Dry fly selection
Using the right fly is definitely a big plus when it comes to catching fish. And using the correctly designed fly helps even more. So, what does that mean and how does it apply to your fishing. Take the common May Fly, and the basic stages it goes through. Nymph, emerger, adult, and spinner. There are hundreds of patterns that will represent those stages. But for now, let’s stick to just the dry fly to keep it simple. Some dry flies are hackled, some aren’t some lightly hackle, and some are heavily hackled. All dry’s have some sort of material to keep them buoyant. So, which one do you tie on? Let’s take a look at it in a fishing scenario.
You are out on the water. There are fish eating blue wing olive’s all around you. As with most people you want to fish the dry. So, you open your box and pull out a bwo dry. You match it to the size, shape, and color of the naturals you see on the water. But all you get for your efforts are fish ignoring your fly. Assuming your presentation was flawless the whole experience has now left you frustrated. SO now what? Have you ever thought that the bug you are using, although the right species may be tied wrong for the type of water you are fishing? Most people when choosing a fly do not take into consideration the type of water they are fishing and how it affects fly selection.
I’m not talking about the chemical composition of the water. I am talking about water clarity, light, and current speed. Are you fishing on a flat piece of water or are you fishing choppy riffle water? So just how does this effect your fly selection?
If I am on a flat slow-moving piece of water and fishing a dry, I like to use a lightly hackled fly. For example, if I am fishing a parachute, I like one that may only have one to two raps of hackle around the post. As long as it stands up right and I can see it all the way through the presentation. Now If the wind comes up and puts some chop on the water, then I would change it to one with a little more hackle on it. This is going to help it float higher and stay buoyant in the chop. Overly hackled flies on soft slow-moving water can be a deterrent. Light plays a big roll also, is the sun directly over the water. If so and it is flat water I like a lightly hackled fly or maybe even a no hackle. If the light is low or cloudy, I want one with just a little bit more hackle. Light also determines the type of wing you want and from which direction you approach the fish. Different wing material shows up differently under different light. Thus not only do you have to pay attention the hackle now, but also the wing. I can’t stress enough on how light conditions will dictate what style of fly you use and how you use it. I am not a huge fan of sparkly materials on dries. Look at the naturals before you say anything about that. Now with that all being said, I have a tendency to over hackle flies at the vice intentionally. I like to do that on fly’s I use in heavy water. Bugs like stimulators, humpy’s, hackle stackers, emergers, etc. I do that with the intention of trimming them on the water if needed. I carry a pair of scissors with me just for that reason.
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So to simplify it a little think of it like you were classifying water for rafting or boating. Class one being the easiest to navigate, class 5 rougher and choppier with standing waves. Class one dry fly lightly hackled, class two dry fly a little more hackled, and so on as you movie up the scale. The most important thing to remember is the fish sees the fly and interprets it differently than you do.
As always, all comments are welcome. If there is a subject or technique you would like to discuss or chat about. Drop me a line and I will be more then happy to talk about it with you. Or add to the blog.
Also I will be doing a stream report on the waters I guide on this season so look for it on the web page.
It will be a separate page on the site it self artteter.com