PMD Emerger thoughts - here's my latest

Discussion in 'Fly Tying' started by Jim Speaker, May 17, 2013.

  1. Over the years I've found myself to be reasonably skilled with a number of hatches, and have patterns that suit rough water down to fine representations for spring creeks that run gin clear. HOWEVER, one hatch that I've found myself frustrated with when the fish get really selective on emergers is the PMD hatch.

    I've had my success with some pretty straightforward PMD emerger patterns, but at times just flat get refusals even with the best I have in my box.

    Here's my latest experiment that I'll try out this Summer. What do you think? And, what's your go-to fly when the fish are sipping PMD emergers?

    GAT likes this.
  2. Where's your giant dime? :)

    Looks good to me. I however, don't count. As with all experimental flies, it's really up to the fish. I normally do best with with some manner of tiny soft hackle with a glass bead head. For some reason, the color of the bead makes a difference. My favorite is a pattern with an iridescent greenish blue bead. However, the fly that seems to work the most consistently for me is a sunken, size 18 parachute Adams.

    I've tried to come up with a "proper" emerger pattern with the ingredients of a parachute Adams dry fly but it is a no go. Beats me why the sunken dry fly works as well as it does but I don't lose any sleep over it.

    If I can find one of the soft hackles that does work well in certain rivers, I'll post it.
  3. Here's the pattern that can be a killer!


    Darryl Pahl and Thom Collins like this.
  4. Seriously, here's the pattern tied in a size 18... I don't do size 20 and smaller. It has worked quite well on The McKenzie and The Deschutes.


    (I must admit, I didn't count the hackle fibers :))
    Jim Speaker likes this.
  5. I think I'll tie up some of the first ones you posted. If I could only find that microscope... hm.

    I like the notion of having some soft hackles for sub surface emergers, and will have to add some 16-18 peacock soft hackles to my box.

    The above was designed to stay up in the film. It has a CDC loop under the flashabou gas bubble loop, so it should trap air well and keep the shiny bubble up in the surface film.

    It's similar to something I saw with a bead under the loop. But, I want a dry emerger so I eliminated the bead and left the ends of the CDC pulled back to represent the wings popping from the case.

    Idk, guess I'll find out this summer huh?
  6. Jim, I like your thinking on the use of CDC and the loop. I honestly don't use BWO emergers much on stillwaters. The ones I see hatch are normally a size 50 and that is a bit too small for me to tie ... about the size of the one next to the dime :)

    When I was fishing rivers and did use BWO emergers, I found the use of a dry line and tiny flies kept the patterns just below the surface. The glass bead didn't seem to add much weight but evidently did generate some sort of hot spot the trout preferred. The camera didn't pick up the true greenish blue of the bead.

    Be sure and let us know how your experimental works. 80% of the fun I have tying patterns is coming up with something new that works.
  7. I don't use BWO or PMD emergers on stillwater. This fly is intended for rivers, streams and spring creeks.

    I have a different pattern altogether for midge emergers that has a poly shuck and shellback to imitate the wings still stuck in the shuck as the midge tries to escape its prison. I tie those from #24 to 14. In the 22-24 range I tie both a pale and a dark (peacock) version.
  8. That fly looks good! When I use to live in Montana a soft hackle tied on a heavy hook and swung tight was one on of my favorite ways to fish mayfly hatches. For dead drifting I use to to fish a pattern from Rene Harrop. Both were killer patterns on the Mo and Henrys Fork.
  9. It's amazing what you can do with PhotoShop :)

    Jim, considering your experimental pattern is for use on moving water, I bet it is a hit!
  10. I have had to use that at Rocky Ford before:rolleyes:
  11. I love PMD emergences and have a couple simple flies I use as emerger imitations. One is a simple flymph with a tan or gray body and a dun colored hen feather wrapped over the front half of the body. The other is similar body with a CDC wing.

    One irony is that I seem always to fish more explicitly imitative flies until I'm convinced they aren't working, then switch to the flymph, which seems to always work. Maybe someday I'll figure out that I should start with it, but then I'd risk simplifying my fly selection and that would take half the fun out of it!

    Dun flymph
    Dun flymph.jpg

    CDC emerger
    CDC emerger2.jpg

  12. Richard, I did not know you were a flymph person. I'm tying up some gray ones for exploring some local rivers with. Your's looks very nice.
  13. Nice flies Richard. I'll do flymphs for March Brown hatches but haven't tried them for PMDs. Will add a couple to the wet fly box.

    Btw, I've fished some CDC emergers like that one and they're effective. I've just found them difficult to float the CDC in the film after a fish or two. Do you fish it wet or dry?
  14. I have some gray #18 RS2's in the box. So far they are fly box queens as I haven't had need to break them out.
  15. Jim -
    I fish those CDC nymphs dry (that is, with the CDC wing above water and the rest in the film), but I also have the same problem of keeping them afloat after a couple fish. That is part of the reason I don't fish them as much as I'd like to. Whenever the circumstances arise that they are the go-to fly, I usually will pull 4 or 5 from my box and stick them in my fly patch and change flies frequently. Not the ideal solution when a hatch is hot and likely to cool off any minute. I'm a fan of CDC, however. It's remarkable how fragile the feathers appear, yet how durable they are when tied on a fly.

    The flymphs do better. I also tie a March Brown flymph, although I don't fish MB hatches so much (I'm mostly on still waters that time of year). For the streams and times of year when I'm on moving water, I fish flymphs in gray, tan, or olive, or one with a pretty furnace hackle that creates brighter highlights on the periphery and a darker body. I particularly like flymphs in the smaller sizes (18-20), because the simple pattern can endure a lot of variation in how it is tied without having much effect on how it fishes.

  16. Zen -
    I fish flymphs a lot, often as a trailing fly following a dry fly, if I'm probing to see what's going on in a stream. Lately, I've found the little ones in gray/dun to be the the ones I fish most frequently, and often in difficult circumstances.

    There once was a website devoted to flymphs. It had a bit of a tongue-in-cheek, yet seriously good attitude. I don't know what became of it.


    PS, a quick google search found that the "Brotherhood of the Flymph" site still exists; it must have moved its URL since I visited it last (
  17. I'm over on a flymph forum and have picked up a few tips there. Ron Eagle Elk pointed me to it. The one you pointed me to has the forum shut down.
  19. Zen, thanks for the lead on the; I've found it now.

    Freestone, thanks for the follow up on the old site.


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