If the spring-like temperatures across much of the West continue, we can probably expect to see some early mayfly action in the next few weeks. I had great luck with the Purple Haze on Montana’s Rock Creek a couple years ago during an April hatch of blue-winged olives, and I assume it will work elsewhere, as well. It’s a fly you’ll find yourself returning to throughout the season. The pattern was invented in 2000 by Andy Carlson, who guides on the Bitterroot River, and it has become very popular as both a searching pattern and as an imitation for several mayfly hatches.
In this great video from Tightline Productions, Tim Flagler offers his method for creating this flashy but effective pattern. The key is in where you place the wing post, which is farther back than those of most parachute patterns.
Parachute Purple Haze
Hook: Standard dry-fly hook (e.g. Dai-Riki #305), sizes 10-20.
Thread: Purple, 6/0 or 70 denier.
Tail: Speckled moose-body hair.
Wing post: White calf-body hair.
Glue #1: Fly Tyers Z-Ment.
Hackle: Brown and grizzly.
Glue #2: Sally Hansen Hard As Nails.