|....................... .................... ...Fly Fishing Yellowstone National Park
New KISS Bug Series - Part 40
As I mentioned in a previous article, the trout can become so full of the large Salmonfly nymphs that they
become reluctant to eat the egg laying female adults. This happens far more in some of the streams
outside the park than it does inside the park. I've witnessed this several times on the Madison River below
Hebgen and Quake Lakes all the way to Ennis.
The females usually don't start depositing their eggs until a few days after the hatch first starts. Just
because you see a large number of stoneflies in the bushes and air, doesn't mean that imitating them will
be effective. You also have to consider the fact that the trout may be full of the stonefly nymphs and will not
begin to actively feed for a while. If you are seeing a lot of adult stoneflies and you are not catching trout
on dry fly imitations of them, most likely you are fishing a little early in the process. Either move a few miles
downstream where the hatch may have started earlier or wait a day or two to try again. At some point in
time the trout will begin to take them. If this happens, just give it some time, a day or two, and things will
change. The trout will begin to eat them at some point in time and it will probably be some of the most
exciting dry fly fishing you may ever encounter.
These large stoneflies lay their eggs during the daytime as well as in the evenings. Once you begin to
observe the large Salmonflies depositing their eggs, you should try imitating them. The trout are not always
gorged on the nymphs. This occurs in areas where there are huge populations of the stoneflies but
certainly not everywhere.
You can cast the large imitations in the fast water of the runs and riffles and at some point in time, the trout
will begin to take them even if they get swept under by the turbulent waters. When the trout sees the
females depositing their eggs, their wings are not necessarily folded down on their bodies. They may be
fluttering just above the surface to keep from falling in the water, or the fly may have fallen into the water
and the wings could be in a spent position. Some anglers prefer to use a spent wing pattern of the adult.
Notice that if you look closely at the top of the adult Salmonfly, you get an entirely different view. It is much
darker brown and the only salmon color is a small area around the neck of the fly. When the Salmonflies
are hatching, you can always find their shucks along the banks. This is true of any stonefly hatch. If you
examine the bushes along the banks of the stream you will most always be able to find the adults. They live
a relatively long time out of the water and are easy to spot due to their large size. In fact, if the hatch is
prolific the bushes will be loaded with the large stoneflies. It makes you wonder just how many were eaten
by trout trying to get to the banks to hatch.
Availability to trout:
Type of water:
Duration of hatch period:
pieronarcys californica species
Late Afternoons, mostly evenings