Pink Lightning Bug nymphs are among the top winter flies in the region, especially on the Missouri River where they’re effective from now through mid-May. Suggestive of eggs and scuds, and to a lesser extent mayflies and midges, spin up a few Pink Lightning Bugs to try in your home waters this winter.
Like many anglers, I’ve been getting into the Euro-style nymphing game over the past couple seasons. One of the important elements of this nymphing tactic is avoiding “suspension devices,” aka strike indicators. Instead, you use a bright or otherwise visible section of leader material as a “sighter.” Besides specialized sections of coiled leader material, Perform X is the sighter material Parks stocks.
Perform X is a medium-stiff nylon that comes off the spool in 6″ bands of alternating colors. In the illustration above, these colors are yellow and red. Not only the bright colors but the transition between them as well as the leader knots you use to secure a section of the Perform X into your leader help you pick up the leader and watch it for telltale twitches that indicate a strike.
I used this product for the first time this fall and it generally performed admirably. For nymphing for fall-run browns, the 02X size is best. I used a 9′ 1X base leader that I cut where it’s of comparable diameter to the Perform X and added 18″ of Perform X to serve as my sighter. This was enough to include a section of both bright orange and chartreuse material. I continued building out the leader by adding a long section of 2X to the 1X base, a tippet ring, and a short section of 3X fluorocarbon tippet. In addition, I cut off the butt section of the leader and replaced it with 30lb Amnesia in bright orange to serve as an additional sighter when fishing water too deep for me to see the Perform X.
The Perform X proved no more likely to tangle than the rest of my leader and was quite visible when contact-nymphing water shallow enough to hold at least the upper (deep) end of the sighter out of the water. Once the sighter was actually in the water, for example when fishing deep pools, I found it was too thin to be visible, hence the need for an Amnesia section close to the fly line. The material took knots well, turned over fine on casts, and did not abrade. In fact I never changed my sighter in about a month of fishing.
One tip: don’t hesitate to add additional knots inside the sighter section to increase visibility. I got one tangle in the sighter section itself (purely a casting error) that I had to cut out. Rather than replacing the sighter, I merely cut the knot out and retied. The sighter was substantially more visible with this additional knot in the middle.
The Yellowstone Park season closes at sunset this Sunday, November 1. Better get your last licks in while you can. Warm weather has replaced the recent extreme cold and should lead to good opportunities on all of our usual fall fisheries: the Madison, Firehole, Gibbon, and Gardner. Water temps are generally too cold elsewhere. Fall-run brown trout are now present in high numbers in all of the rivers I just mentioned, but they’re on the spawn hard now. Please avoid disturbing fish spawning in shallow areas and avoid wading on/near areas of clean, shallow gravel as these are redds (nests). Plenty of browns remain in the deeper pools, while rainbows and resident browns are eager to eat the eggs of the spawners in the pocket water. I (Walter) caught about 30 fish yesterday on the lower Gardner. Only two of them were fall-run browns since I never aggressively target the browns this late in the fall, but I got a bunch of nice fat rainbows like the one above on egg patterns and small jig-style stonefly nymphs.
The warm weather looks like it’ll hold all or most of next week, so there should be plenty of “second season” fishing on the Yellowstone, Madison, and other rivers outside Yellowstone Park for a while yet.
The Delektable Bug by Dan Delekta of Beartooth Fly Fishing is a large, aggressive stonefly nymph pattern with “a lot going on.” This version has the chenille body and abundant legs of a Pat’s Rubber Legs (aka Girdle Bug aka Turd), but also a marabou tail and a collar hackle. It has risen to become my best or second-best style of stonefly nymph over the past couple seasons, now certainly eclipsing the basic Pat’s. This variant is tied on a jig hook and has a couple small material additions in an experiment to cross over to appealing to fish who like my OTHER favorite stonefly lately, the Bomb Series nymphs, in this case the brown Stone Bomb. Otherwise it’s identical except in color to the basic Bug.
The basic Bug is the least-complicated version of a whole family of Delektable stonefly nymphs including the Braided Stone, the Hurless, the Mega Prince, the Mr. Rubber Legs, and the Stoner. Most are available in standard or flashback variants. These other variants add, subtract, or change a few materials, but otherwise use a similar tying process. For example the Mega Prince has a peacock herl body instead of chenille and adds biot wings, while the Hurless simply has a body of ostrich herl.
In most respects I use “Delektables” of one breed or another in the same situations where I would use other rubberleg stoneflies. I find the chenille-bodied version given here generally more effective when the water is high and/or off-color, as well as for ornery fall-run brown trout, while during the summer when the water is lower and clearer I prefer the similar Mega Prince or Mr. Rubberlegs.
The 2020 Delektable Flies catalog can be viewed here if you’d like to the stock color combinations and tying procedures: https://www.beartoothflyfishing.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/Delektable-Fly-Catalog-2020-WebPDF.pdf
Note that I have no business relationship with Delektable or Beartooth. I just use some of the flies.
NOTE ON FISHING DATES MENTIONED IN THIS VIDEO: The streamflow predictions for the Boulder have changed and it is now forecast to remain above 2000cfs through at least June 17, alas. I now expect it to drop into shape around June 20, 2020.