Though I find the study of waterborn insects fascinating from an angler’s perspective, & I think I have a fairly good handle on the important bugs present in my home water, I’ve come to the conclusion that exact identification of an insect contributes very little to creating an effective fly pattern for meeting it on the water. And knowing the exact taxonomy of what is there will not necessarily get you a long way toward determining what the trout are preferring to eat during an evening offering a spectrum of choices. Tonight there was a blitz of spotted sedge coming off the river, & a lot of fish, backs & tails out of the water, revealing that they were feeding on emergers under the surface film – & the sedge pupa emerger patterns have been working good – yet tonight they (the fish) wouldn’t touch a sedge imitation. A break, & a closer look at what was on the water revealed that the spotted sedge were masking a hatch of little black sedge, & also baetis (PMD), blue winged olive & a #16 gray mayfly whose identity I’m not sure of. While I sat watching the water, an olive stonefly landed on my ear. I picked it off, a #12. So, I determined that the classic ambiguity of the situation might be properly met with an equally ambiguous fly pattern, something impressionistic to simulate the emerging nymph stage of at least a couple of the insects the trout might be eating. This simple, all-purpose soft-hackle flymph (emerger) proved to be the mojo needed to turn the evening around. What were trout taking it for? I don't know. Never figured it out. In #16, I suspect it is taken for spotted sedge, baetis, or the emerging nymph of the unidentified gray mayfly. Main thing is, whatever the trout were eating, this one covered it nicely.
Turkey & Starling Nymph
Thread: Wine UNI 8/0
Body: Mottled turkey tail – choose a secondary feather with close mottling – (6 swords for a #14) twisted with the tying thread (I leave the tag end of my tying thread long enough to twist with the feather swords)
Hackle: Starling ~ & finish
Flyfish NE Washington with Steven Bird: ucflyfishing.blogspot.com