There's another hatch that I look forward to just as much, and which I've written about before, and that's of course the Yellow May Dun. Still I hear the fact stated that fish don't like them, which is completely wrong. The hatch can prove just as good fishing as the Danica-hatch.
The YMD is one of the most beautiful mayflies and fishing both nymph, emerger, dun and spinner can be very effective during the hatches as well as before and after. When it comes to imitation the nymph, there are no flies that beat Oliver Edwards' great Heptagenid Nymph. The dun's easy - a size 12 yellow parachute and the spinner's just a yellow (or orange) typical spinner with clear wings of poly yarn.
The "adult" nymph, just before it's ready to emerge, is very dark, which is why my version of the YM Emerger has a dark brown abdomen. To be completely honest, I'm not sure if they hatch at the surface. I know that some do, because I seen it many times, but considering the massive hatches I've witnessed sometimes, I'm pretty sure that some hatch at the bottom as well. I'll investigate in three weeks and report back.
But back to "my" emerger - regardless of hatch-habitus, the fly works really well. When I see fish on the surface, clearly not taking the dun, I tie this one. I apply a little gel to the wing and wing only after making sure the abdomen is wet. A wet abdomen will penetrate the surface meniscus and present the fly just as I want. Abdomen and trailing shuck under water, wing and thorax above, imitating the insect breaking free.
I've made a video on how to tie it on the Ahrex YouTube channel, If you're interested, check it out here. If you fish rivers - at least in Europe, in May, this is for me an essential pattern. I've tried to include what I perceive as important trigger points. The dark abdomen, of course the yellow wing and thorax, but also the legs. The Heptagenids are commonly referred to as "stoneclingers". They're flat and have strong, sturdy legs, because their preferred habitat is fast water and gravel/rock bottom.
The fly is really durable and will catch several fish before it needs to be dried completely and primped for another round.
I need to tie a few for the box, and I also need to tie new salmon flies. I've tied one all winter and the season is open. Not that I need a lot, but I'm short on the smaller stuff. The fishing's difficult already, and we've had summerlike days for the last three days, so they're wary. Small flies, thinner leaders, singlehanded rods will be what I'm trying next week.
Have a great weekend!