Pale Morning Dun emergence characteristics

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Entomology' started by zen leecher aka bill w, Jul 24, 2014.

  1. zen leecher aka bill w

    zen leecher aka bill w born to work, forced to fish

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    I've read some of the clinger mayflies transform from nymph to dun as they are transiting up the water column. Hafele's and Hughes' book didn't specify which clinger nymphs did this as they clumped the clinger nymph family together.

    Does the PMD emerge the nymphal shuck at the surface of the water or part way up the water column.

    I'm tying PMD emergers/soft hackles and would like to know as to whether to add partially formed wings to the emergers or not.

    I'm working on next year's trip to the Firehole in June. This year comparaduns fished slightly sunken (no floatant with me) produced fish. I'd like to fish a comparadun with an emerger/soft hackle trailer next time.
     
  2. tkww

    tkww Member

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    I'm no expert, but nothing I've read about them suggests that the wings have much in the way of successful showing prior to the surface film. (I dunno, seems like it would make getting through the film pretty much impossible if the wings made it out, not to mention the wings are drying to dry out/harden up to be used, not get even more wet.)

    There are patterns out there for it, whether it's the body or the wings. Mercer's trigger nymph is tied with a bulge of different color in the thorax. Barr's Emerger uses a two-tone body, I assume to represent half-in and half-out of the shuck. And there is also the split-case nymph, with a strip of the "emerging" color showing through the nymph wing pads.

    As to why sunken "dries" worked, I think drowned emergers, duns, or cripples could also be an answer that scenario.

    I've had great luck with Barr's Emerger for BWO hatches, but I don't get to fish a lot of PMD hatches so I haven't used his PMD version. But in an unweighted version as a trailer, I'd at least have a few to try. If you can borrow a copy of Shane Stalcup's Mayflies "Top to bottom," he's got a few transitional/stuck/cripple/sunk variations in there, some of which I suspect would make a good trailer. But again, not a lot of personal experience with those flies --> PMD hatches. His flies use a lot of medallion sheeting for wings (thin clearish stuff). If nothing else it would offer somemthing different from a deer wing or poly wing.

    I have had decent luck with a Quigley Cripple in a PMD hatch, and that has a bit of the two-tone effect going on, plus half in the water and half out.
     
  3. Taxon

    Taxon Moderator Staff Member

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    Hi Bill-

    Rich Hefele and Dave Hughes co-authored both Western Hatches and Western Mayfly Hatches. The former was published in 1981, and the latter was published (23) years later in 2004, and goes into far more detail concerning mayflies, so my answer to your questions will refers to Western Mayfly Hatches.

    The clinger nymphs of family Heptageniidae discussed in the book are Rhithrogena (Western March Brown), Epeorus/Ironodes (Pink Lady/Slate Brown Duns), Heptagenia/Nixe/Cinygma (Pale Evening Duns), and Cinygmula (Dark Red Quills).

    Although the book discusses the emergence behavior of Heptageniids in more detail than this, they may break out of their nymphal shuck, either before departing the substrate, or within a few inches of the water's surface, or after breaking through the water's surface, with some genera even employing all there approaches.

    Conversely, the crawler nymphs of Ephemerellidae, including those of Ephemerella (Pale Morning Duns) depart their nymphal shuck only after breaking through the water's surface.
     
  4. zen leecher aka bill w

    zen leecher aka bill w born to work, forced to fish

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    Roger, that's the answer I was after. I read Western Hatches last night and couldn't find the answer there. Looks like I don't need to alter my soft hackles to add a partially formed wing.
     
  5. Taxon

    Taxon Moderator Staff Member

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    Hi Bill-

    That makes sense to me.:)
     
  6. Cody Bitterman

    Cody Bitterman Member

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    I haven't seen much for PMD's emerging visibly, seems they pop out of the water most of the time that I've tried observing them. I was under the impression an rs2 or a barr fished in the top inches of the water was best to imitate pmd's, so that would go along with what I have observed, making me assume they emerge subsurface.
     

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