.......................  ......Fly Fishing Yellowstone National Park


Fly Fishing Yellowstone - Gray Drakes

The Gray Drakes, called Black Drakes by some, are species of the Siphlonurus
genus of the Siphlonuridae family of mayflies. They are found in several streams
in Yellowstone National Park.

These mayflies are found in rivers with slower moving water that usually has lots
of aquatic vegetation. The Madison River, Firehole River and lower Gibbon
Rivers have some of these mayflies. They can be really important in the
Madison River and normally show up about the last week of June and the first
week of July. We found a large concentration of these mayflies in the Snake
River just above the point it exits the park boundary but they exist in many other
streams. We have fished several spinner falls in the Yellowstone River in the
Buffalo Ford (Nez Perce) area. That happens around the last wee of July to the
first week of August.

We categorized the
alternatus, occidententalis, columbianus, and the spectabilis
species of these mayflies together, as they are almost identical in appearance
and behavior. I am not positive at this time which species exist in the park or if
there are more than one but this should make no difference in the manner in
which you imitate these mayflies.

They are different from most mayflies. The nymphs of the Gray Drakes crawl out
of the water to hatch like a stonefly. It is not necessary to imitate the dun
because it doesn't get in the water and less it does so by accident. The nymphs
are very important, especially just prior to a hatch. The trout know when the
hatch starts and feed on the nymphs crawling out on the banks and large rocks
and boulders in the water.

The spinners are very important. We will cover the details of fishing the nymphs
and spinner stages of life in the next couple of articles.

This is a Gray Drake Spinner, which become important because the trout do
feed on them during the spinner fall.

Copyright 2009 James Marsh