5 Tips for Fly Fishing the Mahogany Hatch

-Tip #1 Sparse is Good

The Mahogany is one of the skinniest flies in Montana. Combine that with the slow water mahoganies favor, and that chubby Royal Wulff isn’t going to work when fly fishing this hatch! Make sure your imitation is as thin as you can find, because these bugs are sparse.

-Tip #2 Don’t Give Up Too Soon

The Mahogany hatch goes deeper into the season than a lot of people give it credit for. On a warm day in early to mid-November around Missoula, you can still find pods of fish rising to Mahoganies. You need to be on the water about an hour before dusk, and find that prime spot. But there’s so little pressure, getting to the prime spots is easy. If the temp goes above 45, give the Mahogany a shot late season.

-Tip #3  Pick Your Fish

Late in the season, it takes a while for the trout to establish their feeding. If you come across 5-6 fish feeding, judge the largest fish and target that one. If you hook one of the smaller fish, and it runs through the pod, the trout may well spook, and not come back. SO target the biggest fish first, so if the pod disappears, you’ll have taken the biggest!

Mahogany Nymph
Photo by Bob Henricks

-Tip #4  Go Bigger

Conventional wisdom states, if the fish are refusing your offerings, then drop down a size. This is not as effective for the mahogany. If you’re getting refusals to your bug, tie on one size larger and see what happens. For some reason, the trout will take a larger Mahogany after spurning a smaller one. 

-Tip #5 Sunny Mornings

When the Mahogany is hatching, the fall nights and mornings can be pretty cold in Montana. Sunny mornings tend to warm water temperatures. The slightest bump in temps will not only get the fish to move but will also trigger the bugs to hatch. Usually we love clouds when fishing Mayfly hatches and this holds true to Mahoganies but an ideal day would be a sunny morning and a cloudy afternoon. This recipe will make for the best dry fly fishing during the fall.

Additional Mahogany Resources