First of all, Happy New Year! I hope you find great fishing success in 2023! I finished tying flies for a customer last week and pulled out a few more hooks so I could tie flies for the provider box. It got me thinking about several insect hatches I’m looking forward to this year. Four of my favorite hatches to imitate are Green Drakes, PMDs, Golden Stones, and a tan Caddis. I tied a few extra Sparkle Duns to imitate Green Drakes and PMDs as well as Clark’s Lady Stone and Iris Caddis!
Let me begin with the Green Drake. These bugs hatch on my local waters in May and June and are my favorite Mayfly hatch. You’ll find them in sizes 10 and 8. I love watching them float downstream to willing trout. It doesn’t always happen though. I’ve seen them float long distances and watch trout rise in the water column to a twitching insect, slowly drifting in the current to take a good look and not eat them! Why would they pass up a large meal like this? I’ve never figured it out. Our fall drakes are size 12 and the fish are just as eager to eat them in late September and October.
The flies below are the ones you’ll find on my tippet when Green Drakes are seen hatching. I’ve placed them in order of importance to me, from left to right.
If you decide to fish nymphs or emergers, here are two more flies to consider.
PMD’s are another favorite Mayfly I look forward to. You’ll start seeing them in late May. I’ve seen epic hatches of these size 16 – 18 flies where they carpet the water’s surface and fish rising everywhere!
You can read more about their lifecycle in my PMD Time post.
I coax many fish to my fly with these favorite imitations:
Again, here are a few more flies you might add to your box to imitate the various stages of a PMD.
If you are a nymph fly fisher, give these a try:
For more ideas, be sure to go to the Mayfly Fly Patterns page.
Golden Stones are the third insect. While some fly fishers look forward to the Salmonfly hatch which begins in May on the Deschutes River, Golden’s aren’t too far behind, and I believe they are available to fish longer. Here are images of both.
Golden Stones are in the size 8 – 10 range, while Salmonflies can be found in sizes 2 – 6.
I know what you are thinking…a Chubby Chernobyl – Purple? I can’t explain why trout love this fly. I just know I fish it and it works!
When I do decide to fish nymphs, about the only one I use is McPail’s Golden Stonefly Nymph – Variant. I added my RiverKeeper Stonefly Nymph for those looking for a great nymph to imitate the Stonefly.
More fly options can be found on my Stonefly Fly Patterns page.
As I mentioned above, a tan Caddis hatch is something to behold. We’ve had such great fishing in July on the Madison River, MT I couldn’t leave these flies out.
There isn’t much to tying these size 16 flies, but oh boy, do the fish like them!
There are many effective Caddis imitations. For more ideas, here is the link to my Caddis Fly Patterns.
Be sure to check out my RiverKeeper Flies YouTube channel if you’d like to see how I tie many of these flies.
I’m jealous your hatches have such big flies
Yes, those Drakes are amazing!
Thanks John, very informative as usual, Happy New Year to you and your lovely model
Thanks Brad! Good to hear from you.