Mayflies begin hatching on western lakes and rivers in May and continue to do so through July. I consider catching trout on a dry fly the ultimate in the fine sport of fly fishing! Sedge hatches often provide explosive action but sadly many of the still water sedge hatches are only a shadow of what they once were due to pollutants such as oil film from outboard motors. However, mayflies appear to be a little more resistant and fortunately, there are still good hatches of mayflies in our waters. I recall an early July fishing trip on the Canim River just east of 100 Mile House when the mid day mayfly hatch was very prolific and, the resident rainbow trout responded with excellent enthusiasm! The fly that worked well for me on these wild trout was a moose tail mayfly that we will examine in this article.
The mayfly shown is a light green although there are many variations of mayfly colors in shades of gray, brown and tan as well. You can meet the challenge of the color variation by selecting different shades of imitation wood duck feathers for the wings! I try to match the wing feather color with a rod tying thread of similar shade. Start by selecting a small clump of moose mane hair and half hitch to the front third of the hook shank (cut end facing the hook eye) with about double the hair length extending past the hook bend. Now, take your rod tying thread, a size D green with mottled brown in the fly shown, and wrap the moose hair evenly to form the fly body. Then lift the hair ends past the hook shank and carefully wrap the thread starting about 1/2 way along the hook shank working towards and up the tail, i.e., form a fairly stiff uprising tail. Next tie in the wood duck feather wings so that they are reasonably upright. The final step is to spin a grizzly hackle just in front of the wings. The hollow moose main will help the fly to float but you may want to also spin the hackle on both sides of the wing to increase the floatablility of the fly. Tie off, cement and you have finished an effective floating fly for the mayfly season!
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