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The frustration climbs

Joined:
2011/6/9 7:57
From Martinsburg/State College, PA
Posts: 90
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Hello everyone. I'm new to the forum here but have been reading on it for awhile. Anyways I have a question that is going to be phrased in more of a statement format.

I picked up fly fishing last year around late June. I began learning from articles online, YouTube videos, and forums like this one. I did some practice casting using what I learned from the online sources and then went to the local lake to practice casting and possibly setting the fly. I was able to catch some bluegill, crappie, and a few bass (small and stupid ones) but those all seem to be fish that you can catch with a piece of grass on a hook.

I have caught some trout on my flyrod as well. Unfortunately it is so few a number that I can count it out. Eleven trout on the fly rod and zero this year. This is even more depressing when I say it out loud...

I have tried using dry flies, nymphs, and wooly buggers. I have 3 trout on nymphs, and 2 on a wooly bugger. Again I think these were a fluke. I rarely even get a trout to rise with my dries anymore. I believe that could have something to do with the water levels this year, but it is also obviously me. Is there possibly something wrong with my presentation?

When fishing nymphs I have a difficult time placing the strike indicator in a place that seems logical. Everything I read says 1.5 to 2 times the depth of the water, but what if the water is 3-4 feet deep? Should I extend my leader and use that rule?

Also as a side question, how do you tell if you get a strike under water and have no strike indicator? I still go back to that lake and there are times when top water is obviously not going to work but a strike indicator is a pain to cast any amount of distance so I attempt to throw on some wet fly and have at it that way. I don't know if I get hits or not though so I rarely catch fish.

I look forward to hearing some of the responses. Maybe I will finally get that "click" I've so often heard about when it comes to fly fishing.

Posted on: 2011/6/9 8:27


Re: The frustration climbs

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2008/1/31 17:19
From Pretty much everywhere at some point, Thorndale today.
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Would help if we knew where you were fishing, or at least what kind of water? Wild or stocked? Big or small stream?

Yeah, for deep water nymphing, 1.5-2x the depth. If it's 3-4 ft deep, then yes, the nymph should be 5-7 ft below the indicator to start, it's ok to have the indicator way up your leader. The real rule is that you need to be hitting bottom, if you're not, you're not deep enough.

That said, there are situations where fish are taking nymphs higher in the water column, or even on the surface. These are typically hatch situations but if this is the case, obviously you don't want to be that deep.

Without an indicator, you can look at it 2 ways. 1. the end of your fly line, or as far out as you can see of the leader, is your indicator. i.e. you still have an indicator its just not bobber style. 2. You can fish a tight line like a bait fishermen would, and feel bites.

But yeah, with or without an indicator, we all miss some takes.

Would also say, that if you are fishing stocked rainbows, try an egg pattern like sucker spawn or a glo-bug. Often this is a good confidence builder.

Posted on: 2011/6/9 8:49


Re: The frustration climbs

Joined:
2011/6/9 7:57
From Martinsburg/State College, PA
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I usually fish Yellow Creek right outside of New Enterprise. I get off work and head over there for some evening fishing. The lake I fish at is Canoe Creek Lake in Altoona.

I have tied some egg patterns so I will give them a try the next time I get out. Are they fished just like a nymph?

Posted on: 2011/6/9 9:10


Re: The frustration climbs

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2009/9/9 14:52
From Bel Air, MD
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I consider myself still somewhat of a novice...I have only been fly fishing for 3 years. It can be very frustrating at times, but you are asking the right questions in the right place. This forum is full of well-experienced fly fisherman who, most importantly, are always willing to share advice, so keep asking.

My thoughts and advice are as follows:

Nymphing - I try to follow the depth rule, but as pcray says, that's not always where the fish are feeding. Usually yes, but not always. Experience will guide you, and you will know when you are bounding off the bottom. If you don't get hung up on the bottom once in a while, you are not close enough. There is a balance between indicator placement, flow rate of the water, and weight of the fly and any split shot you might need to add. You will need to experiment and try different things, and try changing one thing at a time. For example, if you don't think you are down deep enough, move the indicator higher and go through a rotation of about a dozen drifts. If you don't see a strike, add some shot about 8 inches above the fly. If that doesn't do it, add a little more weight...and so on. You will have to put in some time, but the work will pay off.

Dries - My first summer of fly fishing, I didn't even try for trout. I just hit my local warm water stream at least once a week to work on my casting and presentation. The nice thing about sunfish, fallfish and little smallmouth is that they are not as spooky as trout. You can cast to a rising sunfish, and if you make a bad cast and crash the water with the fly or your leader, or you line, they will still take your fly a moment or two later. I believe this approach helped me hone my skills. And fallfish frequently rise in the same kind of water trout do, so I would cast dries to them which helped me learn casting techniques and how to place a fly in the target area. Another suggestion, when the water is low and clear, is longer leaders (12-15 feet) with finer tippet (6x or 7x). I would rather nymph and catch more fish that cast really long, fine leaders to easily spooked rising fish, but that's just me.

As far as detecting strikes, when nymphing I always use an indicator. Last year I started fishing more soft hackles, and you'll get a lot of strikes on the swing, and in that case the fish often hooks itself.

Hang in there, and keep it up. And don't expect instant results. You will have to put in the time. You might have been spoiled a bit by your immediate success last year.

Posted on: 2011/6/9 9:37


Re: The frustration climbs

Joined:
2011/6/9 7:57
From Martinsburg/State College, PA
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I wouldn't have called that success immediate lol. I was skunked at least 7 times before I caught anything. I have been spending a lot more time at the lake this year because of water levels but I would like to catch something that isn't a bluegill or a crappie is all.

I will try lengthening my leader and adjusting the indicator according to see if that gives me any more luck nymphing, as well as using some extra weight. Does drag have an extreme amount of affect on nymphs like it does with dries? Also, is there a trick to casting more than 15 feet with a nymph-indicator rig?

Posted on: 2011/6/9 9:49


Re: The frustration climbs

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From Westmoreland County (near fairgrounds)
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Does drag have an extreme amount of affect on nymphs like it does with dries?

Yes. I try to throw my nymphing rig so the nymphs and weight are directly upstream of my strike indicator, then I'll try to mend my line without disturbing the indicator so that I get a drag-free drift.

Also, is there a trick to casting more than 15 feet with a nymph-indicator rig?

Try a cast called a "water haul". Let your line and flies hang in the current directly below you with your rod tip lifted. The drag of the current should be enough to load your rod for the cast upstream in a single casting motion without any false casting.

Try a large golden stonefly nymph on Yellow Creek when the water is a little discolored. Large like size 6 or 8.

Posted on: 2011/6/9 10:19
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Re: The frustration climbs

Joined:
2011/6/9 7:57
From Martinsburg/State College, PA
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I was using that water haul instinctually where possible. Just seemed to make sense for less tangles. What about using a strike indicator on still water? Are there any other options than false casting there or is that about it?

Also, thanks for the tip about the golden stonefly nymph. The water still seems a little murky at the moment so I will have to give that one a shot.

Posted on: 2011/6/9 11:25


Re: The frustration climbs

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2007/4/5 16:03
From Altoona/Smoke Run
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Where you from? If you wanna fish around canoe lake/canoe creek sometime and catch some trout send me a pm and we can figure something out. There's a lot better trout water close to the lake without having to fish the lake. Water levels are actually very good right now.

Posted on: 2011/6/9 13:47
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Re: The frustration climbs

Joined:
2011/6/9 7:57
From Martinsburg/State College, PA
Posts: 90
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I'm from Martinsburg. The lake is good fun if I want to take out the girlfriend but it gets old after awhile. I will definitely give you a shout and see if we can work something out. I've never had anyone to fish with before that wasn't my girlfriend lol.

Posted on: 2011/6/9 13:59


Re: The frustration climbs

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2009/9/9 14:52
From Bel Air, MD
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Regarding casting with an indicator, you should avoid false casting whenever possible, as it greatly increases the chance of a tangle. One thing I learned from another member here is to work smaller areas. If your local stream has good deep rifles or pocket water, you don't really need to cast far, maybe 15 or 20 feet. Keep as much line off the water as possible. Throw in a mend or two, then just flip the rig back for another drift. When you think you have worked an area sufficiently without a strike, take a step forward and work another area. If you are working an area that looks like it will hold trout, you will find them.

Posted on: 2011/6/9 22:07


Re: The frustration climbs

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2011/5/6 17:55
From Harrisburg
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Question about the mending: I understand that mending helps keep the drift natural (and I'm assuming that still has its merits if you are nymphing), but at the same time you hear time and time again how one should keep the line 'tight' in case of a need to set the hook.

How is it possible to juggle these two necessities? As it is, I generally prefer to keep the mended drift, and rely on the fish hooking itself

Posted on: 2011/6/10 0:19


Re: The frustration climbs
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All great advice above. The 1.5 - 2x the water depth rule for deep nymphing works. To do this right, I recommend you extend the tippet for a better drag-free drift and strike detection.

To fish without a floating indy, you can tie brightly colored line or use strike putty on your line to use as a "sighter." As mentioned above, without an indy, keep your line tight for strike detection. I would recommend you start with indy (thingamabobbers cast well, float well and are very visible). Make sure you mend you line to keep it from dragging your flies unnaturally.

Here are two illustrations I made up a while back to show how to and how not to set up your indy rig. HTH.

Attach file:



jpg  Nymphing Indy NG 2.jpg (26.00 KB)
53_4df1f6cf277ae.jpg 720X540 px

jpg  Nymphing Indy 2.jpg (24.76 KB)
53_4df1f6e49ad01.jpg 720X540 px

Posted on: 2011/6/10 6:50


Re: The frustration climbs

Joined:
2011/6/9 7:57
From Martinsburg/State College, PA
Posts: 90
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Thanks for those pictures. I was going to ask about placement of the indicator in terms of the leader but that took care of that one. Grosaurus' question is also one that I would like an explanation to. If the point of mending the line is to create slack won't that hurt in setting the hook?

Posted on: 2011/6/10 8:36


Re: The frustration climbs

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2008/1/31 17:19
From Pretty much everywhere at some point, Thorndale today.
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The point of mending line is not to create slack. The point is to prevent the current from creating a U in the line. I suppose, technically, it does require a little slack, but it can be done with a very small amount of slack.

For me, it is very typical to nymph across current, meaning the fastest current is between you and the fly. I mean sure, I try to take it at an angle to avoid that as best as possible, but across currents is just a reality.

In that situation, the fly line near the surface is in the faster water, and its thicker than the leader, hence the current wants to grab it and create a U, and thus drag the leader and fly with it. Thats bad. Mending is simply the act of throwing that line back upstream.

Think of it this way. We try to fish a tight line when nymphing, but there's always some slack. Having that slack caught in the current is real bad, because its adding drag, and you can't even pick it up without adding more drag. With a mend, you decouple it from the current, and suddenly its not as bad as its not adding drag. Further, you can now pick it up to fish a tigher line without adding drag too.

As a general rule, whether indi fishin, or tight line nymphing, the slower my "swing" is moving downstream, the better. Mending to get the line above the fly almost always helps slow it down.

Posted on: 2011/6/10 8:55


Re: The frustration climbs

Joined:
2011/6/9 7:57
From Martinsburg/State College, PA
Posts: 90
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That makes a lot of sense. I have noticed if you try to mend too late the extra drag it creates on the indicator during the process. I'm going to have to head out after work today and give this stuff a shot. The frustration is replaced by excitement and the giddiness of a highschool girl again. Thanks for all your help everyone. It is truly appreciated.

Posted on: 2011/6/10 10:07



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