Tuesday, September 04, 2007

The Mystery Hatch Of The Frying Pan

Hands-down, the toughest hatch all of us have ever encountered occurs along the middle Frying Pan. Picture this: You're waist deep in the Frying Pan around Mile Marker 6. You witness numerous trout rising, but to what? You start out with Green Drakes and PMD's. They all get refused. Then you pull out every trick in the book to no avail. Cripples, surface emergers, sunken spinners, floating nymphs, ants, 6x fluorocarbon, then 7x, reach casts, downstream drifts, nothing produces. You end up putting on a #22 BWO dry, and while not paying attention, your fly begins to swing in the current at the end of your drift and BAM, fish on. You think you have them figured out after releasing your fish. Fish are still rising in good numbers and after several perfect dead drifts over their heads with your #22 BWO dry, nothing. You can't seem to buy a fish. What's up? Welcome to the wonderful world of the infamous serratella. Serratellas are more commonly known as a small western dark hendrickson. They occur in very select waters including the Frying Pan, Yellowstone, and the Henry's Fork. The serratella's of the Frying Pan are a genetical adaptation that are unique to only the Frying Pan. They look much like a Blue Wing Olive being that they are small in size (typically #20-24's), olive bodied and have short dun colored wings. What makes them unique is that they are flightless and asexual. They hold their egg sack between their wings and scurry along the rivers surface trying to dislodge the egg sack. What's the trick you ask? Skating or swinging any small BWO dry. Our favorites include the Perfect Baetis, Sprouts and the CDC Wing Baetis. The nymph of the serratella is often mistaken for a PMD or BWO nymph. The defining characteristic is the pale dorsal stripe that extends the length of the body. The lack of a lateral fringe of hairs on the tails distinguish the serratella from the more predominate PMD. So there you have it, the mystery hatch of the Frying Pan simplified in lay-mans terms. This hatch is truly a spectacle to behold and fish through. It's damn hard, but extremely rewarding.

Written by Kirk Webb
Manager and guide for Taylor Creek Fly Shop
Basalt, Colorado