise money for the Jimmy Fund-Dana Farber Cancer Institute For Children. All of the proceeds will be donated to the Jimmy Fund in memory of Harry A. Bateman a former member of Berkshire County Jimmy Fund Council, Central Berkshire Bowman and I.U.E. Local 255 who was well known throughout Berkshire County and who became a victim of cancer.

Many trophies and prizes are given away to the winners -- eight for the children, four for adults and three that can be won by adults or children. There is a special category for those fishing with a bow and arrow.

All fish must be weighed in at noon and can be caught at Onota Lake from a boat or the shore. Fishing tackle is given with the trophy prizes and two $100 cash prizes for heaviest trout. A sportsman award is given out to a child which includes a full tackle box.

The fee is $10 for adults, and $5 for children 14 years old and younger. This includes food and beverages. All children receive a free gift and a chance at winning a mountain bike. There is a raffle for other prizes.

For more information, contact Steve Bateman at (413) 464-5035 or email


The Stockbridge Sportsmen's Clubs Fishing Derby was held on May 18 at Stockbridge Bowl. The largest salmon was caught by Lino Dus of Pittsfield, weighing 2 pounds and measuring 18 inches.

Other winners include: Largest Bullhead -- Seth Slemp of Lee, 1 pound, 5 ounces, 131 2 inches; Largest Bass -- Tim Fogarty, Great Barrington, 3 pounds, 3 ounces, 18 inches; Largest Pickerel -- Lucas Trumps, South Lee, 2 pounds, 12 ounces, 221 2 inches. Mike Soules of Lee won the $300 raffle.

Age 12 and Under winners: Largest Pickerel -- Mason Colli, Stockbridge, 1 pound, 13 ounces, 201 2 inches; Largest Trout -- Brady Whalen, Great Barrington, 1 pound, 6 ounces, 15 inches; Largest Bullhead -- Slemp, 1 pound, 5 ounces, 131 2 inches.


The Lee Sportsmen's Association will be conducting a NRA Basic Pistol Course on June 3 and June 6 from 5:30-9 p.m. Graduates can then apply for their Mass. LTC Class A after successful completion.

Registration is required in advance. The cost is $100, which includes a one year membership in the LSA. Learn pistol parts and operation, gun safety, shooting fundamentals, Mass. laws, and more. Contact Larry K at (413) 442-7807 for more information.


The following waters were scheduled to be stocked last week: Green River in Alford, Egremont and Great Barrington; Deerfield River in Buckland, Charlemont and Florida; Westfield River in Chester, Chesterfield, Cummington, Huntington, Middlefield, Russell, Windsor and Worthington; Housatonic River in Hinsdale, Dalton, Lee and Stockbridge; Walker Brook in Becket and Chester; Wahconah Falls Brook in Dalton; Bennett Brook in Hinsdale; Trout Brook in Peru; Greenwater Pond, North Pond, Littleville Lake, Goose Pond, Laurel Lake, Otis Reservoir, Big Pond, Onota Lake and Stockbridge Bowl.


This weekend, you might want to put down the fishing rod and spend a couple minutes remembering those who paid the ultimate price in defending our nation, especially the local men we lost this year.

To reach Gene Chague:,
or (413) 637-1818.


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