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newbie question

Joined:
2010/4/11 20:34
From Pittsburgh
Posts: 191
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I just started fly fishing a month ago and have been out twice. First time I was skunked and I went today and caught a really nice 16 inch rainbow on a Wooly Bugger (Thank you to the two guys who tipped me off, I don't know your names). I was so damn excited. But being as new as I am, I have a ton of questions...

Is to nymph or dry fly a seasonal decision or is it day to day?

I was reading alot about nymphing when I came home tonight cause I caught the rainbow on the bottom when the wooly bugger sank and was curious if I should continue with this technique for a while or if it is a day to day thing.

Posted on: 2010/4/11 20:40


Re: newbie question

Joined:
2008/1/21 19:15
From Pittsburgh
Posts: 2679
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It can change minute to minute. If you want to fish dry flies, you can do so successfully much of the time. However, there are two things to look for that will tip you off when dries will be the most successful method...
1. Are trout rising?
2. Are there insects floating on the surface, but no trout are rising?

The majority of the time neither of these will be occurring. Conventional wisdom dictates to go subsurface. However:

If 1. is occurring, I will look at several things to determine what fly to use.
Can I see (or catch) one of the bugs? That makes the choice pretty clear cut that I should mimic whatever they are taking.
What kind of rises are the trout making? Splashy? Subtle? This information can tell me what stage of bug they are taking.
If there are duns (see the blog for the different phases of the fly) lazily floating down the stream but the rises are splashy, I will guess the fish are taking the emerging bugs or (likely) caddis.
If the fish seem more relaxed in their take, they are likely taking the duns and you can fish the traditional dry fly styles.
If the rises are very subtle, I would start to consider spinners, or possibly midges.

If 2. is occurring, I will again try to identify the bug and get prepared.
a. It could be the hatch is just getting started and the fish are still keying on a different phase of the bug...but, in short time, will be focused on the dries.
b. It could be the hatch is just ending and many fish are full or the # of bugs is no longer high enough to keep the fish interested. Here, try going into some slack water where the stillborns will end up...and look for some fish feeding on the easy pickins.
c. Lastly, could be that the fish just aren't interested in the dries because the water level is too high so they would have to move too far...or a plethora of other reasons known only to the fish.

Something else to consider is walking a bit. Just because fish aren't rising in front of you, doesn't mean that they aren't rising just around the upstream bend. Different bug inhabit different areas. Some in fast, rocky riffles and some in slow muddy pools...and every environment in between. The trout know to congregate where the insects are more active. You will eventually get to know, "this is blue wing olive water" or "you can usually find some rising to midges in this glide", etc.



Fishing dries to rising fish is the most rewarding aspect of fly fishing for me, but it more the exception than the rule. If you want to catch more fish on a regular basis, you would be wise to learn both nymphing and streamer fishing.
This is a simplified answer to a pretty complex question, but hopefully will get you started in the right direction...I'm sure there will be other great advice to follow!

Posted on: 2010/4/11 21:47


Re: newbie question

Joined:
2010/4/11 20:34
From Pittsburgh
Posts: 191
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Today was more of #2. I could see the bugs floating but couldn't see any fish rising.

Im anxious to learn as much as I can and I appreciate your help. Thanks for the help man.

Posted on: 2010/4/11 21:54
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Re: newbie question

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Did you ID the bugs? Or can you give a description? We might be able to a plan of attack based on what bug it was...

Posted on: 2010/4/11 21:57


Re: newbie question

Joined:
2010/4/11 20:34
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It was a thin cream colored bug. I have no eye for bugs though. I did see a couple black ones too. Hopefully that's something I can learn. I tried to match the color with the closest fly I had on me and floated it just like these. But it wasn't working for me. I caught that rainbow on a wooly bugger that fell to the bottom of a pool.

Posted on: 2010/4/11 22:03
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Re: newbie question

Joined:
2008/1/21 19:15
From Pittsburgh
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Congrats on that rainbow, by the way. That is a nice fish.

Were the wings the bugs sticking up in the air, or were they laying down flat over the insects back?
I am guessing the latter, in which case it would have been caddis. Trout will often times take these flies under the surface as they emerge. The grannom hatch can be one the most infuriating hatches because the air will be thick with bugs, but hardly any trout come to the surface for them. The bugs are good swimmers. Try a cream caddis imitation fished under the water...maybe with a little weight. Cast it out quartering upstream. Let it drift a little to sink, swing it straight below you, and swim it back up toward you a couple feet.
Don't know if you tie, but maybe something like this...
http://flyguysoutfitting.com/grannomelkhaircaddis.html

Posted on: 2010/4/11 22:12


Re: newbie question

Joined:
2010/4/11 20:34
From Pittsburgh
Posts: 191
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The wings were laying down on its back and it looked like it had some kind of small head on it pretty much the same color.

I do not tie yet. But I do plan on starting sometime in the future. Maybe over this winter I will sit down and learn. I'm enjoying the fishing for now. Im really starting to like it. I guess it helps that I caught something this time.

Posted on: 2010/4/11 22:18


Re: newbie question

Joined:
2007/4/8 20:43
From SEPA
Posts: 11270
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Quote:

Hammerhead81 wrote:
Is to nymph or dry fly a seasonal decision or is it day to day?


Neither, its a matter of taste and decorum.

Seriously, though, I think the question has been well answered already, but to be vaguely useful, allow me to give you my simple way to identify mayflies versus caddisflies:

Caddis flies flutter about over the water, their wingbeats remind me of moths although without the chaos of direction in flight.

Mayflies are a much more graceful looking flyer, with their translucent wings and long, bodies and tails they look more more... Well, graceful. I know I said that already, but I can only be so descriptive after a long day.

Once you've seen the two side-by-side in flight, it becomes very obvious.

At rest, the caddis wing fold back and over the body, making a little tent for them. Mayfly wings will either stand up, or out flat perpendicular from the body, but do not fold over the body.

Oh, and those other flies with the long, wings folded flat (not tented) over the body. Stoneflies.

Sure there's more, and I'm sure my theory can be picked apart, but its what I go by, at least.

Posted on: 2010/4/11 22:29


Re: newbie question
Moderator
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2006/9/11 8:26
From Chester County
Posts: 8868
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David and gfen covered the subject very well. Here is some info and the “big three” insects (Mayflies, Caddisflies, and Stoneflies) to get you started:

http://www.jerryhadden.com/insects/mayflycyc.html

http://www.jerryhadden.com/insects/caddisflycyc.html

http://www.jerryhadden.com/insects/stoneflycyc.html


Good luck.

Posted on: 2010/4/12 7:57


Re: newbie question

Joined:
2010/4/11 20:34
From Pittsburgh
Posts: 191
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thanks for everyones help. can't wait to get back on the water again this week.

Posted on: 2010/4/12 12:16
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"None but ourselves can free our mind"


Re: newbie question

Joined:
2010/4/11 20:34
From Pittsburgh
Posts: 191
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Wow. What a difference a few tips does to a guy. Went out with a little more knowledge again today and conditions were very similiar to yesterday. I threw a BH Prince nymph and caught a nice rainbow right away. I'm really starting to enjoy this fly fishing thing, ha. I was also lucky enough to get a couple casting tips from a vet. fly fisher I stumbled upon with over 40 years of FF and teaching lessons under his belt. I am very thankful for his help and learned alot. Hopefully many years down the road I will be able to pass along my knowledge the way he and all of you have.

If only the rest of the world was as good natured as Fly Fisherman!

Posted on: 2010/4/12 21:31
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"None but ourselves can free our mind"


Re: newbie question
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2006/9/9 17:32
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Hammer,
Nice to hear - sounds like you're hooked as solidly as those rainbows.

Posted on: 2010/4/12 22:40


Re: newbie question

Joined:
2010/4/11 20:34
From Pittsburgh
Posts: 191
Offline
Absolutely! Haven't stopped reading since I walked in the door tonight. Haha. Luckily the wife isn't feeling too well and is in bed so I am not hearing about it. I think I am heading up around Little Sandy Creek this weekend for opening day.

Posted on: 2010/4/12 22:54






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