Our stomach samples also revealed that caddis larvae appeared much more frequently than we would have imagined. We knew our local trout ate caddis larvae, but we had no inkling that it would present itself as the major food for the entire winter and a great deal of the spring. Once we began fishing imitations of the Hydropsyche and Rhyacophila both commonly referred to as Green Rock Worms in the winter, our catch rates went through the roof.
Our winter sessions turned into some lights-out fishing, rather than a desperate move to get out of the house. After a few years of us using these techniques and recording our findings, we discovered one last revelation. Our local trout do not eat that many mayflies!
Sure, trout will opportunistically eat a mayfly nymph that is well presented. There are also some events in the year that get the trout feeding on mayflies like the Sulphur, Slate Drake, and Blue Wing Olives. However, the fact is that our NJ Trout are mostly eating scuds, caddis, stoneflies, and midges. Looking at our sample results, caddis and midges are the predominate species in almost all of our local trout water. Chalk it up to out of sight, out of mind. I would implore any fly angler that reads this to change your habits slightly.
Spend a few minutes observing the water and insects before and during any lull in your fishing trips. Always take the time. River fishing for Salmon and Steelhead Location: The interest in swinging flies is huge. Steelhead gently sip up your nymph or egg offerings, but when a steelhead has a baitfish in its sights, it violently strikes to kill. I do best swinging natural looking baitfish imitations to our steelhead.
All it takes is a few good strikes to make the day. Over the years there have been a few rows in my fly box that empty out first, the ones that bail me out on those tough days. Those patterns possess some magical power to get locked-jaw fish to suddenly take. What makes these flies tick? We spend hours on end tying them but. I have no idea who came up with the idea of a fly testing tank.
They might have been around for years, but I first saw one last spring at a show in Chautauqua NY www. As soon as I saw it I knew I had to have one. I built mine out of a five-gallon fish tank with a powerful adjustable flow pump that works very well. I have become obsessed with my new fly testing tank. I found out those magical streamer patterns in my box all had one thing in common: They performed well in the testing tank.
On the other hand, some of the most beautiful patterns in my fly boxes are history now. You know the flies I am talking about. Yet you still keep them there because maybe someday They wouldn't track true and their action was poor. Once I really started to understand how a fly works in the current, I could spot a design flaw in almost every nonperformer.
That was enough for me to rip them out of my fly box for good. For reservations call In my experiments, they do behave the same in the feeder stream behind my house as they do in the tank. When I tethered them in the current, I get the same results as I do in my testing tank. To help me fill all the new empty spots in my fly boxes, I have been working with Guide Mark DeFrank.
He shares my obsession with fly design and beer drinking. In our ongoing quest to develop the ultimate fly for swinging to Great Lakes steelhead, we settled on the tube fly design. We chose tubes for several reasons, but the leverage and holding power of the shortened hook is the biggest plus. We realized that wing construction and balance are critical on flies that will be fished on the swing. Regular streamer hooks have an up or down turned eye that keep the flies riding upright in the current.
With a tube fly, the lightweight hook plays little into keeping the fly upright, so the other components must balance the fly. Many tube flies are tied with patterns that spinning will not affect. I prefer patterns that more closely resemble our baitfish with white colored belly sections and darker backs, and these flies would be less effective if they spun upside down. Minnows or baitfish have a rocking or wiggling motion when they swim, especially when being chased by a big-toothy predator.
This is undoubtedly why lure designers discovered years ago how effective it is to add a bill to the front of a minnow style lure. Look at the proven track record of the wobbling Rapalla lure. Almost every species of fish that swims has fallen victim to one.
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To catch fish, a Rapalla must track true and remain upright and horizontal in the. Last spring we played around quite a bit with tube flies on our guided trips.
Most of the patterns we tried were tied on bottle tubes. Most of our experiences with them were poor. When swinging flies I prefer my weighted sink tip to get me down near the bottom. I want my tip to pull the fly down, not the other way around.
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Lightweight flies get way more action, so we gave up on bottle tubes and most of the metal tubing. After spending hundreds of dollars on expensive components we discovered the tube flies that performed best in our streams were tied on inexpensive small lightweight plastic tubing. We found the patterns that perform best are slightly weighted at the front and very light at the tail. Too big of a hook just kills the action. Unfortunately, many of the radical cone.
Bob Williams Call www. The fly slowly spins and occasionally darts to the side, and the action it gets is best described as erratic. We felt that we needed a differently designed cone head than those currently available. We also wanted it to deflect current much like the bill on the Rapalla style lure.
I tried bead chain and dumbbell eyes on tubes with good success. They did a good job of keeping the tube upright and they do deflect the current, giving the fly a rocking motion.
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Next we started altering our existing cone heads. This was a major breakthrough. When they are used in a fixed position on the tube with the ground flat side up, they work as a counterbalance and keep the fly upright.
The tier also has the option of tying in a wing or material in front of the head to help balance the fly further. This gives the fly a very nice rocking motion. With the topside of the Eumer cone removed, they seem to track better than using a whole cone. We liked the results but thought a heavier cone was in order. I repeated the procedure over and over: Ice out is weeks away.
There are several manufacturers making cones that fit tubes. Most brass cones can be altered easily with a dremel tool. Just be careful, it is tough holding small parts while grinding them. Once ground, your altered cone will need to be held in a fixed posi-. Tie it in tight and use super glue or Zap a Gap to hold it in place. A top wing balances the fly and secures the cone in place. Throw a twenty-year-old fly fishing guide on a river that receives a hundred thousand anglers a year, over a hundred additional drift boat captains Over time, the well-intentioned heart of a new guide hardens, and a dominant streak of competitiveness will inevitably flow through their veins—trust me—I know.
Young and green, with misplaced priorities, I found myself striving to be the best guide out there by out-fishing the other more seasoned guides on the river. A skunk was okay, if, and only if, they too were skunked. I set my standard to their level, charged what they charged, and fished the way they fished. As time went on, however, and with the introduction to other fisheries and regions, I felt compelled to raise the bar and hold myself to higher standards.
On those evenings of uncertainty and each season there are always a few , half dreaming, half awake, all options would replay until the alarm sounded. Eventually, usually over a cup of coffee, a decision was made with the refusal of questioning it any further. With only two days left in the spring steelhead season, my calendar reflected a perfect record—thus far—that is, until there was a knock on my door at four-thirty that morning.
Comprised of multiple nicknames, Sisco, T-Wild, Skidz, Goof, and of course, the Creature aka, Creatch , the group of nine young anglers from New York had met me in Steelhead Alley for two days of fly-fishing. The following night, after an amazing day of fishing and a most unusual holiday dinner with the remaining eight anglers, I sat on my couch with my calendar and etched in the final numbers of the season, Easter Sunday.
Sitting back and reviewing the entire season, I contemplated earnestly why my eyes were continually drawn to one particular day, the only day with a goose egg. Out of an entire steelhead season that consisted of great clients and friendships, amazing moments, rewarding late afternoon comebacks and dozens of trophy steelhead, I was immensely bothered by the one skunk. It was at this time I realized something was very wrong. The fishing industry has pockets of guides, shop owners, and political figures who compete for control, fish, clients, land and monies. There are guides who compete.
The list goes on and seeps into our quette.
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It should be a place where attitudes run parallel fisheries, therefore, often creating an arena of competi- with the peaceful terrain and voices harmonize with the tiveness that can often clash with the beauty of the sport. These our country on the national fly fishing team, excessive are important messages we should all convey to our competitiveness does not belong in fishing, as it often children alongside teaching them the art of fishing—the leads to bad etiquette, bad attitudes, bad internet posts, knowledge, care and wisdom to supersede.
I express these things that you may learn from my bad vibes, bad business and bad fishing. When we can remove ourselves from this toxic asylum, realization, and that you, perhaps, will be as inspired as we are able to visualize the sport from afar, and, hopefully, I am in being reconnected to a perspective of days gone rejuvenate our perspective by reverting back to a time when by, in toning down the competitiveness that you bring to the river. After talking to a few other fishing guides and gaining without ever being conscious of it.