SNYDER: White Fly, Yellow Breeches, red-hot fishing

  • The Yellow Breeches Creek is in northern York County.
  • The creek offers great catch-and-release fly-fishing opportunities.
  • The White Fly is hatching, which means the trout are biting.

It's easy to spot a fly fisherman this time of the year.

When everyone else is slapping the bugs away and are dowsing themselves down with anti-critter potions, fly fishermen are chasing the bugs, hoping to get a good look at the shape and color of the latest hatch.

The Yellow Breeches Creek in northern York County offers great fishing opportunities.

I recently took a ride to York County’s northern border to check out the action on the famed catch-and-release section of the Yellow Breeches Creek. It's a stream that’s close to home and offers exceptional fishing.

But I made a mistake. I didn’t bring my favorite three-weight rod. It was supposed to be one of those family trips when I’m barely allowed to talk about fish, let alone tie on a hook.

As soon as I opened the truck’s door, though, I knew I’d regret leaving the tackle at home. As if its sole purpose in its short life out of the water was to taunt me, a hefty white bug the size of my thumbnail circled just outside of arm’s reach.

Like the Sirens that got a wayward Homer in so much trouble, the flying fiend lured me toward the water.

I knew the instant I saw the bug what it was … and what it meant. The biologists and the fishing purists call it an Ephron leukon. But anybody that fishes “the Breeches” on a regular basis knows it simply as the White Fly.

When they are hatching, the fish are biting. It’s that simple. Few things in fishing are as black and white.

I contemplated giving in. I considered how long my honey-do list would grow if I succumbed to my instincts. I thought about what would happen if I walked into the local fly shop and plopped down a pile of cash for a new rod and a handful of flies.

I convinced myself it was worth the hassle. Heck, I was even ready to buy a setup for my wife, just so she wouldn’t feel left out.

After all, there we were at the peak of one of the greatest hatches in the state and all we could do was stand on the bank and watch the trout grow fatter with each bug they gulped. It wasn’t fair.

But, alas, the shop was closed. No matter how bad I wanted to go fishing, it wasn’t going to happen.

If you haven’t fished the Yellow Breeches and experienced its prized White Fly hatch, I urge you to head to the northern fringes of the county and give it a try. While the hatch is winding down and there are fewer flies each evening, you’ve got at least another week or two of fine fishing.

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The White Fly hatch is the epitome of fly fishing. There is not much in the sport more thrilling than matching the feathers on your hook to the bugs flying around your knees and using it to entice a foot-long trout to take your bait.

If I play my cards right and get all my chores done this weekend, I may even get a chance to experience it myself.

Andy Snyder writes about the outdoors for The York Dispatch. He can be reached at