Up until several years ago the light gray comparadun was my preferred fly for matching the pale morning dun hatches that are prevalent in the western United States. I was always perplexed by the effectiveness of this fly since it possessed a light gray body yet most of the specimens I collected displayed light yellow and even cinnamon bodies. Despite this misgiving, who was I to argue with fishing success? I hypothesized that the light gray poly dubbing contained strands of yellow fibers, and this explained the positive feeding habits of targeted trout during a PMD hatch.
The light gray comparadun was so effective on the Colorado River near Parshall, CO that I encouraged my friend Jeff Shafer to tie some prior to a trip to Colorado. He asked me to take a photo, and I used the margin of a page of the Wall Street Journal as the background. We both felt that using a newspaper that documented financial results was suitable given the effectiveness of the light gray comparadun, and we jokingly nicknamed the fly the money fly.
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Unfortunately change is a constant in fly fishing, and I began to encounter situations where the money fly failed to entice feeding trout during pale morning dun hatches. Exhibit A for this circumstance was the Frying Pan River where I endured several outings when the light gray comparadun left me in a disillusioned state relative to my dependable comparadun. Fortunately during a September trip in 2013 I stumbled across the cinnamon comparadun as a more effective imitation for the feeding inhabitants of the Frying Pan. In addition to body color, I also downsized my flies to size 18 instead of the previously favored size 16.
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My conversion to size 18 cinnamon comparaduns has not caused me to totally abandon the light gray comparadun. I continue to find scenarios where the light gray money fly performs at a high level. I can only theorize that different river systems harbor pale morning duns with different shades of PMD body color.
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I reviewed the status of my light gray comparadun inventory and decided to tie an additional ten in size 18. These have been completed and added to my fly storage container. These flies should enable me to test whether size of fly or color explain the change is success from the light gray to cinnamon comparadun. Stay tuned.