PMDs & Sallies
Well, it’s happening. The bugs are here, the water is coming down, and the fish are rising. A number of our guides have enjoyed good dry fly fishing with their clients. Several guides saw PMDs from 9:30 AM until evening. The fish have been eating PMD duns and nymphs quite well, but you have to be patient and look for the easy glides and backwater areas where the fish are willing to come up. The water is currently at 5,220, but we expect it to drop further. I wouldn’t be surprised to see flows at 3,000 cfs in a week or two. A number of PMD patterns are working well. We like a yellowish-orange parachute pattern with the post trimmed down. The PMD Student is often the preferred “picky fish” fly (see picture). Fish it behind a parachute or PMD Compara Dun. Our PMD Compara Duns with snowshoe rabbit wings will float all day, and we sometimes fish a nymph below them. Keep the distance between them short (10”) if you’re seeing fish on the surface. If fish aren’t up, but you’re spotting trout in shallow water, lengthen the dropper to around 24”. When you have to fish deep, I’ve been throwing a pink scud with a PMD nymph below it. Sowbugs are still producing as well.
Yellow Sallies have been sputtering off throughout the day. If you notice small explosions on the surface, this is usually a Sally rise. Trout hit these insects with gusto, as they don’t remain on the surface for long. A #14 or #16 yellow stimulator will usually do the trick. A Gold-ribbed Hare’s Ear nymph serves as a decent Sally nymph imitation, as long as it is tied sparse.
There have been fish eating black caddis in the evening. It’s still early for this hatch, but if you stay out late, they are already a factor. Come August, they’ll be the main event. A #18 CDC Black Caddis will work well. A Hemingway Caddis in the same size is also effective on selective fish.
This is a good time to be on the Bighorn, and it’s only going to get better.