This pattern has done really well for me before, during, and after the hatch because its silhouette suggests vulnerability. I also like to tie this in BWO and drake colors, but it can be tied to match the naturals found in your local waters.

The Naturals:

Pale Morning Duns (PMDs) as a species take longer to dry their wings upon hatching. Many also get stuck in their nymphal shuck, are crippled, or still-born. When the healthy PMDs slide from their shuck they can neither swim, nor fly. This time spent on the surface of the water makes them more susceptible to getting munched, but also gives fish more time to inspect them as they float by. Sometimes you’ll find that trout will ignore healthy duns and key only on the deformed insects, or target those that are stuck in their shucks.

Here in Utah, Pale Morning Duns usually hatch mid to late morning but hatches can sometimes continue into the late afternoon. They usually begin to appear in June and stick around as late as September.


Hook: TMC 100 #16-18
Thread: Yellow Danvilles Flymaster 6/0
Shuck: Brown Zelon/ wood duck fibers overlapping
Abdomen: Turkey biot dyed PMD
Wingcase: Yellow larva lace foam
Post: Pink McFlylon (tied in parachute style)
Hackle: Ginger dry fly to match hook size
Thorax: PMD superfine

Step by Step:

PMD-Emerger-Pattern-1Attach thread just behind the hook eye. (:21)

PMD-Emerger-Pattern-2Attach brown zelon (zelon is best for shuck materials…trust me on this one). (:58)

PMD-Emerger-Pattern-3Place wood duck or equivalent on top of zelon tie in point. This imitates the tail of the struggling bug. This shuck/tail combo is owed to Rene Harrop, a spring creek master up on the Henry’s Fork. (1:27)

PMD-Emerger-Pattern-4Attach PMD dyed turkey biot and advance thread to 50% point on the hook and in turn, cleaning up the zelon and tail material (we want a smooth body here, no lumps.) (1:57)

PMD-Emerger-Pattern-5 After roughly 6 or 7 wraps of the biot, bind down and clip. (3:13)

PMD-Emerger-Pattern-6Tie in the larva lace foam right on top of the last wrap of biot. The foam should be at a thickness of the hook gape and the foam should be bound down to right before the hook eye. This provides a smooth looking thorax as well, no lumps! (3:53)

PMD-Emerger-Pattern-7Figure eight and post a piece of hi vis mcflylon as if you are tying a parachute between the foam and hook eye. Roughly at the 80% mark. (4:37)

PMD-Emerger-Pattern-8Attach prepared ginger hackle. (4:45)

PMD-Emerger-Pattern-9Dub between foam and hook eye. (5:12)

PMD-Emerger-Pattern-10Begin wrapping hackle. Three wraps behind post and two in front of post is sufficient. (6:02)

PMD-Emerger-Pattern-11Tie off hackle and clip. Thank heavens for Whiting hackle! (6:21)

PMD-Emerger-Pattern-12Trim the tops of hackle fibers between the post and the foam (this makes for a cleaner fly and cleanliness is next to Godliness)! (6:28)

PMD-Emerger-Pattern-13Poke a hole in the foam with a bodkin. Take the distance from the post and the foam tie in point. Go that distance up on the foam and that’s where you want to poke. Be gentle here, Chuck Liddell would have a hard time with this step, but you can do it. (6:36)

PMD-Emerger-Pattern-14Insert a looped piece of wire or bobbin threader into the hole created in the foam. (7:01)

PMD-Emerger-Pattern-15Bring wire over and around the post material. (7:05)

PMD-Emerger-Pattern-16Now pull forward on the foam up and over the hook eye and pull back on the wire at the same time. I know, I know, it’s tough for us men to multi task. If it doesn’t come completely through don’t worry, You can use your fingers to pull the rest. (7:08)

PMD-Emerger-Pattern-17The post should be sticking through the foam like this. Now you are ready to tie off the foam. (7:24)

PMD-Emerger-Pattern-18Trim foam right in front of hook eye…that cleanliness thing again. (7:38)

PMD-Emerger-Pattern-19Whip finish at the hook eye. (7:46)

PMD-Emerger-Pattern-20Trim the post at half the length of the shank. Then trim any stray fibers from the post or hackle. Now go outsmart some fish!!! (8:10)

PMD Emerger


The Strawberry PMD Emerger is a Grant Bench creation.

About The Author

The Fly Ninja

I tie fly.

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