|Fran Better's "Usual"|
There were a few sulfurs around early but the river was mostly devoid of rising fish, so I did some nymphing and picked up a couple of rainbows on a Walt's worm variation which has been a rainbow magnet for me lately. After I saw the first couple rises, I headed back to the truck and put the nymphing rod away and rigged up the dry fly rod.
I toyed around with a sulfur comparadun but after drifting it over a few rises, I decided that I would go to "the usual". I don't know why this rough looking fly does so well at dark but it rarely fails under these conditions and this night would be no different. I tie two variations on short-shanked hooks in size 14 and 16. I use either hot orange or pale yellow thread. When the fly becomes wet, the body takes on the color of the thread due to the translucent nature of the snowshoe rabbit fur dubbing. With the pale sulfurs I was seeing, I chose the yellow thread variation. There weren't a lot of rising fish until the sun had set but once it did lots of fish were actively rising and I had the most consistent dry action of the season well into the darkness.
There was a brief lull that made be think the hatch was over but the rises started picking up again. This time the usual, which had worked so well, was being ignored. I tried a large sulfur spinner but that wasn't the ticket either. It wasn't until I turned on my headlamp to head out that I realized what was going on. There were huge yellow mayflies (#10/#12) all over the river, either light Cahills or Yellow drakes. I probably would have enjoyed the encore if I had switched to one of the big usuals I carry. That's what is so fun about fly fishing, you are always learning to be more attentive to what's going on around you!
As much as I enjoy fishing dries at dark, those beaver tail slaps right behind me still give me the creeps!