Saturday, October 9, 2010

There's been a lot of talk...

timpanoga hecuba dun
...lately about the fall drake, aka hecuba, aka drake mackerel, aka red quill aka Snake drake. I've heard reports of them from the Big Hole, Yellowstone and Bitterroot rivers this fall.
I've only seen a good hatch once, on the Gallatin. It was a wet, cloudy late afternoon - September 10, 2008. No fish were rising so I didn't throw on a dry, but I probably should have. Hecubas are just shy of green drakes in stature, so it shouldn't take many to garner attention. They also have three short tails, and short stubby bodies like green drakes, so they're often confused for them. Their color is the main distinction, but season is another indication.
timpanoga hecuba nymph
They're a marvelous, beautiful, rare mayfly that are a treat to encounter. 
I think we're hearing and encountering so many more this year because of consecutive good-water years that provide the healthy rivers that certain rare bugs need to thrive. Check this out for more on that.
Should you see a hecuba, I'd recommend a big Royal Wulff or something similar. For more on drakes and Wulffs, pick up the upcoming issue of the Montana Sporting Journal
Go fish.