Written by: John Way, The Tackle Shop
June in Montana is a special time—not quite summer yet, but not spring. It’s sort of an in-between time, when you can expect snow one day and 70 and sunny the next. An epic battle between spring and summer plays out each day, with the soundtrack of some of the best and most prolific hatches of the year. Legendary hatches like salmonflies, golden stoneflies, caddisflies, and PMDs keep hungry fish looking to the surface for their next meal. Here are my ten favorite patterns for this great time of year.
[Click the name of each fly to be taken to a place to buy, a recipe, or a video.]
1. Chubby Chernobyl—This is the do-anything stonefly, hopper, or attractor pattern. In June, I carry these in sizes 4-10, with a orange body to imitate salmonflies. You should also have some yell-body versions in sizes 8-12 for golden stones, as well as a few Royal Chubbys in sizes 8-14 to represent anything under the sun.
2. Rogue Foam Stonefly—This is the perfect imitation of a stonefly. Have it in your box in June in sizes 6 and 8 with an orange foam body for salmonflies and in sizes 10-16 with a yellow body for goldens and yellow sallies.
3. X-Caddis Tan (sizes 12-26)—While most people recognize the larger stoneflies, sometimes the fish are hungry for the millions of caddisflies that also hatch in June. The X-Caddis with the trailing shuck represents an adult just emerging from the film, and the fish can’t get enough.
4. Parachute Adams (sizes 10-16)— Use perfect all-around mayfly to represent almost any mayfly on the water.
5. Purple Haze Parachute (sizes 10-16)—Another great mayfly, as well as a general searching pattern. The purple color and elk tail make this one of the fishiest flies out there.
6. Bugmeister (sizes 10-14)—This is a local Montana favorite, first tied by outfitter John Perry in Missoula. I am not sure if it is because of the profile or the peacock body, but fish certainly take notice. Fish it in size 14 for a caddisfly and in a 10 for a golden stone.
7. Hedgehog Salmonfly (size 8)—An old-time pattern with multiple elk-hair wings, this fly rides low in the water. It works great when fish have seen every foam variation of a salmon fly. Make sure to have some with a burnt-orange body.
8. Furimsky’s Fluttering Caddis, Tan (sizes 10-14)—This is really an Elk Hair Caddis with a foam body, which means that it floats forever. The best part is that the foam body can be customized with a few colors of sharpie markers to be a golden stone, salmonfly, or caddisfly.
9. Royal Stimulator (sizes 8-16)—It’s sort of an old-school pattern these days, but it’s still a proven winner. The peacock-and-red body triggers fish looking for a variety of insects.
10. Goddard Caddis (sizes 14-18)—The Goddard, or what we like to call the “God Like Caddis,” floats like a cork and represents the adult caddis. I fish these anytime there are caddis on the river.
John Way owns and operates The Tackle Shop in Ennis, Montana.