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Artistic view of a Male Pteronarcys californica (Pteronarcyidae) (Giant Salmonfly) Stonefly Adult from the Gallatin River in Montana
Salmonflies
Pteronarcys californica

The giant Salmonflies of the Western mountains are legendary for their proclivity to elicit consistent dry-fly action and ferocious strikes.

27" brown trout, my largest ever. It was the sub-dominant fish in its pool. After this, I hooked the bigger one, but I couldn't land it.
Troutnut is a project started in 2003 by salmonid ecologist Jason "Troutnut" Neuswanger to help anglers and fly tyers unabashedly embrace the entomological side of the sport. Learn more about Troutnut or support the project for an enhanced experience here.

Adirman
Adirman's profile picture
Monticello, NY

Posts: 479
Adirman on Jun 16, 2012June 16th, 2012, 6:46 am EDT
Guys;

What are some of your favorite dry fly patterns for fishing Light Cahills? to me, they look very similar to Sulphers and Golden Drakes. Is there a searching pattern that imitates all of these fairly well out there or am I generalizing there similarities too much?

Thanks a bunch,

Adirman
Martinlf
Martinlf's profile picture
Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3047
Martinlf on Jun 16, 2012June 16th, 2012, 8:07 am EDT
I believe that a well-presented creamy yellow comparadun or parachute in the right size will take many fish rising to these hatches. But perhaps not all. Some fish, like some people, seem to possess more discriminating palates.

But it's hard to tell exactly what got this or that fish to rise. Was it the size of the tippet? The angle or manner of presentation? The exact color of the body? The hackle or lack of it? The match to the specific aspect of emergence? The wing profile? Each angler decides, and I'd venture that some of our most insightful revelations are pure superstition.

So, the ultimate answer for each of us may just lie in trial and error, adding experience and confidence as we find something that works. And confidence and experience, along with persistence, are very important additions to any fly pattern.

Finally I'd note that these words of wisdom ironically come from a person who sometimes blends his own dubbing and dyes his own materials, all in the quest to come up with a magic bullet. Superstition? Probably. Confidence gainer? Frequently.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
Entoman
Entoman's profile picture
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Entoman on Jun 16, 2012June 16th, 2012, 8:54 am EDT
Hi Adirman,

Searching patterns or general attractors by definition are as the name implies. Humpies, Wulffs, Parachutes, and traditional Catskill patterns all have their place. Oh, and don't forget them soft hackles fished in the film! They can be deadly searching patterns.

It's probably good advice going smaller and lighter as the season progresses (though I have found the fish don't always agree). Get your hands on a few small Blonde Humpies and give them a try.

I glean from experienced eastern anglers that the pale Summer heptageniids rarely hatch in numbers dense enough to cause selectivity, so a general attractor you have confidence in may be the way to go. Out West, some rivers have hatches of these pale critters that come in prodigious numbers requiring more imitative flies. In these situations I prefer slant wing thorax duns (heptageniid wings are more rakish than other families as a general rule) or a good matching flymph fished in the film. If you are fortunate to run into a hatch dense enough to cause the fish to dial in, you might consider these patterns or something similar that match size and color.

One final bit of advice - if only a few duns are trickling off here and there and fish don't seem to care about them (or your attractor dries), don't forget to try a good beetle or ant pattern! Sometimes they are just the ticket.
"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman
Jmd123
Jmd123's profile picture
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2474
Jmd123 on Jun 16, 2012June 16th, 2012, 9:42 am EDT
Here in northern lower Michigan, our Light Cahill hatches are just starting. I fished the traditional Light Cahill pattern - wood duck tail, cream body, cream hackle, wood duck wings - in size 12 and got a 16-incher on it two nights ago, plus one lost nearly that big. I don't have a local Hex hatch situation (for trout, anyway) but these Light Cahills - I believe Stenonema canadense - can get every fish in the river feeding on the surface just like the Hex. They almost seem to glow as they hover above the surface in the twilight. Most definitely one of my favorite hatches!

Jonathon
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
Adirman
Adirman's profile picture
Monticello, NY

Posts: 479
Adirman on Jun 16, 2012June 16th, 2012, 9:51 am EDT
Thanks guys! Entoman, I know I can always count on you for good advice!!
Let me as you this if I may: when you fish a soft hackle and wish to specifically keep it in the film such as a flymph, how do you prevent it from sinking too much? Do you dress the top area around the knot w/ a bit of floatant and/or also the leader a bit?

Thanks again,
Adirman
Entoman
Entoman's profile picture
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Entoman on Jun 16, 2012June 16th, 2012, 10:04 am EDT
Adir -

Dress them on dry fly hooks and use a kerchief to keep them dry (I have been known to use desiccant powder from time to time if the fish really want them up and aren't put off by the residue).

BTW - For those that may want to look on the hatch pages to see the bug Jon is referring to, Stenonema canadense is now Stenacron interpunctatum.
"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman
Wiflyfisher
Wiflyfisher's profile picture
Wisconsin

Posts: 622
Wiflyfisher on Jun 16, 2012June 16th, 2012, 1:29 pm EDT
For the sporadic Light Cahill hatches I like comparaduns. They worked great yesterday! :) I tie them in #12s and #14s. I also tie a wet fly with a wood duck wing.



Entoman
Entoman's profile picture
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Entoman on Jun 16, 2012June 16th, 2012, 5:56 pm EDT
John -

Cool flies & photos! So you are a plier of the natural wand, huh? Very nice...

BTW - What kind of hair is that? Looks very cream with very tiny black tips. To me, the hair choice makes the fly on the comparadun pattern. You have a winner there for the Cahill species.
"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman
Adirman
Adirman's profile picture
Monticello, NY

Posts: 479
Adirman on Jun 17, 2012June 17th, 2012, 1:47 am EDT
Wifly;

Nice pic of your flies!!
Wiflyfisher
Wiflyfisher's profile picture
Wisconsin

Posts: 622
Wiflyfisher on Jun 17, 2012June 17th, 2012, 2:33 am EDT
Kurt, it is one of many pieces of elk hair from BRF.

Last night after storms rolled through I went back down to the river. Not much happening so at dusk so I tied on a large extended body Hex comparadun and had a beautiful 22" brown devour it. I didn't stay to see if any hatch was going to start, the skitters were out in force.

The bamboo fly rod is a blank from Dennis Stone that I finished over the winter months. It is a Granger 8642 taper, 8'6", 5 wt.
Jmd123
Jmd123's profile picture
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2474
Jmd123 on Jun 17, 2012June 17th, 2012, 10:51 am EDT
"...Stenonema canadense is now Stenacron interpunctatum."

Aaaah, there go those danged taxonomists again! Good thing the fish don't care...

Jonathon

P.S. Didn't see any the last two nights, or much of anything hatching for that matter. Friday night I pulled out the old secret weapon, a #12 Royal Wulff, and a 15-incher fell for it.
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
Wiflyfisher
Wiflyfisher's profile picture
Wisconsin

Posts: 622
Wiflyfisher on Jun 17, 2012June 17th, 2012, 11:43 am EDT
P.S. Didn't see any the last two nights, or much of anything hatching for that matter. Friday night I pulled out the old secret weapon, a #12 Royal Wulff, and a 15-incher fell for it.

In the last 2 days I have also caught 4 really, really nice trout on these when there was nothing hatching (Royal Trude)...



Jmd123
Jmd123's profile picture
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2474
Jmd123 on Jun 17, 2012June 17th, 2012, 12:10 pm EDT
Nice flies John! I haven't fished the Trude lately, and I'm due for a tying session...I have had much success in the past with Royal Coachman parachutes as well. What is it about this "Royal" pattern? It's been "the old secret weapon" for me for over 20 years, works on brookies, browns, and rainbows alike, especially lately. It's been my "clutch" fly many times this year alone.

Another which is beginning to produce again is the old White Wulff, size 10-12. Getting back to our Light Cahill discussion, a #12 in this pattern works very well during our Stenacron interpunctatum (I suppose...) hatches which are just getting started. Last night a rainbow probably 12 inches long took one in a nice log complex, came up on the other side of a log, and popped it off the 4x tippet...shoulda cut back at dark!

Jonathon
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
TNEAL
GRAYLING. MICHIGAN

Posts: 278
TNEAL on Jun 19, 2012June 19th, 2012, 9:52 am EDT
The Roberts Drake is just such a fly to imitate all fof them (and more) fairly well. If you need tying instructions, let me know.
Adirman
Adirman's profile picture
Monticello, NY

Posts: 479
Adirman on Jun 19, 2012June 19th, 2012, 12:54 pm EDT
Yes sir, that would be great!!

Thanks so much,

Adirman
Softhackle
Softhackle's profile picture
Wellsville, NY

Posts: 540
Softhackle on Jun 19, 2012June 19th, 2012, 4:48 pm EDT


I love this fly. It works very well for cahills in various sizes.

Hook: Mustad 80050BR or similar 12-16 ( I now prefer a Daiichi 1260)

Thread: Pale yellow

Tail: Lemon wood duck flank

Body: Cream dubbing

Rib: Fine gold wire

Hackle: Wound through thorax area-Dyed yellow partridge

Mark
"I have the highest respect for the skilled wet-fly fisherman, as he has mastered an art of very great difficulty." Edward R. Hewitt

Flymphs, Soft-hackles and Spiders: http://www.troutnut.com/libstudio/FS&S/index.html
Adirman
Adirman's profile picture
Monticello, NY

Posts: 479
Adirman on Jun 19, 2012June 19th, 2012, 5:29 pm EDT
Mark;

I'm going up to the Adirondacks this weekend to fish and i was wondering if you thought that some of your soft hackle patterns might be effective in those mountain streams up there and if so, which ones? Last year, I caught a bunch using classic dries and wets but as always, trying to vary my methods to amuse myself a bit so thought i might try something else. What do you think?

Thanks for your help, as always,

Adirman

Softhackle
Softhackle's profile picture
Wellsville, NY

Posts: 540
Softhackle on Jun 20, 2012June 20th, 2012, 6:35 am EDT
Hi,
It's been quite some time since I've traveled into the Adirondacks, however if I remember correctly, their hatches are a bit behind what is common in the Catskills. I believe sulfurs, cahills, yellow stone flies, Little olives, and perhaps some green drakes may be hatching and active. I guess it depends upon where you are. Usefull patterns may be these:

http://www.troutnut.com/libstudio/FS&S/html/cream_soft-hackle.html

http://www.troutnut.com/libstudio/FS&S/html/li_l_dorothy.html

http://www.troutnut.com/libstudio/FS&S/html/lt__snipe___yellow.html

http://www.troutnut.com/libstudio/FS&S/html/sulfur_soft-hackle.html

http://www.troutnut.com/libstudio/FS&S/html/tup_s_indispensible.html

http://www.troutnut.com/libstudio/FS&S/html/little_olive_flymph.html

Also that flymph I posted above should be considered. This style of fly could also be adapted to imitate those yellow stone flies by adjusting the colors of the body and hackle and hook size to match the natural. If you want to adjust it for a stone fly imitation, I'd omit the tail.

You need to pick which of these patterns floats your boat. It may be just a few, or all.

Let us know how you do!
Mark
"I have the highest respect for the skilled wet-fly fisherman, as he has mastered an art of very great difficulty." Edward R. Hewitt

Flymphs, Soft-hackles and Spiders: http://www.troutnut.com/libstudio/FS&S/index.html
Adirman
Adirman's profile picture
Monticello, NY

Posts: 479
Adirman on Jun 20, 2012June 20th, 2012, 2:44 pm EDT
Mark;

Thanks for the info and I'll report back soon!!

Adirman

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