On the Fly: Mayfly mayhem | AspenTimes.com

On the Fly: Mayfly mayhem

Scott Spooner
On the Fly
A Fryingpan Pale Morning Dun mayfly.
Courtesy of Gregg Lee

Anglers and guides alike are all commenting on the prolific pale morning dun (PMD) hatches we are seeing this year. The Fryingpan has the most robust emergences of these mayflies, but there are solid numbers being seen on the Roaring Fork and Crystal rivers as well.

PMDs vary quite a bit in size and color, and perhaps we lump too many different mayflies into the PMD family as junior wanna-be entomologists. These bugs vary from reddish hues to pink and especially yellow, and can be found in sizes 14, 16 and 18.  

Cloudy and rainy days are yielding the best numbers of these insects, but you’ll see them popping on bright days too.

Green drakes get the most hype around here, (the PMD’s greenish bigger and bolder cousin) but by our accounts, PMDs begin hatching earlier and continue later into the year than most other insects, except for midges, which hatch every day year-round.

PMD nymphs are rust to black in color, and are generally the same sizes as the duns.  

Go-to patterns around here for nymphs are Pandemics and BTS nymphs, and emergers like the Bat Wing, Halfbacks and Tungsten Split Case Emergers fool plenty of fish. Duns such as Quigley Flags, CDC Comparaduns, Extended Bodies, Cripples and Sparkleduns are the choice of many fish and anglers alike, and CDC Rusty Spinners are key for the evening spinner fall.  

Speaking of which, the heaviest spinner falls can be witnessed on all rivers here in the Roaring Fork Valley early and late in the day.

We highly advise you take the opportunity to fish this hatch as soon as you can, and choose a day with the “worst” weather in the week.  Rain prevents these mayflies from drying their wings before going aloft from the water’s surface, and the fish make mincemeat out of these bugs. We are all glad those dog days of late June and early July are in the rearview, it is time for some of the best dry fly fishing of the year!

This report is provided each week by Taylor Creek Fly Shops in Aspen and Basalt. Taylor Creek can be reached at 970-927-4374 or TaylorCreek.com.

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