May 14th-A month to go. Dry Fly Countdown

Good Morning Everyone,

Well, we are a month out from having the first guests at the Firehole Ranch, and we are furiously getting the Ranch ready for opening week. Those of us on the fishing side of things are, well.., uh,… we are fishing, tying flies, cleaning boats, and well,…uh…, fishing some more. On the tying end of things, we should all have full boxes of nymphs now, ¬†and should be ready to tackle the dry flies. So hear we go the top 10 dry flies I would have if I was fishing the greater Yellowstone region this summer. In typical fishing guide fashion, I am going to break the rules for the top 10 flies right off the bat, and give you the top 10 + 1. The reason for this is, the specific nature of dry fly fishing. Many of our dry flies are very hatch specific, meaning that a fly is tied to imitate a particular insect at a particular stage of its life cycle. If you encounter these hatches, dry fly enthusiasts typically have boxes and boxes of flies to match all the possible situations one might encounter. Throw in the fact that there is more fishable water in the greater Yellowstone area than one fisherman could fish in a lifetime, and you have a lot of possibilities to tie flies for. This is our best effort to wrap all of that up in 10 patterns you should not be without, but in compiling this list I had to go with 10 + 1. So here we go.

Number 10 + 1 (or number 11): Gray Drake Spinner #12-If you encounter Gray Drakes you better have this pattern. Funny thing is that there is a very narrow window for this bug, and they are only important on a few rivers in the Yellowstone region. But, and this a big but, if you see gray drakes, you can count on the fact that you better have some of these spinners in your box. Fish eat gray drake spinners without hesitation, period! So where are they important. Slough Creek in early July, Yellowstone river throughout July and August, Lamar and Soda Butte rivers in July and September, the lower Henrys Fork in June, and in high water years (like this year), the Madison in the Park. So if you see yourself out here at any of those times, your obligation to the vise starts at number 11.

What comprises this large mayfly spinner pattern. Start with a tail of stiff dun, or grizzly spade hackle fibers. A body of tan rabbit dubbing, ribbed with brown sewing thread. Next a wingcase of gray foam, pulled over a classic spinner style of grizzly or dun hackle trimmed flat on the bottom. Tie it all off and you are prepared for this spinner fall.

Just as a side note, one might be asking why we are tying a spinner instead of a dun. Good question. The duns actually usually emerge when the nymphs migrate to shallow margins of the river and crawl out on grass and logs, thereby not often making themselves available to the trout as duns. But later they molt into spinners and land on the rivers surface in mass. Yippee for us and the trout!

Good tying,


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