Tuesday, May 7, 2013

PMD - Red Quill


     The pale morning dun (Ephemerella excrucians) is the most prolific mayfly in the West, & possibly the most important in North America to anglers. PMD’s inhabit slow to moderate flows; emerging May-September, & earlier in southern localities. The heaviest hatches I’ve encountered in the Northwest are in June, with emergence morning & evening, & throughout the day on mild, overcast days.

In NE Washington we usually begin to see PMD’s on the warmer days toward the end of May, with hatches peaking about late June & then lasting well into July. During the peak season, the river back-eddies hold rafts of sedges peppered with mayflies, making it seem hopeless to drift a dryfly with so many naturals clogging the eddy lines. PMD’s emerge in waves, as if with one mind, cuing trout onto the pulse. Pulse & pause. During the pauses, trout turn their attention to the stuff floating on top, or very near the top, displaying a preference for the small mayflies, PMD’s & the very similar western red quills (Rhithrogena undulata), scattered through the more abundant spent sedges. Trout will nose the sedges aside & eat a mayfly, or an imitation of one, provided it’s the right size & exhibits a sexy profile (not too fat) however splayed.

This version simulates the coloration of an adult pale morning dun or red quill, & tied in #12-#18 it will cover some other mayfly species as well. I fish it in & just under the surface film, or spritzed with a dressing to float on top.

PMD - RED QUILL

Hook: #16-#18 standard dryfly

Thread: Rust-brown Uni 

Tails: Mallard flank – pale, finely barred, 3 fibers about the same length as the body

Rib: Gray thread

Abdomen: Tying thread

Thorax: Pheasant tail

Hackle: Light ginger or honey dun hen hackle

Ginger/Honey Dun  hackle from the flank of a welsumer hen
Flyfish the Upper Columbia/NE Washington with Steven Bird: http://ucflyfishing.blogspot.com

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