6 Tips for Fly Fishing the Pale Evening Dun Hatch

Photo by Les Korcala

-Tip #1 Post Color

Chartreuse posts are the easiest to see at dusk, followed by black. So if you have a choice in wing posts, get chartreuse for the evening. You will drive yourself crazy trying to find a white post in a lot of these low light conditions especially if the sun is at a bad angler creating a tough glare.

-Tip #2 Time To Shine

We’re big fans of Frogs Fanny on the PED’s. It seems to give the fly a bit more glow in the twilight. We might put Frogs Fanny on the fly every 5th cast or so.

-Tip #3 Attention To Detail

Be ready to change flies and read rise forms. Every once in a while the Rusty Spinners will fall at the same time the PED’s hatch. If you’re not looking for them, you’ll miss a lot of fish. If you get 2-3 good drifts and the fish won’t take, start looking for spinners on the water. The Pale Evening Dun hatch doesn’t blanket the water like the PMD’s, but don’t short yourself on flies. The trout can be fussy, even at dusk. It’s easy to assume you can get away with a bit more at dusk, and you can. However, keep your leader as light as you can and as long as you can. It’s easy to want to go short and thick because it’s easier, but trout see drag just as well in the dark.

Pale Evening Dun Nymph
Photo by Bob Henricks

-Tip #4  Things Don’t Change In The Dark

When you can’t see your fly in the darkness, don’t assume you’re getting a longer drift! When you could see your fly, how long was your drift? If it was 4 seconds, then don’t assume in the dark you’re getting longer. Lift your fly off the water after 5 seconds, and cast it again. Additionally, while you still have light, cast and gauge the distance from the end of your fly line to your fly. Once you’ve found that distance, you can guesstimate where your fly is, and if you see a rise in the general vicinity, set the hook. Remember, hook sets are free!

-Tip #5 Plan Ahead

No one wants to break a fly off, but it happens. Make sure the eyes of your flies are clear, so you’re not trying to thread your leader through head cement. Also, when the light is falling and you’re tying a fly on, hold your fly up against the sky. Often, the additional light found above your head, not blocked by the brim of your hat when you’re face down concentrating, will be enough to find the eye of the hook faster. The background is often cleaner against the sky as well, again helping your eye threading and knot tying. Don’t forget to take your sunglasses off! Sounds stupid, but you’d be surprised……..

-Tip #6 Miscellany In The Dark

Bring an extra layer if you’re going to be out after dark. The chill can come fast, and after a day in the sun and heat, it will feel really cold. A red lightbulb/cover lens for your headlamp won’t spook the fish when you turn it on. You can still work on your rig under red light, but it’s usually not so bright that it scares the trout.

Additional Pale Evening Dun Resources