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Duncan7709

What Fly?

15 posts in this topic

Hello everybody this is the first year that I have ever fly fished and I prefer to use dry flies for trout. My question is what type of dry fly to use when the trout are not rising? Thanks

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Around SE MN it's hard to beat a caddis. Another option is whatever has been hatching around the time of year you're fishing since they are used to seeing it. A third option is some variety of attractor pattern. I've never used any attractors so someone else will have to be chime in with the which variety of those they like best.

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I'm actually a big advocate of using subsurface flies (yes, I'm really saying that you should use nymphs or a scud), but since you prefer using a dry fly then here's my other answer. If there is no hatch or rising trout, then I'd suggest using a search pattern or a terrestrial. Caddis can work, or perhaps an Royal Coachman dry. A stimulator also can be affective, or any terrestrial like a beetle or ant. In SE MN, don't forget that July is the start of decent hopper action. If none of these are working and the sun is on the back of you neck, then it's time for that sandwich fly.

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I like using either an elk hair caddis, royal wulff, or a humpy. Although if there are no fish rising, I'll almost always swing a wet fly or start nymphing.

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A very bushy Griffiths Gnat Size #14 or #16. Never fails when things are slow.

You're welcome. grin.gif

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I guess I have never really tried fishing nymphs so I think I might have to get some. Does anyone have any suggetions on what types of nymphs work?

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One more quick question when nymph fishing how do you "match the hatch?"

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Like you, I'm new to fly-fishing this year too. I've done a bunch of fishing and a lot of reading on it, so I'll try to give you some useful advice. No guarantees though. smile.gif

I've caught brookies in the last couple weeks on pheasant-tail nymphs, a red Copper John, hare's-ear nymphs and olive Scud nymphs. (The scud is a freshwater crustacean, like a tiny crayfish, that lives in streams year-round.)

Picking up some of these, and/or some prince nymphs, sow bugs, caddis larva and pupae, and the like will give you a good variety of stuff to try out. Go for sizes in the 14-20 range and get some lighter and darker colors to try. The bead-head styles are the ticket if you're fishing faster water, as the bead gets the nymph down quicker and adds a little eye-catching flash to it as well. You might want to get a couple San Juan worms too. These imitate small aquatic worms and may trigger a hit for you.

If you're around Rochester, Gander Mountain has a good selection of flies and all are marked down to a buck each. I was just there today and they have all the ones I mentioned and many more.

Many aquatic insects live as nymphs for a year or so before hatching, and nymphs are always around in the streams. Pick up a rock from the streambed here and there and look at what's under it. There will be caddis, mayfly and stonefly nymphs wriggling under the rocks in pretty much every stream, with the stonefly nymphs being in faster water only for the most part. Check out submerged vegetation too, as some nymphs like to hang out on the weeds.

Many nymph patterns like the ones I mentioned are good imitations of a variety of nymphs and can entice a strike if the fish are in the mood to eat.

I was ten feet from a 16" brookie for an hour on Sunday and tried everything I could tie on to get its attention, even bouncing a nymph right off its back a couple times, but he just held his position at the bottom of a 4 ft hole and didn't move. I did catch a few of the smaller trout that were hanging around the same hole, but the biggie wasn't interested.

All my dry-fly presentations thus far have gone ignored, even with some rising going on. I could never see what they were taking off the surface, and the only bugs near the surface were teeny-tiny black flies, so that must have been what they were eating. I have since added some tiny (#24-32) dry flies to my flybox and I'm anxious to give them a shot over the holiday.

Fishing is always hit and miss, and the best you can do is try a variety of things and see what works (make sure you have a spool or two of tippet material along, cuz you go through it fast when you're tying on different flies/nymphs frequently). Good Luck!

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Not trying to hijack this "dry" fly thread question just trying to help the nymph question...

Great reply by SodaJerk but heres some more info...

I do alot of fly fishing and primarily fish wets and nymphs. Even when fish are eating on top they are eating alot more emergers that havent made it up yet. I fish mostly fast water so my choice of size is usually a little bigger like an 8-12 plus I want an attention getter to start with. Stoneflys, mayflies, and caddis mostly. Cant go wrong with pheasant tails, haresear, and stone fly imitations. Plus I use alot of soft hackles that can imitate all three. Each water system is diff. Some around here have a ton of black stoneflys so i'll use darker colors. One here has a good population of yellow stones. Another is full of greyish caddis. Getting to know each system and time of year helps but starting with a meduim brown is a good idea.

Heres a pict of a nymph/wet box I just tied up for the upper Delaware. Lots of caddis and mayflies plus some big helgramites and big stones...

dsc00686wi8.jpg

A great one two punch is fishing nymphs below a hopper or stimulator.

I really like feeling them hit a swung wet though...

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What I would suggest to anyone that is just getting started in fly fishing or fly tying is to read, read, read. Fly fishing is not a new way of fishing, so there are all kinds of books out there that will help with the "techniques". Your first stop for knowledge should be your local public library. You'll be surprised what you'll find. I remember finding the "Flyfishing for Carp" book when I lived in Winona. And here in Maplewood the library has everything from the Orvis (insect) stream guide, fly tying books, and books on fishing dry flies and nymphs. Duncan, I'm sure that you'll find a ton of fly fishing books living down in Rochester.

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I've never been to the Rochester library, but I checked out Barnes and Noble at Apache Mall and they have a good selection of fly fishing books. Probably 25 or so different titles, though I didn't buy any the day I was there.

I ordered three books from Amazon: Orvis Fly Fishing Guide, L.L. Bean Ultimate Book of Fly Fishing and The Complete "Idjit's" Guide to Fly Fishing. They all have a little different method of describing things, and having a variety of teachers allows one to mix and match the things one learns to the way you like to do things.

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One book I would suggest is "Trout Fishing in South East Minnesota" It's a good fly fishing book that gives you the basics of most of the streams with how to fish them, what patterns work best, etc. If you have some interest in fly patterns and tying, there are two books by Ross A. Mueller that are probably more about about fishing in the Driftless area of MN and WI than they are about fly patterns. One is titled "Upper Midwest Flies that Catch trout" and the other is "Fly Fishing Midwest Spring Creeks"

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Visit a fly shop and listen, listen, listen. I spent this past week out in the black hills and am glad I spent part of Monday in Rapid City at a fly shop. I had brought lots of flys with many patterns, but there were a few local variations that proved to be the ticket. For example, in SE Minnesota / Western Wisconsin a Prince Nymph or Pheasant Tail nymph are my usual goto flies (and of course the pink squirel) and will show up somewhere on my rig. Out in the Black Hills it's the Copper John and a very nice variation that is black with silver wire; size 18 proved to be the ticket for a few dozen fish. As for dries, the attractor patterns are all good. I like to try some PMD's and BWO's, and trico's or small midges if I see them rising to a mystery bug. An Elk Hair Caddis (in any color or size) is also a good search tool. As the summer heats up don't forget the terrestrial patterns; hoppers, ants, and other bugs that fall into the stream are also a good quick meal for the ever hungry trout.

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Here's my two cents worth on nymphs. My box is dominated by these three nymphs: Prince 12-18 some tied with gold wire some tied with red wire. Pheasant tails 12-20 tied with various colors of pheasant tail fibers and hares ears again in several sizes and colors. Changing the color of the wire rib can provide and interesting change in appearance. I have others, but one of those three is almost always on my line in a two fly system. Ross Muellers books are very good at describing efffective patterns for this part of the world. Also, I spend very little time fishing in slow deep water with nymphs as my feeling is that most of the fish that you see in these areas are not actively feeding, and are generally in a negative mood. An exception would be if I see their sides flashing in the sun that would indicate that they are digging nymphs out of the bottem. The more active fish seem to be in the moving waters like runs and riffles. In addition, I also like to fish softhackles as a searching pattern. They are very easy to tie and to fish with. Soft hackles very versatile. You can fish them almost anyway you like and it won't be wrong. The most important piece of this whole puzzle is to learn where the fish lay so that what ever fly you fish with you can send right past their nose. If it looks like food most of the time they will grab it.

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recently, i haven't had much free time to tie up flies, so the few times i've gotten out, i've been light on the go-to flies-- out of scuds, hare's ears and pheasant tails..... so i've made due and started using whatever i had in the box..... lo and behold, just about everything i tried worked....... patterns i'd made up, patterns i'd bought for specific rivers out west, and even some streamers, etc that i rarely pull out.....

my favorite discovery was about a size six black foam cricket that i was gifted from an old timer earlier this year down on the w. fork of the kickapoo..... he claimed he used it with impunity-- all day long, hatch or not..... i'd been too skeptical to try it, but broke it out yesterday on the rush...... within ten minutes, i'd hooked and lost 4 fish over 18 in..... one easily the largest fish i've seen on the river-- i just got jumpy cuz he took the fly as i twitch-retrieved it about five feet from me and set the hook before he inhaled it......

the flies others mentioned are all good general purpose ones-- i usually fish those three nymphs 75% of the time in various combinations...... if i'm searching up top, it's almost always a 14 or 16 elk hair caddis and a 16 or 18 parachute adams dropped of the back end...... now, i think i'll mix in a big black cricket every once in a while.....

lately, i've also been using the stimulator with a bead-head or a scud dropped off the back end and it's been deadly..... works great in skinny or slow water where an indicator might normally spook fish.....

just be creative and don't be afraid to try new techniques or flies..... cuz while it may seem ridiculous to throw on a size 6 cricket in still water on a spring creek, who knows till ya give it a go?

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