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Artistic view of a Male Pteronarcys californica (Pteronarcyidae) (Giant Salmonfly) Stonefly Adult from the Gallatin River in Montana
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.
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Partsman's profile picture
bancroft michigan

Posts: 321
Partsman on Feb 2, 2019February 2nd, 2019, 8:20 am EST
OK I am officially over winter, and with that proclamation Im wondering what are some of the really early dry fly patterns or some effective early season nymph patterns, Im sitting at the vise right now, and I have been tying some brown. drakes and Roberts yellow drakes, and some bwos. The bwos are size 18,20, and 22. Any good Hendrickson patterns I should be aware off? Of course this will be for Michigan trout streams, but I think the best patterns are universal in were they work. Anyways, I hope that big rodent is right and spring is just around the corner!

Wbranch's profile picture
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2635
Wbranch on Feb 2, 2019February 2nd, 2019, 9:16 am EST

In my neck of the woods the earliest dry flies are Early Black and Early Brown Stone fly's. They will emerge when there is still snow on the ground if it is sunny out. Then #18 tan caddis, and then Ep subvaria as long as the water temperature has been at least 52 degrees for 2 - 3 days.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
Partsman's profile picture
bancroft michigan

Posts: 321
Partsman on Feb 3, 2019February 3rd, 2019, 8:36 am EST
Matt, thanks for the reply, really winter is getting to be to much, I have got to get out and fish, or just get away for few days. Im thinking Gates lodge and the holy waters, if I cant fish at can at least tie some flies and go get a good look around.

Thanks, Mike.
Wbranch's profile picture
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2635
Wbranch on Feb 4, 2019February 4th, 2019, 12:10 am EST

I guess I have just gotten used to not fishing in the winter. A big part of my acceptance of not fishing is that as I've gotten older I just don't have the anxiousness to go out in the cold to nymph fish. Zero interest. I re-live any one of thousands of really good days in nice weather and that tides me over. Plus I tie almost every day and since mid December I've tied about 250 flies.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
Jmd123's profile picture
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2474
Jmd123 on Feb 4, 2019February 4th, 2019, 3:00 am EST
RED QUILLS! Same fly as the Hendrickson, only the male of the species, and a very different looking fly. You'll see 'em come May! Make sure you're well stocked for caddis too, they can come out pretty early, and the golden-brown stoneflies too, which can be imitated by an EHC in the appropriate colors.

No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
Partsman's profile picture
bancroft michigan

Posts: 321
Partsman on Feb 4, 2019February 4th, 2019, 1:12 pm EST
That's kinda were im at Matt, but sometimes my brain sends signals to body that hey you can still do that, you want to don't you? Im spending a lot of time tying, and hoping for a early spring, thanks Jonathon, Im going to get some patterns for red quills and get to work.

Take care, Mike.
Martinlf's profile picture
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3047
Martinlf on Feb 4, 2019February 4th, 2019, 1:27 pm EST
I have a lot of Hendrickson patterns I tie, but the comparadun seems to be the one that I often tie on. They work.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
NW PA - Pennsylvania's Glacial Pothole Wonderland

Posts: 398
RleeP on Feb 5, 2019February 5th, 2019, 5:56 am EST
MIke.. Do you folks get the early paraleps (blue quills to me, but may be known as tiny or "Little Mahogany" over there)? If so, some of them in an #18 may be worth having. Year in and year out, they've been the most reliable early hatch in my part of Pennsylvania especially on water where they overlap with the standard #18 Olives. Often times, I've been able to use a single pattern (#18 comparadun or parachute with a medium brown/gray body) to cover both bugs, particularly if the fish you are working over aren't hyper-sophisticated. The thing I like best about the paraleps is that due to the usual colder water temps or just their nature, they seem to take quite a while to get off the water. So, you often end up with a lot of fish that set up in the circling eddies and just stay steady and work them. This makes the whole thing a little like hunting woodcock. If you keep missing them, you can hunt the same half dozen woodcock all day as they tend to pretty much stay put.

But what I don't know is if your rivers have them or enough of them to matter. Might be worth considering, anyway..
Wbranch's profile picture
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2635
Wbranch on Feb 5, 2019February 5th, 2019, 8:43 am EST

Oops, I also forgot to mention the paraleps. Yes we get great emergences on the EB, WB, and main stem. Often they come out first but frequently they will overlap with Ep subvaria for a couple of weeks.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
Iasgair's profile picture

Posts: 148
Iasgair on Feb 11, 2019February 11th, 2019, 10:39 am EST
One of my favorite early dries is the Griffiths Gnat, size #20. The BWO's you're tying should do well too.

Midges sizes #20 to #22 are always a good bet, like Black Beauty, Jujubee and Rojo Midges.

If I see a hatch beginning, I'll also try in size #18, Para Adams, Blue Quills and some BWO Emergers. If things are tough, try using a size #20 RS-2, either black, brown or gray trailing your dry.

Posts: 278
TNEAL on Feb 26, 2019February 26th, 2019, 5:08 am EST
My para emerger series #12,14 for Hendricksons, #16,18 for paraleps (little mahogany), North Branch Drake in black for little black caddis and olive for olive caddis. If anyone if interested in patterns, pm me...

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