Hatches - Southern Sierra

 

 

January

Feburary

March

April

May

June

July

August

September

October

November

December

Pale Morning Dun

         

Minor

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 June and 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. 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

Feburary

March

April

May

June

July

August

September

October

November

December

Blue Winged Olive

Minor

Minor

Major

Minor

Minor

Major

Major

Minor

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.The Kern River will have a hatch continue through January. The BWO's restart a hatch when the weather warms up in May and June. The hatches occur in the early afternoon , especially on drizzly days. Nymph activity is prevalent in the early morning and early evening hours. Good BWO areas are Kern River, Kaweah River, and Cottonwood Creek. 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.

 

 

January

Feburary

March

April

May

June

July

August

September

October

November

December

Skwala Stonefly

Slight

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 Southern Sierra, the Kern River has a consistent hatch.

 

 

January

Feburary

March

April

May

June

July

August

September

October

November

December

Golden Stonefly

Major

Slight

Nymphs

Golden Stone Nymph, Kaufmann Stone, Poxyback Golden Stone

Dries

Yellow Stimulator, Rogue Foam Stone, Madam X

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 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 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 Upper Kern River.

 

 

January

Feburary

March

April

May

June

July

August

September

October

November

December

 
Salmon Fly

 

Major

Minor

Minor

Nymphs

Brown Kaufmann Stone,   Bird's Stonefly Nymph,  Brook's Stone Black

Dries

Improved Sofa Pillow,   Orange Stimulator  Giant Rogue Foam Stone

Pteronarcys, these nymphs live 2-4 years in the water. They seek streams with moderate to fast currents and live within riffles and bouldered areas. The major problem in fishing the river during the hatch is the water level is usually too high from Snow melt. In Spring, the larvae crawl up to the banks and out of the water to transform into adults. Often they fall back into the water. The adults are large, 2 1/2 inches, with two pairs of wings and an orange body. Adult activity is in April and May and can last a few days to three weeks. The hatch will start when the water warms up, usually late morning, and will work itself upstream. Female adults will often deposit their eggs by dropping down to the water during the late afternoon or early evening. After depositing the eggs, many females end up in the water starting a feeding frenzy among the trout. Larva activity is best in the Spring and Fall. Within the Southern Sierra, the Kern River is known to have salmonfly hatches usually during April.

 

 

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.

 

January

Feburary

March

April

May

June

July

August

September

October

November

December

 
Spotted Sedge

Minor

Major

Major

Minor

Minor

Nymphs

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

Dries

Olive Elk Hair Caddis,   Partridge Caddis Emerger,   X-Caddis Olive,  E/C Caddis

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 June and 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 Kern, and Kaweah River.

 

 

January

Feburary

March

April

May

June

July

August

September

October

November

December

Green Rock Worm

Slight

Major

Major

Minor

Slight

Nymphs

Emergent Sparkle PupaBird's Nest , Olive Soft Hackle

Dries

Olive Elk Hair 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. 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.

 

 

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 , Amber Z-Wing Caddis

Dries

Elk Hair Caddis, X-caddis, E/C 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. Good hatches on the Truckee, and EF Carson.

 

 

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 streambottom 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 early morning and early evening. Good Hatches on the Kern River, and Little Kern River.

 

 

January

Feburary

March

April

May

June

July

August

September

October

November

December

Chironomids
& Bloodworms

Slight

Slight

Slight

Slight

Major

Major

Major

Minor

Minor

Minor

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.

 

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 Feb to April for a 4-6 week period after a mild winter. Colder winters will delay they hatch one or two months. 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

Major

Major

Major

Minor

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 late Spring, around May and continue through the Summer. The Late Spring hatch should be the larger sizes while the last Summer 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.