Archive for June 26th, 2008


To weight or not to weight….(gettin’ down)


For stream fishing weight is added to the fly or leader/tippet, in an attempt to dredge the bottom, just skimming across the bottom. Or, to put the fly down quickly and raise it ala Leisenring Lift to induce a take. But with stillwaters, once in the shoals or near the edge/drop, all depths of that zone are fishable depending upon hatches, your search presentations/retrieves and the vertical route most insects take toward the hatch (excluding crawling across the bottom to shore; crawling up debris/vegetation to surface).

This is a slower probing of the vertical column until, hopefully, a pattern results from hits and/or hookups and your observations of when or where you receive the hits. The tip is to stay in the zone as long as possible. An overly weighted fly will pass through the zone too quickly. A too heavy fly line will pull the fly (weighted or unweighted) through the zone. This is why an Intermediate or Type II line will keep the unweighted fly in the zone longer. With the exception of flies I want to keep at the bottom like a Kaufmann Dragon or the bead head Woolly Bugger, I most often use the clear line to slowly probe the horizontal plain until I lower into or retrieve up into the strike zone. Woolly Buggers can and should also be tied in the unweighted style. Bead headed WB’s offer the up and down undulating, wavy Leech movement. But, sometimes valuable time is lost by passing downward too quickly and staying below the zone. A clear Intermediate/Type I, a Type III and a WF Floating line are the primary lines. Sink Tips and heavier lines could be carried, but 3-4 spare spools plus the costs of the additional lines do add up.        



Pheasant Tail Nymph (Tired and True)

I have stated my boredom with GRHE’s and PTN’s (a little insider acronym stuff there) But, truth be told and that is what we do here for better or worse, the Pheasant Tail Nymph is an excellent nymph in streams and stillwaters. Above you see ones I have tied as a flashback nymphs with copper wire ribs (a touch to heavy of wire, should have gone to small wire) and a peacock thorax. The flashback is mylar or strands of flashabou or Krystal Flash and the pheasant tail fibers are swept back to suggest legs. Sometimes in small sizes these legs can be omited and the fly tied in the traditional style (sans legs).

 A beadhead can be included for flies that are destined to tumble down moving waters. I would forgo the bead head on any fly that you intend to present in a steady, parallel direction, say in stillwates. The abdomen can be tied traditionally with pheasant tail feather fibers or for added density use copper wire, which is really nothing more than a Copper John. I have never altered from the natural color but recently I saw a PTN at the East Lake Resort store, which was tied with red pheasant tail fibers. It was nice looking pattern (see photo). the PTN is a very good and simple to tie pattern to match mayfly nymphal stages. These shown flies are on size 14 and 16 hooks. So although I am tired of some flies that does not mean they aren’t true(ly) (had to make sure you got the header) dependable patterns. Tumbled down a stream, tied on as a dropper or fished in the surface (without the bead) this fly is a proven fly and you always see it noted and recommended for the obvious reason.  

In the top pic you see Chironomid Pupa’s with peacock or peacock Ice Dub thorax and wine colored Krystal Flash body and silver ribbing. I tied them in two sizes (12/16’s). I tied green wired ‘Copper John’s’ behind those you see Cracklebacks, a Renegade and Olive Parachute. My boxes start out neat but I have remarked before upon how they end up: Double click on photos to zoom in for a detailed view.  I like the shot above, which I took outside in direct sunlight. Tim B. of planettrout gave me advice several months ago that his son takes certain shots outside. Turned out nice, I think. (Read!)


Gray Drake & Callibaetis Duns (photo source) Good photo’s and discussion forumn on flyfisher’s insects. Information is informative and legit entomologist visit the site to comment and identify insects in photo’s. Above photo is mine from East Lake (Callibaetis) Bottom photo is Gray Drake from FFCalgary site. see also:

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