Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Larger Western Mayflies of Autumn

Lesser Green Drake tied by Steven Bird
Mahogany Dun tied by Steven Bird

      Wetfly takes on a couple of larger mayflies that are a significant autumn presence in the West: The lesser green drake (Drunella flavilinea); & the mahogany dun or blue quill (Paraleptophlebia bicornuta). Both of these mayflies occur over the spectrum of stream types; both are generally about the same size, #12-#14; & neither produces substantial hatches (that I’ve encountered), yet imitations of either are worthwhile, as they are in the mix, flavs into October, & mahogany duns into November or even later in southern ranges.

I think of the lesser green drake & mahogany dun as a ‘seasonal hatch’, their imitations worthwhile for ‘fishing the water’ throughout the season, in areas they are present. As nymphs, both of these species are crawlers; & both migrate to shallow water prior to final emergence. I think trout just as often see emerging, stillborn, or drowned spinner versions of  ‘flavs’ & mahogany duns, so, for that reason, I fish ‘winged’ patterns, which serve to cover those three modes: emerger/stillborn/spent adult. 
Profile of Lesser Green Drake Wing

Looking at the winged wetfly patterns here, & if you go back & look at Allen McGee’s mayfly patterns in the prior Journal entry, you'll notice that though the mayfly designs pictured are winged, they aren’t really “winged wetflies” in the traditional sense. The paired quill wings of ‘traditional’ designs are objectified & heavy, with little movement, tending toward somewhat less than diaphanous. The wings of mayflies, even drakes, are delicate, often transparent or semi-transparent so, to my mind, ‘less-is-more’ seems a good approach to simulating wings. Trout can see very well, & if they see too much, there is too much that can be seen as questionable & be rejected. But just a hint. An insinuation of a wing. Just a few fibers of light reflecting antron simulating a wing on a small fly, leaves little to dismiss as suspicious. The wings of mahogany duns remain colored through all stages, becoming semi-transparent toward the rear portions in the spinner stage. Both flavs & mahogany duns display & retain the most color &, in the case of flavs, veining, on the forward portions of the wings, & it is just the forward portion I'm attempting to simulate. 

Lesser Green Drake

Hook: #14 TMC 200R

Thread: Yellow

Tail: Black - three heavy feather fibers

Rib: Yellow latex 'floss' wound over the abdomen

Abdomen: Dark olive (BWO) Wapsi Superfine dubbed on yellow sewing thread – bodies on these are robust, build up with sewing thread

Thorax: Dark olive Wapsi Superfine

Wing: Stack: about a dozen natural mallard or gadwall flank fibers; a couple barbs of yellow marabou; 3 or 4 strands of olive or blue dun midge flash; top with a few fibers of olive-dyed mallard flank

Hackle: One turn of brown speckled game hen

Head: A turn of dark olive dubbing – & finish.


Mahogany Dun

Hook: #14 TMC 200R

Thread: Rusty brown

Tail: Ginger hackle fibers

Abdomen: Mahogany-brown goose biot

Thorax: March-brown Wapsi Superfine dubbing

Wing: Medium blue dun sections taken from a very soft secondary feather (I gather those dropped by molting gulls) – train opposing quarter inch sections straight out from the feather stem, fold together & cut from the stem for a matched pair

Hackle: One turn of ginger hen hackle – & finish.  


 Flyfish NE Washington with Steven Bird: http://ucflyfishing.blogspot.com


4 comments:

  1. Obfuscation? So - channeling Ray Magliozzi, eh?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Bert, I been using that term consistently since I was six months old. Ray Magliozzi?...

    I've never been to Italy...

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  3. Sorry. It's a failed attempt at humor. That word is a favorite expression of the Tappet Brothers from the Car Talk program on public radio.

    http://www.cartalk.com/

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  4. You did not fail Bert.

    I am intentionally oblique when busted.

    So I'll fess up to listening to those over-the-top nuts from Cambridge even if they do laugh too much. Remember, I was born in Mass, &, well, it's just nice to hear somebody talk the talk.

    Good to hear from you, Bert. Hope you're doing well.

    ReplyDelete