Western May Flies by Hughes and Hafele

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Entomology' started by zen leecher aka bill w, May 3, 2016.

  1. zen leecher aka bill w

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

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    I found a steal of a deal on this book at the Ellensburg fly tying expo on Saturday. Amato books was closing out both the hardbound and paperback version for $10. I got one of the remaining hardbound copies.

    My last two big trips were to Yellowstone in 2014 and the Metolius/Crooked River in 2015. Both times I was looking at PMD hatches and found my knowledge lacking. Here in the basin we get little running water.

    After a session with the book I find myself knowing much more about the nymph migrations patterns and dun emergences than before. Hopefully I have another Yellowstone trip in my near future.

    My guess of the reason for closing out this book is the information is too specific and doesn't have a broad appeal to anglers. It must appeal to a very specific group and didn't amount to as many sales as anticipated.

    Excellent book if you can get a copy and probably Amato books has the paperback version for $10.
     
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  2. Philonius

    Philonius Active Member

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    I've got an old paperback copy, it's a great book. I think it's a good idea to avoid OD'ing on trying to match everything specifically, but for getting a good overview of what's in the water, it's a valuable resource.
     
  3. zen leecher aka bill w

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

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    That's a good point. I bought the two volume Trout by Schweibert back when it came out in 1977 or 1978. His nymphs were very specific to individual species, as I remember.
     
  4. Preston

    Preston Active Member

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    Dave Hughes told me that both he and Rick Hafele had been disappointed with the sales of Western Mayflies, which surprised me because I would think it would find wide readership being, as it is, the only book of its kind devoted specifically to mayflies occurring from the Rockies to the Pacific coast. It is an accurate and carefully researched book, well-written without being excessively technical and it is one that I turn to frequently, not only to identify mayflies but also to understand their life histories and habits. Perhaps most folks would rather just fish a Woolly Bugger.
     
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  5. zen leecher aka bill w

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

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    I'm the guy that talked to you about the book on Saturday. The reason I bought the book was PMDs and I wondered if the nymphs crawled to the stream edge rocks and hatched there or chose to rise up thru the water column and pop open. If a mayfly hatches on the stream edges it's kinda tough attracting fish by doing a version of the Leisinring lift out in the main body.
     
  6. Preston

    Preston Active Member

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    We used to see some pretty phenomenal hatches of BWOs on the Yakima (not so much these days). I remember one time, on a long, smooth run (not much over knee deep the full width of the river) when there were so many Baetis hatching that there must have continuously been five or six emerging on every square foot of the water's surface. As someone noted in a recent post, there was no point trying to fish, even though lots of fish were rising, because there were just too damned many flies (perhaps one of us should have tied on a big Royal Coachman, per Lee Wulff's "strawberry shortcake" strategy). We couldn't buy a strike until the emergence tapered off and the occasional fish was able to find one of our flies.

    I'm sure the book will answer any PMD questions you might have.
     
  7. jwg

    jwg Active Member

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    and the answer is? I mean about the nymphs rising up through the water column.

    I remember fishing a popular northeast oregon tailwater. PMDs were coming off, but so were caddis and who knows what else. Refusals were obvious, so by trial and error I found something that caught fish, though I have no idea why... in other words, I am not sure what it was imitating. Fly shops had very specific patterns for various stages of PMD emergers, none of which produced any success for me on a return trip a couple of days later.

    Pheasant tails seemed like a perfectly good submerged nymph.


    j
     
  8. Preston

    Preston Active Member

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    Pale morning duns usually rise to the surface to emerge. There also seem to be an unusually large number of them who, for one reason or another, seem to be unable to successfully escape from the nymphal shuck resulting in a high percentage of "cripples". Some floating emerger imitations do a good job of imitating these "stillborn", or "stuck-in-the-shuck" unfortunates.
     
  9. tkww

    tkww Member

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    I've been there once for exactly that, maybe a decade ago. Never seen a hatch like that before. So many bugs. (And a bunch of Mahoganies thrown in.)

    Also, I couldn't figure out why I was hearing cannonballs while I was rigging up. As I waded out and casted to risers, I kept hearing these giant splashes. Then mid-stream I happened to be staring at a spot where I'd seen some rises, and I happened to lock on in one specific mayfly, watched it take air, and then watched a large fish rocket straight up out of the water (vertically) and take the bug maybe a foot above the surface. It was surreal. Also a lesson in what heavy C&R does for a place... The only fish I could catch were smaller ones, and for two hours I listened to giant splashes up and down the stream as the big guys took bugs out of the air.

    And, Western Mayflies is a great book. Highly recommended.
     
  10. dryflylarry

    dryflylarry "Chasing Riseforms"

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    I've hooked up plenty in a heavy BWO hatch. I'm guessing that a slight sparkle of a Zylon shuck or some sparkle material in ones imitation can bring on the interest in one's fly among thousands so you don't get snubbed. I've also found size becoming critical in a heavy hatch.
     
  11. Matt B

    Matt B ...

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    Yes I have also had success in heavy yak bwo hatches with a tiny cripple pattern with a Krystal flash shuck that sticks below the surface a bit. I haven't experienced a great bwo hatch like that on the Yakima in a while but I also haven't fished it as much the past several years.
     
  12. GAT

    GAT Dumbfounded

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    I'm pretty sure the only aquatic insect that crawls out of the water to hatch is a stonefly. At least the only one that we fly anglers are interested in.
     
  13. FinLuver

    FinLuver Active Member

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    Dragonflies, Damsels, and some Mayflies do as well...
    At least the last I read anyways. ;)
     
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  14. zen leecher aka bill w

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

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    you need to get out more Gene. The gray drake is a "crawl to the side of the stream" type of mayfly. I think there may be others. See, I'm becoming more knowledgable about mayflies.
     
  15. GAT

    GAT Dumbfounded

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    Zen, I didn't know that... I've been misinformed :)

    I did some research and we are both right. Some, but not all, Green Drakes swim to shore to hatch... so they do swim to shore, not crawl as does a stonefly.

    Generally speaking, it swims to shore and crawls out onto dry ground for the metamorphosis from nymph to dun.

    This fact explains why I've always been told that they swim to hatch and not crawl... but I certainly didn't know that some of them swim to shore to crawl out and hatch. That's a new one for me!
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2016