Written by: dave danley, Falcon Ledge
Utah has many great trout rivers for fishing, but the Duchesne Drain, which flows out of Ashley National Forest, is one of our favorites. Not only is the scenery stunning, this beautiful river and its tributaries are teeming with resident cutthroats as well as wild brown, rainbow and brown trout. There are some great hatches in the Duchesne during the summer months. Green drakes emerge in large numbers in late June and stoneflies and caddis flies hatch almost daily in July, leading to constant action throughout the season. Here are our top 5 most productive flies for summer fishing on the Duchesne:
1. Schroeder’s parachutist (sizes 10-14)
Late June sees hatching of large green drakes and outright trout in northeastern Utah Firmly on those big mayflies resulting in the best dry fly fishing of the year. This hatch can be mimicked with many different patterns, but believe it or not, we prefer an olive-bodied skydiver. We like this pattern because its high profile and high buoyancy are ideal for Drake blood, plus it can be used well into early fall to mimic locusts while hunting large brown trout.
2. PMX (sizes 12-14)
The PMX is a great pattern for Northeast Utah from late June through October. We’re using olive versions to mimic green drakes in late June and then we’ll be adding some royal versions in July and early August when the stoneflies begin to hatch in abundance. The PMX is also ideal as a grasshopper imitation in autumn.
3. Spanish Bullet Perdigon (sizes 14-18)
This versatile pattern is effective year-round on the Duchesne and its tributaries. In larger sizes, it well imitates squid larvae, and in smaller sizes – mosquito larvae. In combination with a hopper or a PMX dry fly, it is also ideal as a dropper.
4. Rubber-legged Copper John (sizes 12-18)
The Copper John is a well known and effective nymph on many western trout rivers – and the Duchesne is no exception – but for some reason we find the rubber leg nymph to be the most prolific here.
5. Adam’s Purple Parachute (sizes 16-20)
The low profile of this fly is well suited to catching finicky fish, especially in areas with slower currents. We use this pattern year-round, gradually increasing the size as the water warms.
Dave Danley is Operations Manager for Falcon Ledge in Altamont, UT.