Hatches - Eastern Sierra

 

 

January

Feburary

March

April

May

June

July

August

September

October

November

December

Pale Morning Dun

     

Slight

Major

Super

Major

Minor

 

Nymphs

Burk's Hunchback Infrequens ,  Pheasant Tail Nymph ,  PMD Halfback Emerger,   PMD Emerger

Dries

PMD Parachute Dun,   PMD Sparkle Dun,  PMD Quigley Cripple,  CDC PMD Cripple Dun

Ephemerella infrequens and E.inermis, PMD's hatch mainly in May to July in the morning or evening. The insects like to emerge in a water temperature of 55 to 60 degrees. A hatch may occur midday when the weather is overcast. Good PMD areas are Hot Creek and Upper Owens (June through August), Lower Owens (April through July), East Walker (June & July). The adult insect has a pale green to yellowish body with pale gray wings in the size of 14-16. The nymphs are olive-brown with three tails and rectangular bodies. Inermis will hatch first followed by Infrequens. The nymphs will slowly swim to the surface during the time of emergence. They often get trapped within the surface film prior to emerging as a dun. PMD's reside in the riffles, runs, and flats of moderate streams.

 

 

January

February

March

April

May

June

July

August

September

October

November

December

Blue Winged Olive

Slight

Major

Major

Major

Slight

Major

Major

Nymphs

Pheasant Tail Nymph,   RS2 BWO,   Halfback Emerger BWO,  Poxyback Nymph BWO,   Barr's BWO Emerger,   Brook's Baetis Sprout

Dries

BWO Sparkle Dun,   BWO Parachute Dun,   Blue Wing Olive,   Hackle Stacker BWO,   Baetis Quigley Cripple,   BWO CDC Cripple

Baetis, BWO's start hatching in late September and peak in November. In low elevations, they'll continue hatching through the Winter, as in the Lower Owens River. Another peak hatch occurs in March and April. The hatches in February or March will begin around Noon and extend until late afternoon, especially on drizzly days. In April and May the hatch will start earlier around 10:00 am. Nymph activity is prevalent in the early morning and early evening hours. Baetis are dark olive with a gray wing. Most BWO's are size 18-20 but size varies and it is important to match the size. The nymphs swim to the surface and often get stuck in the surface file. Cripples and Emergers are important patterns for this hatch. BWO's will be found in all free-flowing streams and are heaviest in streams with stable flows such as tailwaters, meadow streams, and spring creeks. Good BWO areas are Hot Creek, Upper Owens, Lower Owens, East Walker, and East Carson rivers.

 

 

January

Feburary

March

April

May

June

July

August

September

October

November

December

Trico
 

 

Slight

Minor

Minor

Major

Minor

Minor

Dries

Trico Spinner, Trico Quilled Parachute

Tricorythodes, Tricos are members of the Crawler-type mayflies found on slower portions of streams, particularly Meadow streams and Spring Creeks of silty bottoms within the Sierras. They have a long emergence period, peaking in August. Most Tricos emerge as duns underwater and float up to the surface. Trico males hatch at night and the females hatch in early morning. After mating, Spinners of both sexes fall at the same time around mid- to late-morning. The spinners can be identified with a dark body of 1/8-1/4 inches, white wings and long tri-tail. Most flyfishermen concentrate on the spinner-fall. Use a long leader of 12-14 feet with 3 feet of 6x tippet. The spinner pattern must be within the feeding lane with a drag-free drift. See Up and Across presentation. Good spinnerfalls occur on Hot Creek, Upper and Lower Owens.

 

 

January

Feburary

March

April

May

June

July

August

September

October

November

December

Green Sedge Caddis

Major

Major

Minor

Major

Major

Minor

Nymphs

Emergent Sparkle PupaBird's Nest , Olive Soft Hackle

Dries

Olive CaddisZ-Wing Caddis , Olive X-Caddis
Also known as Gray Sedge

Rhyacophila, As you'd expect, it's green and looks like a worm in the larva stage. The larvae live in fast-current freestone streams. They prefer riffle areas with rocky streambeds and good aeration. The larvae are predaceous and will hunt for mayfly and midge larvae among the rocky bottoms. Often the larvae are swept into the current and are available to the trout. The larvae makes a shelter to pupate, then cuts itself free to ascend to the surface. During this ascent, the olive-colored pupa (size 10-16) are extremely vulnerable to the trout, and they immediately free themselves of their shuck to become adults. Cripples and emerger patterns are ideal during this stage. Adults will hatch in the afternoon from June to August, although the Lower Owens gets an excellent early hatch starting in March if the water flows are down and there are warm days. The adults tend to be dark tan to green, almost black in sizes 12-16. This caddis offers many opportunities for dry flies since the adult likes to land on the water surface weeks after hatching and swim to the bottom to lay eggs. Wet flies are a good choice to mimic the swimming action of the adult. Good hatches on the Lower Owens River and Hot Creek.

 

 

January

Feburary

March

April

May

June

July

August

September

October

November

December

October Caddis

Minor

Major

Nymphs

Tangerine Dream, Red Fox Squirrel Nymph, Bill's Stick Caddis ,  Brown and Orange Emergent Sparkle Pupa

Dries

Orange Stimulator

Dicosmoecus atripes, October Caddis hatches start in early September and peak in early October. They inhabit freestone streams and some tailwaters with medium to strong currents. You will not find them in streams with silty bottoms. The larvae migrate close to shore just before pupation and will form colonies. The larval case for pupation will be made up of pebbles and the new pupa will emerge and crawl or swim towards shore, climbing rocks and vegetation. Try fishing the banks near vegetation. They will not swarm but you will notice individuals as they are big. After mating, the females will lay eggs in the water near the edges of the streams in early to late afternoon. Most dry fly presentations are made with a dead drift using a Direct Upstream method. If this does not work well, try skating the fly working the riffles and current seams. Good hatches on the EF Walker.

 

 

January

Feburary

March

April

May

June

July

August

September

October

November

December

 
Spotted Sedge

Minor

Minor

Major

Minor

Minor

Nymphs

Emergent Sparkle Pupa,   Anderson's Bird of Prey Olive,  Z Wing Caddis,  Fox's Poopah Olive

Dries

Olive Caddis,   Partridge Caddis Emerger,   X-Caddis, Olive

Wet Flies

Hare's Ear,  Leadwing Coachman
Also known as Summer Caddis or Net Spinning Caddis

Hydropsychid, A Net-spinning caddis whose larva, similar to Green Rockworms, are available through most of the year within moving streams. Usually pale green or tan , these caddis spin silky nets in the crevices of rocks using bits of materials available within the stream. The larvae can be fished throughout the year. Adults hatch in July by pupa coming to the surface with a bubble of gas. 1-3 three weeks later, females will swim down underwater to lay eggs. The Leadwing Coachman or Hare's Ear is used as a wet fly to imitate this ability. Spotted Sedges are most often found within riffles and runs. Caddis are present in almost every stream. During the early evening hours, what appears as a massive hatch, is acutally the females depositing eggs. Wet flies can be your best bet during these hours. Good hatches are within Upper and Lower Owens, EF Walker Rivers, and Hot Creek.

Spotted Sedge Larva Spotted Sedge Adult
 

 

January

Feburary

March

April

May

June

July

August

September

October

November

December

Grannom
 

Major

Minor

Minor

Minor

Major

Major

Nymphs

Olive Hare's Ear Soft Hackle , Emergent Sparkle Pupa , Fox's Springtime Poopah, Morrish's Hot Wire Caddis, Prince Nymph

Dries

Olive Caddis, E/C Caddis, X-Caddis Olive , Hemingway Caddis , Partridge Caddis Emerger, CDC & Elk
Also known as Mother's Day Caddis or American Grannom (Black Caddis)

Brachycentrus, This is a case-making Caddis that creates chimney-like cases composed of pine needles, bark, or other plant material. The cases are often 4-sided with distinct corners. The larvae lay inside the case, often green with a black head. The caddis live in moderate to fast riffle areas of streams and anchor themselves to rock or twigs with a white silky thread. The larvae will feed upon algea on the rocks or floating within the current. They will use the thread to position themselves into good feeding areas of the stream current. Flyfishermen will use a white grease pen to mark about 12 inches of the tippet to imitate this thread. Pupation occurs during early Summer. The pupa will crawl along the stream bottom and let the currents carry them to the surface, often upon a bubble. The trout will key on this emergence. Use a Across and Down presentation just dragging beneath the surface with a few twitches. The adults will come back to the stream late afternoon, after mating, to lay eggs. They will lay eggs on the surface if they can't break the surface tension, others manage to swim down and attach the eggs to underwater objects. These adults will usually become spent upon the surface. There are two species, the Mother's Day Caddis (B.occidentalis) hatches in May through July and the American Grannom (B. americanus) hatches in the Fall during September and October. Hatches usually occur in the afteroon and early evening. Good Hatches on the Upper Owens River, and Rush Creek.

 

 

January

Feburary

March

April

May

June

July

August

September

October

November

December

Saddle Casemaker

Slight

Major

Major

Minor

Nymphs

Bird's Nest , Emergent Sparkle Pupa, Deep Sparkle Pupa

Dries

Elk Hair Caddis, X-caddis

Glossoma, these are small case-type caddis with a dome-like case made of pebbles firmly attached to rocks. The larvae outgrow the cases and must discard the old case to build a new, larger one. This action occurs on a weekly basis, usually under low light conditions such as early morning or dusk, and leaves the larvae vulnerable to trout. Found in moderate- to fast-current shallow streams. The larvae themselves are cream-colored while the adults are a light tan or brown. The larvae will undergo a pupation prior to becoming an adult. The pupa will be orange colored and will swim within the slower waters below the riffles. After two days, the pupa will rise to the surface about an hour after sunset and emerge as an adult. The female adults swim back down to lay eggs on the stream bottom just after sunset. Time your fly selection according to the rises. During a rise, work an emerger pattern with an Across and Down presentation just below the surface. After the rises end, switch to a deep sparkle pupa using a Dead Drift presentation. The dry fly can be used after the hatch ends and also throughout the day.

 

 

January

Feburary

March

April

May

June

July

August

September

October

November

December

Skwala Stonefly

Slight

Minor

Major

Minor

Nymphs

Brook's Yellow Stone , Riffle Dragon Stone, Twenty Incher

Dries

Yellow Stimulator, Peacock Stimulator, Madam X

Skwala, These are the first stoneflies of the Spring. They have only recently been recognized since many flyfishermen had mistaken them for an early emergence of Golden Stones. The nymphs have a Olive Brown to Dark Brown coloration with a lighter Pale Yellow color on the underside. They reside in rivers and streams of fast-moving waters with gravel bottoms. They hatch according to the water temperatures. Water temperatures need to reach 45 to 47 degrees to commence emergence. The nymphs will travel along the bottom and ascend onto vegetation or rocks. The trout will often concentrate their attention on the shallow, faster-moving waters, so look where you are standing, this may be the prime waters to fish. Mating will proceed along the banks and the females will hover along the water surface to deposit eggs. The male adults have no wings and remain within the vegetation. Female adults are Olive-Brown to Olive-Yellow in body color. Nymphs are generally fished with size #10-12 and the adults are fished with size #8-12. Within the Eastside Sierra, the EF Walker River has a consistent hatch.

 

 

January

Feburary

March

April

May

June

July

August

September

October

November

December

Golden Stonefly

Major

Major

Slight

Slight

Minor

Minor

Slight

Slight

Nymphs

Golden Stone Nymph,  Kaufmann's Golden Stone

Dries

Stimulator,

Hesperoperla, The nymphs are large and live in rocky riffles with moderate to fast water. They are a mottled color of tan, black, and brown. The nymphs crawl onto expsed rocks and emerge. Females return in late afternoon to lay eggs.

 

 

January

Feburary

March

April

May

June

July

August

September

October

November

December

Little Yellow Stone

Slight

Slight

Major

Major

Minor

Slight

Nymphs

Little Yellow Stone Nymph

Dries

Yellow St. Vrain Caddis,   Yellow Stimulator,  Clark's Little Yellow Stonefly

Isoperla, these are small (1/4 to 1/2 inch) light tan to bright yellow stoneflies that hatch in late Spring to late Summer. Usually found in mid- to high-elevation streams with rocky bottoms and fast currents. Like typical stoneflies, the larvae crawl upon the rocks and emerge from their shucks. Females return in late afternoon and through the evening hours laying eggs.

 

 

January

Feburary

March

April

May

June

July

August

September

October

November

December

Little Brown Stonefly

Major

Major

Minor

Minor

Slight

Nymphs

Hart's Dark Lord, A.P. Nymph (Black) , BH Twenty Incher

Dries

Elk Hair Caddis , Black Stimulator

Nemoura, these are small (3/8 to 1/2 inch) dark brown to black stoneflies that hatch in early Spring to mid Summer. The little brown stonefly, sometimes called Mother's Day Caddis, crawl out of the water to hatch. The migration route takes them from their home between (or under) the rocks on the floor of the stream to the banks where they will hatch. This action allows the trout to eat them as they crawl. If they remain in or under rocks they are safe from the trout unless they become dislodged in some way and drift downstream. Good hatches on the EF Walker and Lower Owens River.

 

 

January

Feburary

March

April

May

June

July

August

September

October

November

December

Damselfly
 

Minor

Major

Major

Minor

Minor

Slight

Nymphs

Marabou Damsel , Sierra Damsel , Wiggle Tail

Dries

Burk's Damselfly , Stalcup's Blue Damselfly

Zygoptera, Damselflies prefer lakes and ponds but will also be found in slow moving streams . The nymphs hatch from eggs laid on subsurface plant material. They move through the water at a slow pace by undulating it's entire body. Below the abdomen are three gills which also help create movement. Usually the nymph will hang within the water column so that a Chuck and Sit Presentation will generally be more successfull than retrieves. The colors of the nymph will vary from Green to Olive to Brownish hues depending upon the time of year. The adult rests with it's wings folded over it's body. Female damsels lay their eggs by crawling down plant material into the subsurface environment. She carries a volume of air trapped by her body to respire and will be carried by the air bubble to the surface after laying the eggs. Trout will key in on this since many adults get trapped within the surface film. Good Hatches at Crowley Lake.

 

 

January

Feburary

March

April

May

June

July

August

September

October

November

December

Chironomids
& Bloodworms

Slight

Slight

Slight

Slight

Major

Major

Major

Minor

Minor

Major

Slight

Slight

Nymphs

Zebra Midge ,  Optimidge,  WD-40,   TDC

Dries

Martis Midge ,   Black Gnat ,  Griffith's Gnat

Chironomidae, There are over 45 genera of chironomids in California alone. For our purposes, group them into Chironomids and Bloodworms. Both are found in lakes, ponds, and slow-moving streams such as Spring Creeks. Within the Sierras, they are prevalent within our alkaline lakes on the Eastside. Bloodworms are so-named since they carry hemoglobin which allows the insect to survive in poorly oxygenated water such as lake bottoms. Chironomids can be found in a number of colorations from Black, Olive, Gray, and Tan. The densities of these larvae can exceed fifty thousand per sq meter of lake bottom. Emergence occurs year-round. The larvae frees itself from the mud burrows and rise to the surface with a gas-filled pupal sheath. The pupa breaks through the water surface and an adult emerges to fly away. Trout will feed on the ascending pupae primarily within the lower water column, perhaps 6-12 inches off the bottom. During low light conditions, such as evening, the trout will feed upon the emergers near the surface. Good Hatches occur at Crowley Lake and Bridgeport Reservoir.

 

 

January

Feburary

March

April

May

June

July

August

September

October

November

December

Scuds
 

         

Slight

Minor

Major

Major

Minor

   

scuds

Bird's Nest ,  Scud,  Sparkle Shrimp , Czech Nymph

Grammarus & Hyaella , Scuds are freshwater shrimp that inhabit lakes, ponds , rivers, and Spring Creeks. They can be especially dense within alkaline lakes up to ten thousand scuds per cubic meter. As the water becomes more clear and sterile, the scuds will decrease in numbers. Generally, they prefer shallow areas with plenty of weed cover. Colorations can vary from Olive to Grey to Bright Orange. Scuds swim through the water with a straight profile and bend when they are in a resting mode among vegetation. Since they are available to trout year-round, the important periods are often when other food sources have declined, such as the Fall and Winter. Good Scud areas are Heenan Lake, and Kirman Lake,

 
 

 

January

Feburary

March

April

May

June

July

August

September

October

November

December

March Brown

Slight

Major

Minor

Emergers

Pheasant Tail Soft Hackle Gray Hackle Peacock

Dries

Bivisible Dun Royal HumpyMarch Brown ComparadunMarch Brown Parachute Dun

Rithrogena, March Browns hatch from April to June for a 4-6 week period. They are members of the Clinger Mayflies which cling to the bottom as larvae and emerge as duns underwater rather than at the surface. This action makes them extremely vulnerable to trout as they spend several minutes at the surface drifting while the wings dry. March Browns like to pick nice cold drizzly days to make their appearance in the early afternoon with the hatch lasting 3-4 hours. The larvae are found in fast riffles of freestone streams and will migrate, prior to emergence, to calmer areas. Since the nymphs cling to the streambed, they are usually not available to the trout, so emergers and dun patterns are your best bet. The duns will have a reddish brown body on the top and a cream or light brown on the bottom. The size is 1/4 to 5/8 inches

 

 

January

Feburary

March

April

May

June

July

August

September

October

November

December

Little Yellow May

Major

Minor

Emergers

Pheasant Tail Soft Hackle Gray Hackle Yellow

Dries

Bivisible Dun Yellow Humpy 

Epeorus, Little Yellow Mays hatch from June to July. They are also members of the Clinger Mayflies and have the same emergent attributes. See March Browns. The numbers of these Mayflies within the stream are considerably larger than the March Browns and the other Clinger Mayflies. They are the only Mayfly nymphs with two tails. The emerger and dun will have a pale cream to yellow body. The size will be 1/4 to 3/4 inches. The larvae live in the same habitat as the March Browns, fast and turbulent riffles. They will generally hatch just after the March Browns complete their hatch, so you can use many of the same patterns and techniques.

 

 

January

Feburary

March

April

May

June

July

August

September

October

November

December

Callibaetis
 

Minor

Super

Major

Major

Nymphs

Pheasant Tail Nymph, Poxyback Nymph & Emerger

Dries

Callibaetis Cripple, Bivisible Dun Callibaetis Quilled Parachute, AK's Quilled Spinner

Speckle-wing Mayfly, this mayfly prefers the quiet waters of lakes and ponds, particularly those stillwaters with prevalent weedbeds. Generally they range from size 12 to 16 and come in colors of olive, tan, and brown. Hatches begin in early Summer, around June, and continue through September. The July hatch should be the larger sizes while the September hatch will be your smallest size callibaetis. The hatches are best during overcast skies, or even rain. Generally, the major emergence periods are spaced about 6 weeks apart. Hatches usually start around 7:00 a.m. with nymphs congregating at the bottom. Around 11:00 a.m. and throughout the mid-day, concentrate on emerger patterns and dries. Spinner Falls can occur at any time during the morning hours. Use a Lift and Settle presentation for the nymphs. Good Hatches at Twin Lakes (Mammoth), Upper Owens.