Saturday, April 24, 2010

Website and Upcoming Trip to Utah

I have been running a website dedicated to just my photography for a few months now, and I try to update it regularly. It has (what I think to be) my best work on it. If you have a minute check it out and let me know what you think!

I'm also headed to Salt Lake City, UT next week to visit a good friend, climb some rocks, and of course fish! I'm looking forward to a new adventure, and meeting new friends that share the same love of photos and fishing. I will also be doing a fly tying demonstration and photo slideshow at the SLC main library on Thursday April 29th at 7:00pm, if you live in the SLC area stop by!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Not Always a Dun

If you have ever fished a mayfly hatch you know that using the standard dry fly that imitates an adult mayfly may not be as successful as you would like. Sometimes it works, and works well, but other times you may struggle to hook a fish, or the fish you do hook are small. For the most part you can tell what the fish are taking by how the fish are rising. This isn't 100% accurate, but it is a good place to start. If fish are not slashing at the surface for adult bugs you need to try something different. Below are some strategies and patterns that I like to use during these tricky situations.

Emergers: There are a million emerger patterns out there, I personally have the best success with emerger patterns without wings, and the reason... I think the fish just know a bug without wings is going to be an easier meal, than one that can fly away! I usually fish these patterns in flat water to get a good idea where the fly is, or I tie them as a dropper. When tying emergers, try to imitate the nymph first and have the emerging adult be a secondary aspect to the pattern. Many emerger patterns out there are basically a fancy dun pattern with a generic shuck, try it the other way around, fancy nymph and generic adult, and see if it is more successful for you.

Cripples: An often overlooked part of a hatch, and sometimes an absolute killer pattern. During a hatch watch the water, take a sample... observe first. You will not miss any action, and if you pay attention to what is happening with the bugs, you will end up catching more fish. Sometimes adult mayflies can't make it out of their shuck, and they float helplessly down the stream... When there are high numbers of these cripples, the fish respond, and so should you. Tying a cripple is where I like the upwing emerger patterns. I tie a standard upwing emerger with a shuck, and then mash it up with my fingers. The worse it looks, the better it works.

Nymphs: Many times anglers will use a nymph under an indicator before the hatch, and once they see a fish rise, the nymph gets put away and the adult pattern gets tied on. There are a few ways I like to use nymphs during a hatch... If you see a rise where the dorsal and/or the tail are coming out of the water trail a nymph pattern from your dry fly and put a tiny split shot on to get the nymph down a few inches in the water column. During other situations you can dress the nymph with the same stuff you use on your dry to keep it in or around the film. You will catch fish on the nymph so watch the dry like an indicator and hang on!

Next time you are in the middle of a nice hatch cast less, observe more, and don't be afraid to try something new!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Recent Bugs

Here is what has been floating on top of, or in, my local inland streams lately... feel free to use these photos for tying reference if you are experiencing similar bugs in your area.

Male Hendrickson emerger #12.

Female Hendrickson dun #14.

Female Hendrickson spinner with eggs #14.

BWO male spinner #18.

Hendrickson nymph #14.

Sulphur nymphs #16.

March Brown nymph #12.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Hendrickson Dun

Hendricksons are the first great hatch of the season in my area of Western NY. The bugs are big and the fish enjoy coming up for them. This hatch is nice for beginner fly fisherman to get their first fish on a dry, so if you are new and interested in trying out dry fly fishing now is the time! When tying a pattern make sure it is the right size and giving off an accurate profile first before getting into the many other picky details. A good drift with the right sized fly is often rewarded.

Male Hendrickson Dun

Female Hendrickson Dun

Parachute Biot Bodied Dun

Nice Brown on the Parachute

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Hendrickson Spinner

Here is my Hendrickson Spinner pattern... I got the idea from Shane Stalcup's book. This imitation catches fish when other 'rusty spinners' do not, and it is relatively easy to tie. The wings and case are medallion sheeting, which I strongly suggest trying out. Fish this pattern during the spinner fall and hang on! Click here for my post last year at this time to see the changes I've made, and feel free to click on any of the images below to get a closer look.

Classic view from above.

Flush floating side view.

View from underneath.

Hopefully in the next week or two I can get a real bug next to this to give you a feel for accuracy... Feel free to comment or email for further tying instructions or questions.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Build Your Own Seine

Serious hatch-matching is beginning all over the country, and this is one tool you do not want to leave home without. Before I even tie on a fly I use my eyes and my seine to carefully investigate what kind of bugs are floating around, basically I fish for bugs first! Doing this every time you go fishing will make you a better fisherman, and a better fly tyer.

There are seines on the market for purchase, so if you are rich and can afford $10-20 on a bug net then stop reading here, and go buy one. If not, go to a craft store and pick up some wedding veil (there are other alternatives but wedding veil is my material of choice). You also need duct tape and scissors.


Step 1: Figure out how big you want it. I like mine to be as wide (duct taped edges) as my longest fly box, that way I can roll it up and it will fit nicely in my vest.

Step 2: Cut the wedding veil to size. I double mine up to capture the small bugs, so cut two if you like midge fishing.

Step 3: Duct tape the ends with two or three layers, that's it!

Finished seine.

When taking a sample start on the surface, and gradually work your way down the water column. If there is nothing rising and nothing free floating in the water column kick up some of the gravel above the seine and let the silt filter through. This will give you an idea what could be drifting around. As I've said in many previous posts, put one of your flies next to the real thing it should imitate. Good luck and let me know if this helped you catch more fish!