Big Mayfly on the Yakima

creekx

spent spinner
#16
Paul,
We too have been hitting PMD hatches. Last Friday it was epic with fish up for mayflies from 11:30 am to 6:30 pm. That was fun! The hatch has been the heaviest at around 1 or 2 pm.

I've been seeing the large yellow mayflies too. I've always called them yellow mays. A size 10 or 12 imitates them. I snapped a picture of one the other day. The other picture is of a pmd that wanted a bite of my lunch. They're usually around in June. June is also when we see our first appearances of the yellow sally's. It's not a major hatch, but an imitation will get hit. Let's go fishin, David
How was the PMD? I've heard they taste like chicken...

The dun in the second photo is a clinger, most likely Epeorus (yellow may). Most fly fisherman mistakenly refer to them as PMD's. Clinger mayflies are prolific in north Idaho and western Montana, and vary in color from yellow to green to reddish-brown. They are fairly large, generally size 12-16.
 
#17
There are sporadic Epeorus Grandis on the Yak, sometimes mistakenly referred to as a big yellow may or correctly referred to as a Yellow Quill. Big Yellow May is used to describe a Hexagenia Limbata which only hatch in Merrill Lake in WA as Hex's require the right sorta silty bottom and still or very slow water. But I diverge... It doesn't sound like the Epeorus Grandis is what you saw. (I know, there are some latin-speakers that will jump on this and go, "A Grandis? How can you be so specific???" My best educated guess based on my sightings/captures combined with tons of googling specifically re the Epeorus in the Yakima...) Crud, I digressed again.

Your description matches something I saw by Cle Elum the other day, and my guess is Green Drake, probly a spinner as someone mentioned, as the adult bodies are far from slender. My sighting was from about 10 feet, not a chance in hell of catching it. No... *not* a stonefly of any kind - the flight patterns alone make the difference clear even at a distance. Given time of year and size I believe Green Drake is *my* best guess, though I'm intrigued by the idea that it may be Ameletus and will have to do a bit of Yak googling. BTW, Ameletus in Schollmeyer's Hatch Guide for Western Streams can be found on page 40, Epeorus on page 84, Green Drake on page 54.

Mmmmmm... bugs [drool]
 
#18
Paul-

I believe the greatest likelihood is Brown Dun (Ameletus). A good photo of an Ameletus dun appears on page 74 of Western Mayfly Hatches by Rick Hafele and Dave Hughes, which in my opinion, is a the best reference for western mayflies.
Word. Thanks Roger.
 

Taxon

Moderator
Staff member
#20
Ameletus is an early season hatch, around the same time as SKwalas and March browns.
Absent a photo, identification of a mayfly to genus is speculative at best. That's why I suggested Paul look up the photo of Ameletus and compare it to his observation.

Based on his rather precise descriptions of color and size, it was my belief that Paul could probably tell the difference between a winged mayfly which he described as #10 or possibly even #8, and one which would be more likely to be #14 or even #16, like Epeorus. Also, Epeorus is generally considered to be a July hatch on the Yakima, is it not.

Incidentally, to whom am I speaking, Stanley, Ken, or someone else?
 
#21
Epeorus is the bug. The adults dry off quickly causing the fish to feed mainly on the nymphs, which are burrower's. It hatches from june to around september. Most of the action I have seen has been in the L.C. :)
 
#22
:thumb: Agreed with Roger re size, #8-10 would not be an Epeorus... I've seen Epeorus Grandis up to about a #12. Oh, and Epeorus are clingers, not burrowers, thus the wide flattened body and broad legs designed for clinging to rocks in current. Like a March Brown, they are often clear of their nymphal shucks prior to reaching the water's surface making buggy patterns like soft-hackles, bird's nests and flymphs a good ticket. I saw a fair number of Epeorus on the little Deschutes by Olympia in the past couple weeks and took fish on dries with a #12 yellow parachute adams - dries will get attention, at least from the coastal cutts in the little Deschutes.

Oh, speaking of the timing being weird for hatches... I was up around 3 Bridges on the Yak about a week ago and witnessed a baetis hatch.
 
#23
My point is Epeorus look very big when PMDs and BWOs are flying, the Eporeus is a June hatch on the Yakima often to size #12. Ameletus is a March/April hatch. Could be a Green Drake, but I don't believe the Drunella Grandis Hatch is strong in the lower canyon as the water isn't well enough oxygenated.


Keith Willits
Creekside Angling Co
1308 4th Ave
Seattle, WA 98101
206/405/3474
keith@creeksideangling.com
 
#24
Point taken on the apparent size of a bug vs the actual size of a bug... it's like when fishing a creek that typically produces 6" cutts, you suddenly get an 10-incher and holler over to your buddy, "It must be 13 or 14 inches!" Er, that never happens to ME of course, just an example... uh... based on what my buddy Jeff does, ya, that's it!

Cheers
 

Paul Huffman

Driven by irrational exuberance.
#26
Absent a photo, identification of a mayfly to genus is speculative at best. That's why I suggested Paul look up the photo of Ameletus and compare it to his observation.

Based on his rather precise descriptions of color and size, it was my belief that Paul could probably tell the difference between a winged mayfly which he described as #10 or possibly even #8, and one which would be more likely to be #14 or even #16, like Epeorus.
Yes, I am also glad t received an option from Taxon, as well as a vote of confidence in my estimation of the size. I didn't catch one for a photo because I was afraid it would kick me silly. It was that big!

I found a picture of an Ameletus dun. And now I see that Ameletus = "brown dun". That could be the bug if it's not a brown drake. My book shows the brown drake to have the long thin abdomen I think I saw. But nobody's hatch chart for the Yakima has either one.

I saw PMDs, and Yellow Quills (Epeorus, or DreamFlyFishing's term yellow mays ), even a few BWOs. The guy across the river caught some nice fish on what he called an Epeorus emerger. The bug I didn't know was these big guys.
 

creekx

spent spinner
#28
Just checked my streamside reference, Brown Drakes have three tails so that is out comparing with the pictured bug.
Every pictured bug has been identified. Unfortunately, the original poster did not have a photo or close-up description of the mayfly in question, which has lead to speculation.