Fly fishing the Pale Morning Dun Hatch on Colorado’s trout streams is a dependable summer event that anglers can rely on for steady nymph and dry fly action. These small mayflies are currently hatching on rivers like the Eagle, Roaring Fork and Colorado. Expect this hatch to continue through July and in to August. The Pale Moring Dun mayfly tends to run between a size #16 to #18 but may shrink to a #20 later in the summer.
Many aquatic insects have regional differences in size and color and the PMDs in central Colorado are no different. Anglers who have fished the PMD hatch in other areas of the Rocky Mountains may expect to fish pale yellow dry flies for the PMD emergence but these patterns do not accurately represent our Colorado PMDs. The Pale Morning Duns in Central Colorado tend to run a pinkish to orangish color and our favorite fly patterns reflect this color scheme.
Here is a list of our favorite fly patterns for fly fishing the Pale Morning Dun hatch in Colorado:
Barr’s PMD Emerger
This fly pattern is a go-to nymph for PMDs. The light thorax suggests an emerging nymph and the slim profile is very realistic. Beaded and non-bead versions are available as well patterns with or without a flashback.
Quasimodo Pheasant Tail Nymph
It is hard to improve on a proven trout-catcher like the Pheasant Tail nymph but the Quasimodo version does just that. The curved hook gives the fly a natural profile that trout seem to prefer over a straight hook and the flashback adds a little attraction. With a heavy copper bead, this is an ideal dropper nymph.
Bat Wing PMD Emerger
This fly has just the right color scheme and movement for imitating hatching Pale Morning Duns. With CDC wings and an orange bead, this fly can be fished in a number of ways: deep as a true nymph, suspended as an emerger or just under the surface as a struggling adult.
Actually a slimmed down, flashy attractor dry fly, the Patriot also accurately represents an adult PMD. The hot pink body and flash ribbing seems to draw rising trout from long distances. Trout eat this fly with no hesitation as soon as Pale Morning Duns begin riding the water’s surface.
Pink Foam Parachute
This is a more realistic dry fly pattern for Pale Morning Duns. It rides low in the water but floats well and is very visible. A crystal flash rib adds attraction and the pale pink color is an exact match for actual PMDS.
Try these PMD patterns for matching Colorado’s Pale Morning Dun hatches on the Eagle, Colorado or Roaring Fork Rivers. Check out the huge inventory of hot flies in the Vail Valley Anglers fly shop when your fly box is running low!
Brody Henderson, Guide and Content Writer