To fully escape I went north and my prime goal was exploring new stretches of the Magalloway river in Western Maine. This turned out to be a bit of a disappointment and as it turned out the section of river I fly fished after driving 17 miles on a gravel road is best fished a little earlier in the season. Traveling through Errol, NH on my way to and from the Magalloway, however, turned out to be serendipitous, as without trying I came upon the famed Alder Hatch on the Androscoggin River. The Adult alderflies were everywhere with particular concentrations on the vegetation streamside. The Androscoggin is most easily fished from a drift boat but wading can be done carefully, but at times a person needs to fight through the vegetation to get to desired spots. As I fought my way through the brush and low hanging trees, clouds of moth-like creatures went airborne. Initially they appeared to be caddis but as I looked closer and examined the marbled wings of the insects that were on the leaves of trees, I realized I was witnessing the Alder hatch that I have heard people talk about.
The life cycle of the alderfly tells us something about why so many were in the trees along the river. The adult stage lasts for maybe a week and during that time the alderflies will lay eggs on streamside vegetation, the pupa will hatch shortly after and make their way to the water and spend the longest part of their lives in the aquatic realm before continuing the cycle the next early summer. Not only were there alders in the trees, they were also flying over the water, bouncing off the water and spent ones were floating down river. There were some rises but not as many as you would think; maybe some of the fish had already gorged themselves or maybe the bright sun and heat kept some down. There were some rises to cast to and it was so rewarding to see rising fish, match what they were taking, put a cast in the right place, drift the fly in some passable way and have success. Happening upon a hatch of this magnitude is unusual and cannot be under appreciated; there may be more planning centered around the alder hatch next year.