The word on the street this week is Salmonflies are beginning to hatch. While it may be early for your river, these big bugs will be available for several weeks. So I thought I’d provide a few pictures of the real bug and offer some of my favorite Salmonfly patterns I plan to carry in my fly box.

Remember what they look like? These are the biggest bugs the fish in my area will see all year, so the fish usually go crazy when they’re around. Salmonflies range from size 6, with some stretching out to size 2!

Salmonfly adult|

OK, now I have your attention!

Here are a few pictures of what the hatch looks like.

This adult is beginning to climb out of the nymphal shuck.

Salmonfly Hatching |

Still climbing…

Salmonfly Hatching |

And drying the wings.

Salmonfly Wings Unfurling |

When you don’t see the adults on the water, tie on a nymph as the fish have seen and will continue to see these in the water column for awhile. Many fly patterns will work, but I like my own RiverKeeper version in sizes 6 and 4:

RiverKeeper Stonefly Nymph

RiverKeeper Stonefly Nymph |

The Kaufmann Stonefly Nymph below is the fly I used to tie and fish during the Salmonfly hatch. What I don’t like about it is the turkey wingcase. They always seem to split on me. Does this pattern catch fish? Sure…I just updated the fly pattern for my own need.

Kaufmann Stonefly Nymph

Kaufmanns Stonefly |

The most exciting time is when the fish explode at the surface to take a dry fly. Here are a few ideas for flies to put in your fly box.

Rogue Foam Stonefly

Rogue Foam Stone |

Kaufmanns Stimulator

Kaufmann's Salmonfly Stimulator|

How about some Chubby Chernobyl’s? Here is a pattern I played around with a couple of years ago. It’s still in the “testing” phase.

Chubby Chernobyl Stonefly|

Or perhaps a purple Chubby Chernobyl. I don’t know why, but purple just works. In fact, I wrote a post about Purple Flies.

Chubby Chernobyl - Purple |

So these are my favorite Salmonfly patterns. What are your favorite patterns?

Enjoy…go fish!

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  1. I’m color blind and bought what I thought was dark blue deer hair for bombers. When out-side in the sun. saw it was purple and tied up some #4 bombers palmered with Furnace hackle,white calf tail for the tail and same for divided wing. It turned out to be the best dry fly my brother and I ever used on the Southwest Mirmachi river and I have fished Salmon for 45 years.Nothing comes close to this pattern under any conditions. I call it {The Purple Grizz}.
    I just tied 14 and doing for friends and I.

    1. Gary

      Thanks for the comment. Love to hear stories like this. I wonder what it is about purple flies…but it doesn’t matter. They work!


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