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P.O. Box 4273
Sunriver, OR 97707
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Fly Tying Corner

Pale Morning Dun CDC Thorax

Tuesday - September 6, 2016
By Phil Fischer
Pale Morning Dun CDC Thorax
This month’s pattern features a Pale Morning Dun CDC Thorax pattern. September brings a change of season in Central Oregon. This means cooler weather, sometimes unsettled conditions, and a prolific Pale Morning Dun hatch on the Crooked River. This pattern also works well on the Fall River and Metolious and other rivers during their PMD hatches, which occur earlier in the year than on the Crooked. But PMD’s on the Crooked in September and early October can be amazing. It is a whole lot of fun to stand in one spot and cast to specific fish until hooked, then move along to the next fish, and next, and next, never stepping from the very same spot. I have had days where I spend the majority of the time within a 100-yard stretch of river and can cast to rising fish throughout the 3-4 hour hatch period. The best hatches occur on overcast days with moderate humidity in the air.

The Pale Morning Dun CDC Thorax pattern is tied with Cul-de-Canard in the wing, or CDC. CDC feathers come from right around the oil gland on waterfowl, and the feather is saturated with natural oils, and it repels water extraordinarily well. This makes it a perfect material for dry flies. CDC can become saturated after hooking a fish, but can be easily refreshed with some dry shake and a little CDC oil. I bought a small bottle of CDC Oil many years ago from the Trout Hunter Fly Shop in Island Park Idaho. It has lasted me a long time. The hackle is a Whiting Dry Fly Saddle Hackle and is tied dry fly style, but is clipped short on the underside of the fly to enable it to ride low in the water, much like the natural. I used a dyed pale yellow goose biot for the abdomen, which creates a nicely segmented and very sparse body. Rather than the more traditional leading edge, I used a barb from the trailing edge of the goose’s flight feather, as it enables more and tighter wraps to form the insect’s segments. I use a unique method to split the microfibets in the tail. Watch closely in the video and follow the steps precisely. It works! And lastly, I used a dubbing blend of pale yellow superfine dubbing, with Callibaetis UV dubbing for the Thorax. I find the addition of UV material to my dubbing mix adds life and promotes more takes to the fly.

This pattern has worked well for me on many waters over time. It can be tied to imitate the Pale Morning Dun, or other mayflies by substituting materials to match the natural. I often tie it to imitate a Mahogany Dun for this hatch during October on the Fall River. Give this pattern a try; I think you’ll like this results.

Pale Morning Dun CDC Thorax Materials List:
  • Hook: Daiichi 1180 Size 16-18 or similar
  • Thread: Pale Yellow 6/0
  • Tail: Pale Yellow Microfibets
  • Abdomen: Goose Biot in pale yellow
  • Thorax: Pale Yellow Superfine dubbing 75%, Callibaetis UV Dubbing 25%
  • Wing: Medium Dun CDC
  • Hackle: Whiting Farms Ginger Dry Fly Saddle Hackle
Tying instructions and steps are being published in video form, and can be found on the Sunriver Anglers Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/SunriverAnglers/, or at the following YouTube URL: https://youtu.be/1Rp2aK8Feyo.

Experiment with this pattern during September and October for the prolific PMD hatches that occur on the Crooked River. If you have questions or would like additional information about the PMD CDC Thorax pattern, please don’t hesitate to email me. Or if you have suggestions on future patterns to feature in this column, I welcome your input. I can be reached at Philfischer@sbcglobal.net.