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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
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    Pittsburgh PA
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    Default Sulfur nymph vs March Brown

    Hello all,

    I am tying some sulfurs for early may here in PA. I was told by the local fly shop that with the cold weather we have been having, the hatch will probably be delayed and march browns are more likely at this time period. When i look at pictures of the actual nymphs they look very similar... What is the key feature on them that you think sets the fish off as to which is which or will my sulfur pass as either? I used yellow PT, black thin skin, a brown dubbing for the thorax, and partridge for legs.

    The key feature for the sulfur was the 1/2 dark wingcase but what for the MB?

    Thanks in advance,
    Nick P

  2. #2

    Default Re: Sulfur nymph vs March Brown

    It may be just a "confidence in certain fly types" thing, but for me the simple Pheasant-tail nymph in sizes 14-16 does a great job of imitating the sulphur (Ephemerella) nymphs.

    When fishing Pocono streams with good March Brown populations, a standard Hare's Ear nymph (no beadhead) with exaggerated legs (brown partridge hackle) in sizes 10-12 worked much better for me this time of year.
    "Joe"

    "We fish for pleasure; I for mine, you for yours." -James Leisenring

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  4. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    Grand canyon of Pa.
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    Default Re: Sulfur nymph vs March Brown

    march brown nymphs run a lot bigger than sulphurs and have a reddish brown color with a amber under belly in pa. Sulphurs are lighter(yellowish) and smaller than the MB's. MB= size 10-14
    Sulfers= 16-20
    sandfly/ bob
    (www.bigmeadowsflyshop.com)
    N.J.B.B.A. #2215

    I did not escape.....they gave me a day pass!
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    fly tying and fishing Gillie..

  5. #4
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    Default Re: Sulfur nymph vs March Brown

    In my little part of the world, what I call sulfurs are still 5-6 weeks away.
    March browns are much sooner.
    The simpler the outfit, the more skill it takes to manage it, and the more pleasure one gets in his achievements.” --- Horace Kephart

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
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    Pittsburgh PA
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    Default Re: Sulfur nymph vs March Brown

    Okay so MB are just a few hook sizes larger and browner (I feel a little dumb) thanks. Do you guys have any specific pattern suggestions for MBs or just use a hares ear in size 12 with a brown thin skin back?

    Thanks again to you guys who replied

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
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    Boston, Mass.
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    Default Re: Sulfur nymph vs March Brown

    Lots of folks use a gold-ribbed hare's ear, but Tom Rosenbauer of Orvis has written approvingly of this one:

    Coleman's March Brown

    (Tom started his fishing career in Carl Coleman's fly shop.)

  8. #7

    Default Re: Sulfur nymph vs March Brown

    Quote Originally Posted by nrp5087 View Post

    Okay so MB are just a few hook sizes larger and browner (I feel a little dumb) thanks. Do you guys have any specific pattern suggestions for MBs or just use a hares ear in size 12 with a brown thin skin back?

    Thanks again to you guys who replied
    I wouldn't over-think it too much... sometimes the more detail that goes in, the less lively the imitation looks like in the water. But if you really want to go nuts, here are the side-by-sides;

    Eastern March Brown (Maccaffertium vicarium)


    link: Maccaffertium vicarium (March Brown) Mayfly Nymph Pictures


    Sulphur (Ephemerella invaria)


    link: Ephemerella invaria (Sulphur Dun) Mayfly Nymph Pictures

    Keep in mind that "sulphur" is the name of a fly pattern, and it covers about half a dozen yellowish mayflies over three (3) families
    "Joe"

    "We fish for pleasure; I for mine, you for yours." -James Leisenring

  9. #8

    Default Re: Sulfur nymph vs March Brown

    I have come to the point of not worrying so much about the minutia. After seining too many aquatic bugs that looked so much alike , and then being told that they were different species???

    the basic amber colored nymph cant go wrong...size might actually be a bigger factor??...I will leave that to the experts...the good 'ole hares ear or twenty incher seems to always do the trick if the drift speed is correct...ie just a little slower than the bubbles...

    ted...trout bum/wandering monk
    public water 20"er
    public land pope & young

    Breac à linne, slat à coille is fiadh à f́reach - mèirle às nach do ghabh gàidheal riamh nàire.
    a fish from the river, a rod from the woods and a stag from the mountain , thefts ne'er a Gael was ashamed
    ...and old gaelic proverb...

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  10. #9
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    Default Re: Sulfur nymph vs March Brown

    Quote Originally Posted by moucheur2003 View Post
    Lots of folks use a gold-ribbed hare's ear, but Tom Rosenbauer of Orvis has written approvingly of this one:
    Coleman's March Brown
    (Tom started his fishing career in Carl Coleman's fly shop.)
    I'm a big fan of the Coleman March Brown and if you study it, you'll see that it works for the same reasons that copperjohn might.
    I once had an opportunity to discuss the this nymph with Rosenbauer and he felt that the fly probably was just a march brown in name only and more likely was taken for something else... like a crayfish.
    That takes nothing away from it though, it's a great fly.

    Count me as someone who believes that the more detail to a fly, the easier it is for the fish to decide it's a fraud. While most of my nymphs are little more than fur over lead, I do carry the march brown flymph.

    The simpler the outfit, the more skill it takes to manage it, and the more pleasure one gets in his achievements.” --- Horace Kephart

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  12. #10

    Default Re: Sulfur nymph vs March Brown

    You notice how long and wide that wing case is.. I think that is important.
    Putting a split in that case with yellow under it works very well in our area. We have sulphurs from now until last of December. Not unheard of to have a good sulphur hatch around Christmas.
    We have had them strong for the last two weeks.
    That regular Solitude Split case is deadly.
    Last edited by rodc; 04-23-2013 at 03:03 PM.

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