It's official, summer is here, the flows are dropping and a new round of bugs are emerging on our western waters. There are a few salmonflies lingering in the bushes but downsizing is now the key to targeting trout. Hatches and exact timing vary by river but there are a few trusted insects that are very popular and makeup a large amount of the available food source.
Caddis are a major food source in most western rivers. Look for splashy rises and clouds of mating adults in the tree-tops. Fishing the larva form is productive throughout the year. Swing a soft hackle to imitate the emerging pupa or an elk hair caddis for the adult.Skating your elk hair caddis is often the difference between slow and red hot fishing. Caddis are erratic and a perfect dead drift is not required.
When the fish are being particular, it's likely because certain mayflies have their attention. PMD's are often responsible for selective behaivior. Use a yellow parachute adams or comparadun to fish this hatch. Green Drakes do not have the numbers but they have the size. Green Drake hatches are most productive during overcast or even slightly rainy days. The increased humidity makes it easier for them to develop their wings. Callibaetis mayflies are popular in slow moving water throughout the summer and fall as well. A general parachute adams will do a good job of imitating these bugs.
Most of the big salmonflies are gone but some big goldens will be around throughout the summer. Nocturnal, half-wing goldens are available in many rivers as well. Look for fresh shucks on the rocks when nothing that large is flying around. The presence of these shucks means a large chubby chernobyl is worth a shot. Most days, focusing on the smaller yellow sallies is the ticket. A yellow humpy or stimulator will do the trick, especially on the smaller rivers and streams.