APR
13
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Early Season Streamer Tactics

b2ap3_thumbnail_blog_0001_Brown-trout-streamer-0676.jpg  Last Thursday we were at the Philadelphia Angler's Club where Barry gave a presentation on Streamer Tactics for Big Fish. Our trout season opened here in northeastern Pennsylvania on Saturday and after several weeks of below average water levels, we got much needed rain and for the opener the stream was a tad high and off color. Perfect water for fishing streamers.

  With Barry's talk fresh in my mind, I thought it would be a good time to talk a little about fishing streamers. Streamers represent things that swim through the water that a trout would like to eat - skulpins, minnows, crayfish, leeches and so on. Things that make a meal. Streamers can be fished unweighted or weighted using lead eyes, cone heads, lead can be wrapped on the hook before tying the fly, split shot can be added to the leader, etc. Unless the water is very shallow, we prefer a streamer with weighted eyes most of the time so we can get an effective jig-like motion when retrieving.

  Most of the time we think the secret in in the retrieve and the depth at which the fly is being fished. If the water is cold and deep the fly has to be deep. If the fish are dormant on the bottom, a slower retrieve may be needed because the fish are not going to move far or move quickly. The fly has to be

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14672 Hits
JAN
28
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Different Fly Types

I've been asked by a couple of new fly fishermen to talk about dry flies, wet flies, and streamers. What makes it a certain type of fly, dry, wet, etc., how to tell what it is and when to use it.

Let me start by saying there have been volumes written about this very subject and what you read here will be a very basic abbreviated version. People have spent entire lifetimes on this subject and it's an area that as a fly fisherman, you'll never stop learning about.

Aquatic insects spend most of their life underwater. The fly fisherman will use imitations of these insects to fool the fish. some of these flies float and some sink depending on the stage of life the fly is imitating and the fish are feeding on at the time.



Mayflies have three stages; egg, nymph, adult  (dun) and spinner. Mayfly eggs lay in the bottom of the stream. Over the course of a few weeks the eggs hatch into nymphs. The nymphs live under rocks or in the silt on the bottom of the stream for nearly a year. At the right time, often in the spring, the nymphs emerge, shedding their shucks and change into adults (or duns).



The duns leave the water and fly into the leaves alongside the stream where they molt and return in usually a day or two as spinners. The female spinners lay eggs on the water and then fall to the water and die.  All mayfly duns have upright wings when riding on the water.



Spinners have airplane-type wings that lie flat on the water when dead or dying. Nymphs, emergers (the emerging nymph), duns, and spinners are all food for the trout. There are more than 700 different mayflies in North America in various sizes and colors. Fishermen and fish eagerly await their arrival each year.



Caddisflies are aquatic insects found in nearly all trout streams. They have four stages to their life cycle; egg, larva, pupa and adult. Female caddis lay eggs in clusters which hatch into larvae in two to four weeks. The larvae live underwater for nearly a year, part of this time in a case or shuck that they've made out of grit, sand, and bits of dead leaves. The larvae will enter a cocoon and become a pupa. After a couple weeks the pupa emerges just below the surface as adults.

These adults fly to the bushes and mate. The females return to the water to lay their eggs. Adults may live for awhile, but will eventually die after mating. Caddisflies look like small moths. They have antenna but no tail and are found in various shades of gray, tan, brown, olive, and black. Fish feed on all stages and flies are tied to imitate these stages.

Stoneflies prefer rocky fast moving, clear streams. Nymphs have two tails and two sets of wing pads. Stoneflies cling and crawl about on the stream bottom and feed on leaves, slime, and sometimes other insects. When it's time to emerge stoneflies crawl out onto dry land. After hatching they fly to bushes where they live from a few days to a few weeks. They mate here and the female returns to the water to deposit the eggs. Some stoneflies grow to 3 and 4 inches in length. Mayflies, stoneflies and caddisflies do not bit. We can handle them without worry to get a closer look.



Midges include the tiniest of insects and some that bit including mosquitoes and gnats. Midges have 3 stages; larva, pupa, and adult. Active year-round, they are sometimes the only insects available to the fish. Midges migrate and at times are in the surface film by the thousands. Not all midges are tiny buy most are. Midges are sometimes called the anglers curse because of their small size.

Terrestrials are a fun category of insects to imitate because it includes crickets, ants, grasshoppers, beetles, and all the land born insects. Terrestrials are fun to look at in your box, fun to fish with as they are often easy to see and fun to tie if you make our own flies. Many of these insects are around from the time the ground thaws to when it freezes again in the fall and often the fish are not as selective when fish terrestrials.

Flies On and In the Water

This illustration shows how various flies behave on or in the water. Dry flies float or rest on the surface. Examples would be adult aquatic insects (mayflies, caddisflies, etc.), terrestrials like grasshoppers and beetles and attractor flies like a Royal Wulff or an Adams. To keep the fly floating, use fly floatant.



Emergers rest just under the surface. Often when a fish takes an emerger it looks like he took a dry fly because he breaks the surface with his dorsal fin. If there is no tell tale bubble, he probably took an emerger. Emergers are often fished behind a dry fly as a dropper or trailer. The dry fly acts like a strike indicator and lets us know when the fish has eaten the emerger.

Nymphs, larva and pupa drift through the water with the current speed to imitate insects doing the same. Sometimes we 'twitch' the nymph to make it look alive. The fish will often take the fly as it swings around below us at the end of the drift. Some anglers like to trail these flies behind a dry fly with a section of monofilament or use a strike indicator. To make the fly sink, use split shot.

Streamers are fished underwater, sometimes deep, and retrieved or made to swim through the water. They imitate minnows, leeches, and crayfish and other things that the fish will eat. The fish will chase after the streamer – not wanting it to get away. Because the line is kept tight by retrieving, when the fish hits it will feel like a bump or smack often surprising the angler. To make the fly sink, use split shot. Sometimes they are tied so that the hook rides upside down and doesn't get snagged on the bottom of the stream.

For more examples of flies that imitate insects, take a look at the Umpqua Feather Merchants web site. That's where the examples above came from and it is incredible the number of fly patterns that are available to imitate the different insects, crustaceans, and smaller fish that big fish feed on! www.umpqua.com
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15755 Hits
MAY
19
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Tying Cathy Beck's Super Bugger





Sizes: 6 & 8
Colors: Tan, Black, Olive
Hook: Tiemco 3761
Thread: Tan, Black, Olive
Tail: Tan, Black or Olive Blood Feather overlay 6 strands Krystal Flash in corresponding color.
Rib: Hareline dyed grizzly hen body feathers, available from AA Outfitters,
800-443-8119 or Tan, black or olive.
Legs: Two rubber sili-legs. Root beer, black or olive.
Eyes: Lead eyes painted yellow and black. XS on size 8, small on size 6.
Head: Spiked dubbing figure-eighted around the eyes. Or, dubbing brushes if available.

The idea for Cathy’s Super Bugger was to design a fly that would create more underwater vibration or noise which would help fish locate and find the fly. The combination of a thick web hackle body and sili-legs pushes the water as the fly is retrieved, creating noise and vibration. Having the eyes tied ontop of the hook inverts the fly as it is being retrieved, gives it a more leech-like action in the water, and keeps it from fouling on the bottom.
Super Bugger Tying Steps:

1.Secure the painted eyes at the thorax positon of the hook by figure eighting with your tying thread. This is approximately a quarter of the hook shank back from the eye. Coat the thread windings with super glue and let dry.
2.Take the tying thread back to the rear of the hook shank.
3.Tie in the 6 strands of Krystal Flash. It should be the length of the hook shank.
4.Tie in the marabou tail, same length.
5.Tie in the first of the grizzly hen body feathers. Wind the hackle forward toward the hook eye, but keep it tight. The idea here is to build bulk with hackle. Once you've finished, tie in the next hackle in the same manner. It may take four hackles to complete the hackle body.
6.Tie in the two silli legs by figure eighting them with thread around the hook eye. They should be sticking out from the sides and the length of the leg should be the same on each side.
7.Figure eight the eye with a spiked dubbing to create a head.
8.Whip finish and the fly is done.

Tips:

Marabou shorts (or blood feathers) work best and in the end are more efficient than buying a plume.

Coat your painted lead eyes with Sally Hansen's Hard As Nails. They will hold up better. (In the cosmetic section of your pharmacy).

Remember to open up your casting loop with any lead-eye flies. This used to be called chuck and duck fishing. Also, with a tight loop the fly could potentially hit the rod blank and break it. If you're a Sage customer, this means your Z-Axis is going to be better than your TCX.

Vary your retrieve speeds and remember to set the hook with your line hand and not the rod tip. If you miss the fish the fly will still be in the game and the fish may take again.

Black works best in off-color water. Tan is the perfect color for any stream or river that has a crayfish population.
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