Every once in a while something occurs that feeds my penchant to horde and stockpile flies. I’m perpetually reading articles about traveling light, carrying only a minimal supply of flies, and preparing fly boxes for the season of the year and the stream being fished thus leaving behind the excess flies that rarely come into play. Unfortunately my personality imposes a level of thoroughness to everything that I do that dictates that I carry four or five fly boxes just in case some rare event comes that causes me to dig deep. One of the small fly boxes that I always have with me contains flies that I tied for my trips to Pennsylvania even though I fish in Colorado rivers and streams most of the time.
On a trip to the Frying Pan River in September 2013 with my friend Jeff Shafer, I observed some pale morning duns that had a light olive and maroon body. The combination of these two colors yielded a hue close to cinnamon. The fish were feeding actively on these flies, but the pale morning comparaduns that I normally use with great success were generating only refusals. My favorite PMD fly is a size 16 light gray comparadun. Besides not being a close match from a color perspective, it also was a size larger than the mayflies on the water.
I systematically began rummaging through my fly boxes and eventually came upon the Pennsylvania box. There along the edge I spotted a size 18 comparadun that was tied with a blend of light olive and maroon dubbing. I recalled tying these fifteen years earlier after a trip to the Dolores River in southwestern Colorado. I tied this fly on to my line and experienced an exceptionally fast paced hour and a half of hot action as the Frying Pan trout slurped my antique comparadun.
I purchased some cinnamon dubbing the next winter and produced 5-10 cinnamon comparaduns in case I visited the Frying Pan River again during 2014. On several occasions during the summer when I encountered pale morning dun hatches I tried the cinnamon comparadun and had reasonable success. During a trip to the Frying Pan River in September, it produced a few fish, but I did not encounter the dense PMD hatches that I expected. In addition, I believe several were in the fly box that I lost while trying to untangle a massive monofilament snarl.
As I moved through my fly bin stocking process during January, I decided to tie twenty new cinnamon comparaduns; fifteen size 18 and five size 16. Hopefully this supply will carry me through another summer season, and I will be prepared for pale morning dun hatches on western rivers.