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Montana Hatches - Fishing from the Top to the Bottom

Beyond the Basics--Probing all the Depths Throughout the Season

Part I

2-flies.jpg 2-elkhaircaddis.jpg 2-hopper2.jpg

A discourse on how to master fishing from the top to the bottom, this article examines the contributions of the experts in the field, seeks out common principles and practices, and endeavors to apply these concepts with detailed strategies along with a self-test to determine what a reader needs to review or learn. I have given a lot of thought on how I want to organize this material for on-line reading, and I decided that the easiest format would be a question and answer approach. To that end, I present information, raise questions, and then provide the answers right below a section of information. Hopefully this will reinforce new information, as well as challenge the reader who knows the information but may be a little slow on total recall. My goal is both instructional and a means to reinforce and learn new knowledge so that the knowledge may be easily applied on the stream.


Misc.Me-Cut.jpg As a generalist, I am a dabbler in arts and master of none so it is no surprise to me that I attained a particular level of expertise as a fly fishing angler and then fell into years of stagnation. My gains, if they were plotted on a graph by skills and years, would show limited attainment for a long period of time. Perhaps you too are familiar with some of my rationalizations for technical stagnation: (1) I just don't have the time to master another level of expertise. (2) To become proficient at fishing on the surface, the subsurface, the middle column and on the bottom, demands that I return to the vise that I abandoned thirty years ago when genetically manipulated chicken capes hit $65 dollars! (3) I am getting too old. I can't keep track of all the names of the flies that I have in my vest now, let alone learn the Latin names of the insects they imitate. (4) Although I am passionate about fly-fishing and have been for the better part of 40 years, I have other passions as well that compete with my leisure time. In short, I had not made a concerted effort to expand both my knowledge and skill level. For too long I had been content to fish on the top and the bottom, with the exception of using a dropper just below the surface film. In short, I did not have a systematic methodology for fishing from the top to the bottom of the water column throughout the season.


I know that just reading a couple of books on nymph fishing is not enough. Knowledge must be applied. As a former high school English teacher, I know that mastery of any skill requires knowledge and practice--lots of practice! But it also requires a working knowledge of specialized terms, and most importantly it requires setting clear goals and breaking down each goal into achievable lessons and sub-skills. So, why should you read a secondary source that reviews primary sources? You shouldn't, unless you have read the primary sources, and you are now seeking a methodology to apply what you have read in a systemic method. Keep in mind that this article makes no attempt to teach entomology. It is beyond my scope. Instead, the primary goal of this article is to help an inexperienced angler learn the primary Montana hatches, select the appropriate patterns and apply the appropriate delivery to a specific area of the water column.

The primary sources that I have used are recognized as experts in the field of fly-fishing. They continue the long-standing tradition of applying new insights to very old challenges. When I finish the entire article, I will include a bibliography. When I present information that the authors and other experts are in agreement, I consider that information to be in the realm of public knowledge, and I will not footnote or add an endnote of attrition, as it is not my intent to write an academic paper. Whenever, possible I cite them by name in the body of my text with a direct quotation. Sometimes I may reference their work by using the title of their book or just referencing their name. Make no mistake, I champion their books. I welcome any help in improving this article. You may contact me at dave @ glaciertoyellowstone .com.


To begin, let's start with a review of seasonal hatches in Montana and appropriate fly patterns, which will be followed by a photographic display of these same patterns for identification purposes. Note: the photographs of the fly patterns are courtesy of on-line fly-fishing stores. I have provided a direct link for each particular fly pattern, which can be purchased on-line. The fly pattern photographs begin on item 18.

Dave Archer

Pre/Post Test on Fly-fishing Patterns for All the Depths

Note: The answers to each of these seasonal periods is at the end of the questions for each particular period in the season. Take out a pen and a piece of paper and determine what you already know, what you need to review, and what you need to learn and practice.

How apropos! Tonight I attended the May, 2010, Klamath Country Fly Casters club meeting in Klamath Falls, Oregon, and Dave Hughs, author of Nymphs for Streams and Stillwaters, was the featured guest speaker. The guest speaker previous to this was Rick Hefle. Dave remarked that on one of his fishing trips with Rick, he asked for Rick's fly boxes and laid them out next to his. Both men were not surprised that they had covered the five principle aquatic insect groups: stoneflies, mayflies, caddis, scuds and terrestrials. What bemused both anglers was that they were mutually exclusive in their selection of patterns. Dave went on to discuss the importance of having a number of searcher or generic patterns to cover the common food forms. Some of his favorites were Brooks Montana Stone, BWO nymphs, Pheasant Tail, Beadhead Prince Nymph, Copper John, among others. In the absence of a predominant emergence of a specific aquatic insect, which would be noted in a stream sampling or a stomach sampling, Dave urged listeners to search the water with their favorite search patterns, and he confided that of late one of his favorite patterns was the Lightening Bug.

fas-Lightning Bug.jpg

Photo property of Fly Art Studio -- Lightening Bug

Early Season - Pre-Run-off: Mid-April to Mid-May

1. Name five primary hatches in the early season from mid-April to mid-May. Hint: think mayfly, stonefly, caddis and chironomidae. (Yes, in Montana the weather is far from predictable and the season can be early or late depending on snow-pack and prevailing weather patterns, but this period is the period before the warm weather impacts the rivers and streams.)

2. During this preseason, pre-run-off, what is an ideal water temperature for hatches, and will you be hoping for cloudy conditions or sunny conditions?

3. Name three well-known nymph patterns that work well for a baetis hatch. (Undoubtedly, you will name patterns just as affective as what the experts recommend.)

4. One of the early hatches during this period are the midge hatches. Since they are so small, what are some patterns to compensate for their size?

5. The March Brown dun is tied in brown and gray in size 16-14. The Western March Brown mayfly will be typically a Rhithrogena morrisoni or a Rhithrogna hageni. The March Brown dun's wing is mottled and it has two tails. What would be a good, old-standard for a March Brown dun? Nymph? Emerger?

6. What insect is named for the "Mother's Day Hatch?"


Answers to the pre-season; questions 1-6

1. Blue-winged olives (Baetis), midges, March Brown mayfly, Skwala stonefly and towards the end of this period the Little Black Caddis and the Grannon Caddis.

2. Most authorities say that during this time period the ideal water temperature is 50-degrees. They also suggest that baetis mayflies and the March browns seem to hatch more profusely during cloudy conditions in the afternoon.

3. Pheasant Tail Nymph #20-14; Hare's Ear Nymph #20-14; Beadhead Prince Nymph or a Zug Bug. If you know your bugs, you have already exceeded these suggestions.

4. The midges are typically size #20, and they often tend to cluster together so a number of patterns are tied in a clustering visual effect. One such pattern is the Griffith's Gnat.

RR-Griffith Gnat.jpg

Photo property of Round Rocks -- Griffith Midge

5. One old favorite for the March Brown dun is the March Brown Compra-Dun. The dun is noted for its mottled wing, its brown body and two tails. A common nymph is the Hare's Ear, and a good emerger pattern would be a March Brown Soft-Hackle, which imitates the nymph as it ascends to the surface. The emerger nymph is most often cast across the stream or up and across the current. Fish typically hit the fly at the end of the swing as the fly pattern rises to the surface.

6. The "Mother's Day Hatch" is most often associated with a Grannon caddis hatch. This May hatch can be prolific on many Western rivers at this time, along with other species of caddis fly such as the Little Black Caddis. The size is typically 10-14. The body is usually dark brown dubbing wrapped with fine tinsel. The thorax is also dark brown, and the wing case is most often a slate color such as duck quills tied at the side. (Western Hatches by Rick Hafele and Dave Hughs)

Post Run-Off (Mid-May to late June):
Water flows are stabilizing along with clarity. During this time a hot day can trigger additional volume. When the water is rising, fishing can be tough. Watch for falling water levels, as once the river starts to consistently drop trout go on an eating binge! (Now, before you contact me and chastise me for the following hatches and their time slot, I readily acknowledge that many of the hatches presented in the post run-off can be present in May prior to run-off and even during run-off.) This is a wonderful time period of multiple hatches coming off almost every day. So, when is it exactly? Well, in high water years it typically starts the last week in June and runs through the middle of July. In drought years, contact a fly shop!

During this period anglers are on the look out for PMD's, stoneflies, caddis and the eagerly awaited Western Green Drake (Ephemerella grandis and doddsi), and the Brown Drake (Ephemera simulans). These are the big boys size 12-10. They have stout bodies and long tails, although the Brown Drake is more slender. These hatches may overlap. Don't look for a large hatch. In fact, you may only see a couple of these bugs on the water, which means that you need to put one of these patterns on right away!

7. Ephrmerella inermis and infrequens, one of the most prolific mayfly hatches for this time period, is a small, yellowish to light olive dun commonly referred to by using three letters. What is this bug and, what is its distinguishing features?

8. The Big Hole River is famous for this hatch, as is the Madison River, but many visiting anglers do not realize that Pteronarcys californica also hatches in June on the Bitterroot River, Rock Creek and the Blackfoot River and the Yellowstone, just to name a few. The hatch can move up the river three miles a day. It is preceded by great nymphing opportunities, and even when the hatch wanes, trout are on the look out for these huge morsels of food. Following on the footsteps of this hatch, and sometimes overlapping, is a similar stonefly. What are the names of these two stoneflies and what are their distinguishing features?

9. After the big drakes hatches and the famous stonefly hatches have receded from the trout's memory, many smaller hatches come on the scene, such as Slate Wing Olives, small Blue Wing Olives and PMD's that have hues that begin to look olive in color, so it is important to have many baetis patterns in your fly box in different sizes and colors to match what you find on a particular day; however, early summer brings another stonefly that emerges from fast riffles. The female returns to these riffles and lays her eggs. What is the name of this stonefly, and what is its size and color?

10. A host of patterns imitate the Little Yellow Stonefly, but if you walk into any Montana fly shop, you can start by asking for a _______________ pattern.

11. Name a Little Yellow Stonefly nymph pattern, along with an emerger pattern. There is no right answer. In the answer section I have selected a pattern that should be easy to find in a fly shop.

Answers to the early summer and mid-summer; questions 7-11

7. One of the most prevalent hatches for the post run-off and into summer is the PMD or Pale Morning Dun (not to be confused with a Pale Evening Dun, which is similar in color and shape but is a different genus, Heptagenia. The Pale Evening Dun emerges during mid-summer.) PMD's are typically size 16. Their body is a dull yellow with some green hues. They have unmarked wings and three tails. Inhabiting moderately fast riffles, they emerge during the morning, but on cloudy days the hatch can progress into the afternoon. The spinner fall usually occurs in the morning when the sun clears the mountains and touches the water.

8. The Salmon Fly and the Golden Stone are important hatches. Measuring one to one and a half inches, the Salmon Fly begins its migration across the bottom of riffles when the water temperature climbs to near 50 degrees. Grayish brown on the topside, the underbelly of the Salmon Fly is orange. The Giant Golden Stonefly is in fact a mottled brown and yellow giving it a golden cast. Slightly smaller, the Golden starts hatching a few weeks later, but it is not uncommon to have them over-lap when the Salmon Fly hatch is on the wane. (Trout Stream Insects by Dick Pobst)

9. This mid-summer stonefly is the diminutive Little Yellow Stonefly of the Isoperia genus, and it is size ranges from 16-10. The "Isoperla and Peltoperla species are small, at 3/8 to 5/8 inch." (Nymph-Fishing Rivers and Streams by Hefle)

10. The Little Yellow Stonefly imitation is most commonly referred to as a Yellow Sally.

11. In addition to a Yellow Sally an excellent dun imitation is a yellow Elk Hair Caddis. A good emerger would be a Yellow Soft Hackle. And there are a host of nymph imitations. Hefle recommends a Smurf Stone and Mercer's Gold Dust in sizes 16-10.

Season: The Dog Days of Summer

12. What is the common name for the tiny mayfly with the white wing and black body, and what size imitation should you use in late July and August?

13. This is the season to bring out the Hopper patterns, but what other terrestrials should you have in your fly box?

14. Remember how important the baetis group or Blue Wing Olives are to the Montana angler? Well, in addition to the small trico hatch, the Tiny Blue-Wing Olives begin to emerge at the end of summer. On what type of water will you most likely find these insects?

Answers to mid-summer and late summer; questions 12-14

12. This miniscule mayfly, Tricorythodes minutus, is most commonly referred to as the Trico hatch. The duns hatch in the early morning hours, which can extend into late morning on cloudy days. The spinner fall is within an hour or two. Because the hatch is so prolific, trout gorge themselves on these mayflies by just leisurely sipping them. Pattern size ranges from 20-16. Here is a tip for those anglers who find it difficult to pick out their pattern when it is surrounded by hundreds of live insects. Tie a smaller trico pattern off a small Parachute Adams.

13. Ants and beetle patterns

14. The Tiny-Blue Wing Olives typically inhabit slower currents and spring creeks, such as the Clark Fork. Another mayfly, more often associated with stillwater fishing, is the Speckled Mayfly or Callibaetis. It too inhabits slow water and spring creeks.


Photograph Property of River Bum

Season: Late Summer and Fall

15. In addition to the BWO's, a large mayfly begins to emerge from late summer into October. With a gray and brown mottled body, this mayfly has unmarked wings. The spinner fall is both in the morning and evening (Pobst). This Siphlonurus occidentalis is commonly referred to as the _______________________.

16. Two more important mayfly hatches occur in the fall. One is brown and the other is more reddish brown (Heptagenia). What are the common names of these two mayflies?

17. This large caddis also does not come off profusely, but when you seem them on the water, get ready to change patterns. It is large with a reddish orange body and mottled wings. Many books refer to this caddis as the ___________.

Answers for Late Summer and Fall

15. Western Gray Drake
16. Mahogany Dun and Western Red Quill
17. This large caddis is often called the Giant Orange Sedge, Orange Caddis and the October Caddis.

So, now it is time to organize your fly box and stock up on missing patterns. You may want to take a small felt pen and label the names in your fly boxes. Hefle in his book, Nymph-Fishing Rivers and Streams, suggests 12 nymph patterns. I agreed with most of his choices, although a few were unfamiliar to me. Some of them are old standbys and found in most Montana fly shops. The most commonly used nymph patterns are the Prince Nymph, Beadhead Gold-Ribbed Hare's Ear, Pheasant Tail, Zug Bug, Beadhead Red Squirrel, Beadhead Krystal Flash Caddis, Copper John and various stonefly patterns.

To help newcomers to this sport, I have included a list of photographs of the more popular patterns. I have listed them in the same order as the questions posed above. I remember how embarrassed I was at a take-out when an outfitter, who I had worked for, asked me if I had seen any flavilinea. Had he asked me if I had seen any small Slate-Wing Olives I may have been able to hide my embarrassment. See if you can identify the following patterns. The next section will cover information on tips and techniques for fishing from the top to the bottom. The collective information was garnered from published authors who are considered experts in the field, but first identify the following patterns.

18. Name this Insect or Fly Pattern

C-BWO Dun.jpg

Photo property of Cabellas -- BWO Dun

Genus or Specie Name: Baetis
Approximate season: Throughout the season
Water habitat: Varied but tend to prefer shallow riffles and runs
Identifiable traits: Slate, gray wings with olive body (light to dark)
Hook size: 14-24; most common is #16, 18
Distinguishing features for the dun: Olive or olive-brown with gray wings
Distinguishing features for the nymph: slender and tapered; three tails
Popular patterns: Blue-Wing Olive dun; Pheasant Tail Nymph; Baetis Soft Hackle
Additional Information: The baetis group are fast swimmers and subject to behavioral drift. (Hefle). Swisher and Richards in their book, Selective Trout, recommend using the smaller size when an overlap of insects are on the water.

cf-blue wing olive.jpg

Photo Property of Central Flies -- Blue Wing Olive


Photo Property of Round Rocks -- Serendipity Olive BH


19. Name this Insect or Fly Pattern


Photo property of Central Flies -- March Brown

Genus or Specie Name: Mayfly, Rhithrogena morrisoni and Rhitorogena hageni

Approximate season: Early season, late winter

Water habitat: Fast water; they migrate to slower water

Identifiable traits: Large and brown, they are the first big mayflies of the season

Hook size: #14-16

Distinguishing features for the dun: Mottled wings, brown body, two tails

Distinguishing features for the nymph: Flat heads, squat bodies (clingers) 3 tails

Popular patterns: March Brown; A.P. Olive; Mercer's Poxy Back; Hefle's March Brown Flymph; March Brown Comra-Dun

Additional Information: Subject to drift and dislocation. Emergence takes place in the afternoon.

cf-March Brn nymph.jpg

Photo property of Central Flies -- March Brown Nymph


20. Name this Insect or Fly Pattern

Add photograph

Genus or Specie Name: Skwala

Approximate season: Early season; late winter

Water habitat: Moderate to fast water with good levels of oxygen
Identifiable traits: Olive to olive-brown with dark markings; ¾-inch in length

Hook size: #8-10

Distinguishing features for the dun: Overall appearance is very dark with lighter under-belly.

Popular patterns: Parachute Adams; Olive-Black Stimulator; Olive-foam Skwala

Additional Information: Look for temperatures in the mid 40's. Although this is a very popular hatch to fish on the Bitterroot River and Clark's Fork, keep in mind that it is a crap shoot regarding the weather!


21. Name this Insect or Fly Pattern

mrfc-Elk Hair Caddis.jpg

Photo property of Madison River Fishing Company -- Elk Hair Caddis

Family Name: Brachycentridae -- Grannon stonefly (Black Caddis; Mother's Day Caddis -- B. occidentalist)

Approximate season: Early season

Water habitat: Riffles and runs

Identifiable traits: 3/8 to ½ inch; olive to olive-brown

Hook size: #18-14

Distinguishing features for the dun: Green body and tan wings

Distinguishing features for the nymph: Dark green body

Popular patterns: American Grannom (Schwiebert); Cased Caddis Larva; Beadhead Caddis Larva; Morrish's HW Caddis Pupa; LaFontaine Olive Diving Caddis (Hefle)

Additional Information: As case builders, the larvae are subject to drift. They pupate in moderately fast water. The pupae exit their cases and swim to the surface mostly during the evening. When they reach the surface, they split the pupal skin and escape into the air.

mrfc-Goddard Caddis.jpg

Photo Property Madison River Fly Company -- Goddard Caddis

22. Name this Insect or Fly Pattern


Photo Property of Round Rocks -- Midge

RR-Griffith Gnat.jpg

Photo Property of Round Rocks -- Griffith Midge

Family Name: Chironomidae

Approximate season: Throughout the season, but early season midges wake up the trout.
Water habitat: Slower water
Identifiable traits: They are tiny and look a little like mosquitos. They come in multiple sizes and colors, and I must confess that they are too much of a challenge for me.
Hook size: 22-16
Distinguishing features for the adult: Long slender bodies with long legs
Distinguishing features of the pupae: Long slender bodies that hang vertically below the surface film.
Popular patterns: Griffith's Gnat; Midge; Brassie Nymph; Beadhead Midge Pupa
Additional Information: Similar to caddis, midges live as larva on the bottom of slow water streams and spring creeks. They emerge as pupae and hang under the surface film for long distances prior to emergence. They are tiny and often cluster close together, which some patterns imitate. They must be tied small and slender.


23. Name this Insect or Fly Pattern


Photo property of Central Flies -- PMD

Genus Name: Ephemerella inermis, infrequens (PMD's; Hendricksons, Sulfers)
Approximate season: Some pre-season but mostly post-run-off or early summer
Water habitat: Wide variety of water conditions, but they seek out water with high levels of oxygen so look for them hatching in slow-moving riffles.
Identifiable traits: Typically small; dull yellow to light yellow-olive
Hook size: #16-18
Distinguishing features for the dun: Light to dark gray wings, yellow-olive body
Distinguishing features for the nymph: Olive-brown body, three tails
Popular patterns: Light Cahill; PMD Emerger; PMD Cripple; Beadhead PMD; Flashback Hare's Ear.
Additional Information: In his book, Nymph-Fishing Rivers and Streams, Hefle suggests using a "pattern that matches the natural that is dominant in the stream on the day you are fishing." This requires spending a little time with a net. Most of the experts frown on using stomach pumps, as it can be potentially lethal to a fish. BWO's and PMD's are MUST HAVE patterns for any Montana river or stream. The PMD's are subject to drift, and interestingly they return to the bottom more than once during emergence. Not all of the PMD's emerge in the surface film. Some emerge in the water column, which is the reason that a PMD soft-hackle wet fly works so well. (Hefle) The PMD hatch is fun because you may use a dun, an emerger or even a nymph right through the hatch.

Note: The Pale Evening Dun, E. invarie, comes off a little later in the summer during early evening, and it is strikingly similar to a PMD.


24. Name this Insect or Fly Pattern


Photo property of River Bum

Genus or Specie Name: Ephemerella grandis, doddsi
Approximate season: Early season - run-off and post run-off
Water habitat: Both spring creeks and faster water on rivers noted for clean, cool water
Identifiable traits: This fly is a fat, juicy, large fly not seen in large numbers
Hook size: Size #10 2XL (Dick Pobst)
Distinguishing features for the dun: Lead-gray wings, green body with yellow hues
Distinguishing features for the nymph: More dark in color from olive brown to a reddish brown, the nymphs are crawlers and as such are more portly, size #8-10
Popular patterns: Green Drake Wulff; Green Drake Compara-Dun; Western Green Paradrake. Some searcher nymphs work quite well such as the Zug Bug; Gold-Ribbed Hare's Ear or a bulked up Pheasant Tail Nymph.
Additional Information: The hatches are typically thin so if you see a couple of these bugs on the water, start off with a dun pattern right away.


25. Name this Insect or Fly Pattern


Photo Property of Madison River Fishing Company -- Salmonfy

Genus or Specie Name: Stonefly, Pteronarcys californica
Approximate season: Pre-run-off - runoff - post-run-off, mid June to early July
Water habitat: Clear, cool, highly oxygenated freestone rivers and streams
Identifiable traits: Stretching from one to one and a half inches in length, wait until one of these giant, orange colored monsters crawls down your neck!
Hook size: #10-6 XL
Distinguishing features for the dun: Long, folding lead gray wings with large antennae. The head displays a little orange, but fat underbelly is a pale orange.
Distinguishing features for the nymph: The nymph has a dark, segmented body with a dark brown wing-case and a short tail.
Popular patterns: Just ask for a Salmonfly in any shop and they will show you their favorites. Nymphs: Montana Stone; Bitch Creek; Kaufmann Stone; Smurf Stone etc.
Additional Information: Montana is reknown for its Salmonfly hatches on the Big Hole, Madison, Blackfoot and Rock Creek to name just a few. It is the egg-laying females that trout hungrily await. The sun is usually warming up the morning dew when the females fly off the shrubs and trees and head for the water. Remember, Golden Stoneflies often overlap with the Salmonfly hatch. If you are getting rejections with the large stonefly, switch to a smaller stimulator, especially one that has both orange and gold in the pattern.

mrfc-Bitch Creek.jpg

Photo Property of Madison River Fishing Company -- Bitch Creek Nymph


Photo Property of Round Rocks -- Stimulator (Salmonflies or Golden Stones)

26. Name this Insect or Fly Pattern


Photo Property of Madison River Fishing Company -- Golden Stonefly

Genus or Specie Name: Stonefly, Calineuria californica
Approximate season: Run-off and post-run-off, June to mid-July
Hook size: #6-10 3X long
Distinguishing features for the adult: A bit smaller than the salmonfly, the golden stonefly is typically one inch long in the body. The wings are light brown and the body is light brown and yellow.
Distinguishing features for the nymph: The abdomen is light to dark with noticeable light banding.
Popular patterns: Golden Stonefly Nymph; Beadhead Golden Stone; Brook's Stone; Mercer's Brown Stone.
Additional Information: The color of both the adult and nymph can vary greatly in the yellow tones, yellow-brown and even light brown with yellow markings. They prefer fast water. They are the predators of the aquatic insect world and actively crawl around, but they do not drift much. They are vulnerable to trout during their migration to the shore. Weighted patterns with additional split-shot is recommended.


Photo Property of Madison River Fishing Company -- Stimulator


27. Name this Insect or Fly Pattern


Photo property of River Bum

Genus or Specie Name: Isoperla
Approximate season: Pre-run-off; post-run-off; early summer
Water habitat: Clean, cool fast water
Identifiable traits: Generally around ½ inch in length, light tan to a bright yellow body with light brown wings with two tails.
Hook size: #10-12 3x long
Distinguishing features for the adult: Two flat, brown wings on top of light or yellow abdomen.
Distinguishing features for the nymph: Slender, tapered bodies
Popular patterns: Little Yellow Sally; Blond Mormon Girl; Little Yellow Stone
Additional Information: Trout key on these abundant stoneflies during migration from the riffles to slower water, where they crawl up into the vegetation in the afternoon. Females typically deposit their eggs in the evening. However, during the day many of these little stoneflies get blown into the water so if they are swarming around, give one a try.

28. Name this Insect or Fly Pattern


Photo property of River Bum

Genus or Specie Name: Mayfly. Tricorythodes minutes
Approximate season: Late summer, August through September
Water habitat: Slower currents and spring creeks with silty bottoms (Clark Fork River)
Identifiable traits: Tiny white wing with dark body; spinner wings fold out flat
Hook size: 22-24. Again, I would suggest using a very small parachute Adams with a trailing Trico pattern tied off the shank of the Adam's hook with a 6x or 7x tippet.


Photo property of River Bum

Popular patterns: Trico; Trico spinner
Additional Information: The hatch usually begins early in the morning with a spinnerfall a few hours later. They often blanket the river. Because of their short lives, over-lapping generations continue throughout the late summer and into the fall.

29. Name this Insect or Fly Pattern


Property of Fly Fishing Outfitters -- Mahogany Dun

Genus: Mayfly, Paraleptophlebia
Approximate season: Late summer to fall
Water habitat: Gentle riffles, slower water and spring creeks
Identifiable traits: Clear wings, mahogany or brown body,
Hook size: #18-14
Distinguishing features for the dun: They are slender.
Popular nymph patterns: Copper John, CDC Pheasant Tail Beadhead Emerger and Lawson's Floating Nymph
Additional Information: The Mahogany Duns emerge in the morning and hatch in the evening. Hefle points out that the Mahogany Dun is also called the Blue Quill and the Slate-winged Mahogany Dun


30. Name this Insect or Fly Pattern (Aquatic Crustaceans)


Photo Property of Round Rocks -- Scud

Approximate season: Fresh water crustaceans spend their entire lives in the water.
Water habitat: Slow, clean, well-oxygenated streams (spring creeks) and lakes
Identifiable traits: Looking like shrimp or pill bugs, scuds come in a wide range of colors from ¼ to ½ inch. Color is often determined by the surrounding vegetation.
Hook size: 16-10
Additional Information: Scuds come out from hiding and feed in low light. Use a dead-drift or VERY slow retrieves. According to Phillip Rowley in his book, Fly Patterns for Stillwaters, a "golden olive or dirty yellow-colored scud pattern is a good choice during the fall months....Some scuds have a distinct orange spot. This is the brood pouch or marsupium of the pregnant females so keep that in mind at the tying bench and on the water."
Patterns: Sparkle Shrimp; Glass Bead Scud, Pearl Shrimp, Dubbed Scud


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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on May 20, 2010 5:04 PM.

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