Big Mayfly on the Yakima

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Entomology' started by Paul Huffman, Jun 10, 2008.

  1. I fished the Yakima low in the canyon yesterday. I showed up at 10:00 with a nymph tied on, but the PMDs were already flying. What time does that hatch get started? It was a pretty good hatch and lasted to 2:00 PM, but the fish were pretty much ignoring them and my copies. Later in the afternoon, the action picked up on caddis dries.

    Every now and then midday, I'd see a great big mayfly flutter by. They were bigger than a March Brown at a size 10 at least, probably a #8. A little smaller than a Hexagenia and not as yellow. More slender than a green drake. Brown and tan with a little cream rather than that dark olive body with a little yellow on a GD. The birds were very interested in them. Are they brown drakes?
  2. A week or so ago I had the chance to fish the Upper Yak around Cle Elum. We didn't catch anything except this little guy. I think it is a yellow stonefly but I am not quite sure. It was really amazing to watch it emerge on my leg. I think he latched on while I was wading in an eddy.
    Is there any chance these bugs could be the same?
  3. That's awesome it hatched on your leg. Yeah it's a stone, a yellow sally.
  4. Not the same bug. I heard on the river bank that there were yellow sallies about, but I didn't believe the guy. I thought it was way too early for YSs. I thought he was calling all the PMDs yellow sallies.

    The Yellow Sally hatch is real important in the upper canyon in the summer.
  5. I'd bet on Green Drake, but I'm no entomologist. In my limited experience, they aren't always so green, especially if they were spinners, which I think are more brown and more slender in the body.
  6. I would guess it is a slate drake. They hatch sporadically across the country from may until october and are the size/color you described.
  7. here's a pic of a Slate Drake, aka Mahogany Dunn. Match?
  8. 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
  9. Dreaming,

    Your fishing lunches make my peanut butter and jelly sandwiches look pathetic.
  10. No Brown Drakes in the Yakima, they are a burrower and prefer mud or fine sand. My guess is Epeorus(Yellow Quill), a clinger May that has pretty good numbers in the Yakima and looks pretty big when surrounded by PMDs and BWOs.
    ....ummm to clarify this is regarding the big yellow may, not the yellow sally.
  11. 100% Yellow Sally Stone !!!!!:ray1:
  12. i'm guessing a stone fly, too. They are more likely to emerge out of the water, on someone's leg, for example. Flies are weird this year. The timing seems way off. But then again, I could be all wrong. I'm no entomologist.

  13. There's this other site which will remain unmentioned that has pictures on Green Drakes and they look too dark and fat. But this other site doesn't have a picture of brown drakes. I've read they are burrowers but I was pretty close to the Roza Reservoir. Epeorus is what that guy across the river said they were, but those have such a bright yellow wing and body. It wasn't like either of Dreamer's pictures. Hey, I have a "Hatch Guide for Western Streams" right here. I still think they were Brown Drakes.
  14. 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.
  15. The only reason any of us respond to these threads about insect identification is to give Roger time to see the thread and inform us before it cycles off the front page! Thanks again, Roger.
  16. 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. Word. Thanks Roger.
  19. Ameletus is an early season hatch, around the same time as SKwalas and March browns.
  20. 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?

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