Fly of the Month: Parachutes
August got here in a hurry and that means if you are out fly fishing you need to switch up your game plan from the earlier months of summer. The days are warmer, the water is low and clear, the hatches are thin, and the trout tend to be picky and sluggish. Catching fish in these circumstances most often requires minuscule flies fished on microfine leaders.There’s nothing wrong with occasionally throwing large flies, like a hopper, golden stone, or Woolly Bugger. But late summer is prime time for busting out small patterns, like PMDs, BWOs, Adams, and gnats. Parachute flies are great to have in your fly box because they are easy to see, easy to fish, and it doesn’t sacrifice the presentation of the fly. Tie a 16 - 22 size fly on with a 5X or 6X tippet, then target shady areas, riffles, and undercut banks, and minimize false casts, to avoid spooking fish.
After the BWO hatch each spring, the Pale Morning Dun or PMD is the next major mayfly hatch for streams and rivers across the West. If you are looking for a highly visible, go-to pattern to match the Adult PMD, go no further than the Parachute PMD!
Blue Wing Olive Parachute
Depending on where you live, a number of different mayflies might share the name of Blue Winged Olive (BWO). However, it is the size 16-24 family of Baetis that is being referred to. The Parachute BWO is buoyant, similar in profile and color to the natural mayfly, and tied in a number of sizes, the Parachute BWO can be used to effectively match the whole spectrum of mayfly species that share its name.
There is a reason why this is one of the most used and most effective trout flies for August, and indeed of all time. This fly pattern imitates or more accurately represents a mayfly reaching the later stages of emergence rather than looking like the typical dun with hardened wings and floating high.
UV Para Purple Haze
A flashier and sexier version of the Parachute Adams, the Parachute Purple Haze shares many characteristics with the Adams but has replaced the grey body with an eye-catching metallic purple. The spark of light produced from the purple body makes this pattern visible from a greater depth and during cloudier water conditions. Altogether, the Parachute Purple Haze is a great Attractor dry fly that will fish to equal effect as either a mayfly or a larger midge.
Parachute Mahogany Dun
The Mahogany Duns provide some of the finest dry fly fishing of the late summer. They are classified as crawler nymphs. There are a number of other species that emerge throughout the summer but the late season is the best. Emergence takes place at the surface making an emerging nymph pattern very effective when trout are rising.
Black Gnat Parachute
The Black Gnat Parachute does an amazing job of imitating a cluster of midges spawning on the water when the naturals are too small to fish and is equally effective when used to match larger chironomids as they dance on the water.
When fishing any dry fly pattern, matching the color and the size to the hatch is critical. Often overlooked is the casting of shadow from your leader, which may lead to spooked fish. Try selecting a high float leader. Additional waterproofing can be given to your fly delaying it from becoming waterlogged, by applying a flotant like our JHFLCO Gel Float.
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