|....................... .................... ...Fly Fishing Yellowstone National Park
New KISS Bug Series - Part 37
In the eyes of many visiting anglers, the Salmonfly, a huge stonefly, is what western fly fishing is all about,
yet many make trips to the highly rated blue ribbon trout streams only to miss the hatch by arriving too
early or after it is finished for another year. Some guides and outfitters have a way of extending the hatch
period far longer than it actually exist. They know it's their number one selling feature.
Inside Yellowstone National Park there are only a few places where the salmonflies exist in large quantities.
The Firehole Canyon is one of them and one of the first areas they hatch due to the warm water influence
of the upstream geysers. Of course, the fast water sections of parts of the Gibbon and Madison Rivers
have some of the big stoneflies. Other streams with fast water sections have their share but for the most
part, the hatches come after those in the Madison drainage.
Species of this Pteronarcyidae family of stoneflies are called “Giant Stoneflies”. These are the largest
stoneflies there are. This family of stoneflies contains two genera,, pieronarcys and pteronarcella, that are
important to fly fishers.
The pieronarcys genus includes the californica species or the famous “Giant Salmon Fly” and that is the
species - The Salmonfly - that you need to become familiar with. This is a very large stonefly. Both the
adults and nymphs can be up to three inches long. The nymphs live from two to four years.
The salmonfly hatch can offer some of the best fly fishing action the West has to offer. Both the nymphs
and the adult salmonflies are eaten by trout and in doing so, the trout get a rather big meal. Most of the
cold water trout streams in the West that have fast water, have these huge stoneflies.
Availability to trout:
Type of water:
Duration of hatch period:
pieronarcys californica species
Late Afternoons, mostly evenings