|.............................Fly Fishing Yellowstone National Park
I am calling this series Yellowstone Journals and Additional Information. It is a collection of a
rambling mixture of experiences on the streams with some notes, tips and additional
information thrown in. Some of this comes from my video tape logs (record of video shot)
and notes made on my daily note books.
Fly Fishing the Upper Madison - Part 9
A few years ago we were shooting video on the Madison River and I was doing a
segment for a caddisfly program I have been working on for some time. I thought
I would be doing it on the Spotted Sedges but that afternoon the Spotted
Sedges were completely outdone by another caddisfly. I grabbed my fly net from
the car and made a few sweeps to catch some of the strange looking white flies.
I remember telling Angie they were White Millers. They were thousands of them
and the trout were eating them. The sun was setting when we started shooting
the video. By the time it was just too dark to shoot any more video, I had caught
over a dozen trout. The fishing was still going strong when we quit. I used our
"Perfect Fly" White Miller Adult fly I had developed for Eastern species.
That night in our room, I got my caddisfly books out to check my identification.
Not one book showed the White Miller existing in the West. All four of them
showed it as an Eastern species. Everything else about it checked out. I was
confused. Almost a year later I discovered an article written by Blue Ribbon Flies
about the White Miller caddisflies that were increasing in population each year.
That was the first clue I had that I wasn't wrong about my identification. Later, I
confirmed through two different entomologist that White Millers did exist in many
Last year, during the month of August and September, it appeared to me that
the White Millers (Ceratopsyche species) were more plentiful than the Spotted
Sedges were during the months of June and July. That is just a guess and may
be completely wrong because the White Millers are much easier to see. It may
just appear that there are more of them than they actually are. The speculation
is that they are growing in numbers because the water is getting warmer each
year. I hope that turns out to be wrong although I honestly believe the theory is
correct. Irrespective of that, there is one thing for certain. These caddisflies are
plentiful enough that the trout in the Madison River, as well as the Firehole
River, key in on them for a rather long period of time both in the early Summer
and again in the late summer and early fall. They seem to hatch everywhere
there is water but they favor the smooth water stretches. I believe the ones you
see around the fast water (usually not that many) are some that have flown
away from the nearby areas they hatched in
These caddisflies start emerging in the late afternoons and deposit their eggs in
the late afternoon and on into the evening hours. We have fished our "Perfect
Fly" White Miller pupae the past four years in Yellowstone. It is very effective in
catching trout during the hatch. We fish it down and across much like a soft
hackle fly, allowing it to come back to the surface.
Copyright 2009 James Marsh
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"Perfect Fly" White Miller Pupa