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Fly design

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2006/10/25 12:30
From York
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I have been reading several books lately that have to sections related to how trout see, both above and below the surface. I have come to several conclusions about fly designs and wanted to garner others thoughts on the subject. Most of my questions have to do with dry/surface flies since trout (and all fish for that matter) can see underwater with little obstruction.

Wings: Do you include wings on mayflies? Are they divided or single/post? Do you abandoned the wing when the fly is say below a size 16 or smaller? My belief is that wing is so distorted and faded back that the trout can not distinguish it from the background, especially with a dark background and/or low light conditions.

Body color: On a traditional "Catskill" dry, does body color matter since the fly rides above the water? And, as long as the fly does not break the surface all the fish should see is a mirrored dimple.

What are your thoughts?

Steve

Posted on: 2007/3/5 12:00


Re: Fly design

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Let's face it, we will never no what or how a trout sees. In our eyes we have rods(detect light) and cone (color). We have red/green cones and minimal blue cones. A trout has rods, red/green cones, yellow orange cones, blue cones, can see ultraviolet light, and polarised light. Even with mans' infinite wisdom, we can't begin to imagine how they see.
However, I can comprehend this. When a majority of trout feed they are looking up. when looknig up it is against a backlit area. So it is light you squniting or looknig into a backlit area. when you do this most things are some shade of grey. However, the polarised thing may screw that idea all up.

As an aside, brown trout have red spots and inturn are sensitive to red colors, brookies have blue spots with orange/red halos and are sensitive to blue and red, and rainbows have an irredesent pink/red stripe, adn are fond of pink things such as egg patterns. Go figure.
Also the yellow cones would explain why trout like green weenies; they probably see somoething that we all just don't.

Posted on: 2007/3/5 12:11
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Re: Fly design
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IMHO color may not make a big difference, but hue does. For instance, an Adams does well during a BWO hatch. The Adams is the wrong color, but a good match for hue. Another good fly I like is an olive ant. I've never seen an olive ant, so go figure.

As far as wings go... I wouldn't want to skip them on a trico, but I have on other flies. My thinking is, that the wings on the trico are more prominent than on other insects. Mayfly wings are actually more swept back than a traditional catskill or a comparadun wing. I have a couple patterns with a downwing that do rather well, and they are easier to tye. This is a pattern for a mayfly dun with a down wing (as an example) http://www.troutflies.com/Merchant2/m ... 68&Category_Code=Gen_mays

Posted on: 2007/3/5 18:21
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Padraic
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Re: Fly design
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Quote:

Padraic wrote:
IMHO color may not make a big difference, but hue does. For instance, an Adams does well during a BWO hatch. The Adams is the wrong color, but a good match for hue. Another good fly I like is an olive ant. I've never seen an olive ant, so go figure.


Pad, you've made this reference to a BWO a couple times in the past few days regarding Adams flies working during a BWO hatch. I believe it is because on the underside of an Olive, the color is more grey/green than olive. Plus the light grey on an adams body darkens a little once wet.

This is why I tie my BWOs with grey dubbing with just a hint of olive. So maybe I am really tying an adams? A topic for another day.

Maurice

Posted on: 2007/3/5 19:04
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Re: Fly design

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2006/9/21 0:02
From Pittsburgh
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I include divided wings on all my mayflies - it just looks better when I'm fishing, and even if the fish could care less, I have confidence that the fly is going to work - and that can be important.
As for body color, I think it's important on the larger mayflies, where the body is probably the most prominent part of the fly as seen from below
There are pictures of mayflies taken from underneath, -which is of course how the fish see them,- in many fly fishing books.
But of course, who really knows what the fish see?

Posted on: 2007/3/5 22:43


Re: Fly design
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Quote:

dryflyguy wrote:
I include divided wings on all my mayflies - it just looks better when I'm fishing, and even if the fish could care less, I have confidence that the fly is going to work - and that can be important.
As for body color, I think it's important on the larger mayflies, where the body is probably the most prominent part of the fly as seen from below
There are pictures of mayflies taken from underneath, -which is of course how the fish see them,- in many fly fishing books.
But of course, who really knows what the fish see?


I think wings on a catskill fly are very important, especially on the larger drakes. I'm not sure they have to be divided. Hair wings and other materials have worked well in many patterns also.

Posted on: 2007/3/6 8:35
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Padraic
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Re: Fly design

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Stevie-B,
Good discussion above. As for me, I wing my dries down to a size 16. Sometimes 18 if I'm feeling really patient.
Coughlin

Posted on: 2007/3/6 9:05


Re: Fly design
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Pad Wrote: “As far as wings go... I wouldn't want to skip them on a trico, but I have on other flies. My thinking is, that the wings on the trico are more prominent than on other insects. Mayfly wings are actually more swept back than a traditional catskill or a comparadun wing.”


I agree with Pad & Coughlin as well as others who believe that smaller flies do not need wings. The hackle on a Catskill style fly is more than and adequate representation of a wing. The wings actually get lost in the hackle on small flies. I have eliminated them from most of my smaller catskill tied flies. The point is moot with parachute and compara style flies since the wing an integral part of the fly.

Attached is a killer trico pattern from LL fly shop. I has no wings, is tied reverse, and has no tail, (although I believe the tippet may suggest a tail) It works better than other trico patterns I’ve used.

I too have been experimenting with the swept-back wing style for mayflies. Attached is a CDC & Elk pattern from Hans Weilenmann (dancia.com). It works great for Mayflies as well as caddis. It is a great searching pattern. For this season I have started to tie some to match mayfly hatches

As far as color, I go by the conventional wisdom of size, shape, and color in that order, for matching a hatch. I have found it to be important at times but, as Pad said, if the hue is right, you usually can get away with not matching the color 100%. With that being said, I remember fishing a stream during a sulpher hatch without any success until I picked up a specimen floating by, and noticed a fairly prominent orange tint to the fly. I carry pantone pens with me for that reason. I immediately began catching fish with the same fly after touching it up with an orange pen. The trigger was the orange body color.

If the fish are as dumb as some claim....where does that leave us on the IQ scale....reading and writing and plotting just to outsmart a creature with a brain the size of a pea!

Attach file:



gif  Als-Trico.gif (0.00 KB)


jpg  tn_cdcelk.jpg (0.00 KB)


Posted on: 2007/3/6 11:03


Re: Fly design

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afishinado - that is an interesting tirco pattern! Would the pattern be improved by removing the hackle and replacing it with antron/poly/etc. tied spent to more accuractely imitate the spinner to the left?

On the larger drakes, the wings may be visible enough for the fish to pick out and be one of the items they focus on to decide if it's a bug or a forgery. The trout tend to do this during hatches that are imitated by a large number of anglers or of long durations.

I have also read or heard that most of the time our drys are actually riding more in the film like an emerger as opposed to above the water. In this instance I believe that body color will play an important role, especially on the more heavily fished streams and hatches.

Posted on: 2007/3/6 12:17


Re: Fly design
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Quote:

Stevie-B wrote:
....visible enough for the fish to pick out and be one of the items they focus on to decide if it's a bug or a forgery.


If trout were 1/100th as smart as people give them credit for, we couldn't catch a darn one on an artificial. The concept of a trout regarding an artificial as a "forgery" is outlandish! At best, they might regard it as "sharp food which pulls me by the lip through the water."

Posted on: 2007/3/6 12:35
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Re: Fly design
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Afishianado,

Well, I wouldn't want to tie upright wings on a spinner!

Nice pattern. It's really uncanny.

If you check out the picture of the dun on Westfly.com, you'll see how the wings of the trico dun are as big or even bigger than the fly (although you probably already know...). That's what I was thinking of, when I pointed out that the wings can be important on some small patterns. Kinda how the exception is proved by the rule.

Meanwhile if you look at the wings of a midge on Westfly.com, you'll see how the wings of the midge are fairly small. That's why I dump the wings and just go with hackle on anything smaller than a 16 (as a rule). My favorite midge patterns are (as a friend once described midge patterns) "fuzz on a hook".

Posted on: 2007/3/6 19:46
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Padraic
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Re: Fly design
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Quote:
Maurice wrote:
Pad, you've made this reference to a BWO a couple times in the past few days regarding Adams flies working during a BWO hatch. I believe it is because on the underside of an Olive, the color is more grey/green than olive. Plus the light grey on an adams body darkens a little once wet.


Well, I think this is a good example of how two people can see the same thing and draw two different conclusions.

Any theories on why I do better with a lime trude during the little yellow sallie hatch and the late sulphur hatch than the true imitations?

Quote:
This is why I tie my BWOs with grey dubbing with just a hint of olive. So maybe I am really tying an adams? A topic for another day.


No it means you can't get anything right.

Posted on: 2007/3/6 19:54
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Padraic
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