Thursday, April 22, 2010

Dan's Early Season Flies

We're lucky in the tahoe region, as we are blessed with a wide variety of aquatic invertebrates that hatch on our local waters. Some of my favorites are our early season mayfly hatches. We have grey drakes, march browns, callibaetis, green drakes + flavs, all happening in spring/early summer. Whats best, is you can copy most of these hatches with a few large, drab, impressionistic imitations-- a couple of which I've posted for you below.

The classic parachute adams in 10-14 doesn't seem like it should work in our technical watersheds, but it does. It's close enough to multiple hatches that trout usually seem to think its food of some sort. Most of the green drake imitations I see are waay too green or olive for our local variety. Especially when the insect has first emerged, a more drab, greyer imitation will often work better. I tie a dull, greyish/tan snowshoe cripple in size 8 down to size 20 and effectively fish that almost all season long if mays are hatching. The only time I swap it out as far as mayflies go is when the really light colored mays like the PMDs, PEDs or serratella (mr. pinky) hatch. Sometimes if the hatch is in its later phases I might throw a hackle stacker as a spinner imitation but that's usually not necessary.

The only drawback to these hatches is they usually occur near early season high water. Even then, with the size of the bug, that's often enough to pull the fish up in rough water. So unless the river is chocolate milk, you have a solid shot at trout on the surface once the big mayflies are hatching and for that I'm more than thankful. :)

Snowshoe Cripple:
thread: tan or grey 6/0 (or other)
hook: standard dry fly hook #8-20
tail: tan grizzly marabou
body: tan grizzly marabou
ribbing: small gold wire
thorax dubbing: Callibaetis antron dubbing
Wing: Dun snowshoe rabbit
hackle: grizzly or speckled dark dun

Snowshoe Humpy:

thread: olive 6/0 (or other)
hook: standard dry fly hook #8-16
tail: moose or coastal deer hair
wingcase: moose or deer pulled over with a
touch of head cement at the end
body: golden olive floss
Wing: Dun snowshoe rabbit
hackle: grizzly or grizzly + dark dun

--posted by Dan Lecount
(Photos by BJ)

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