Flies (work in progress)

Like I said on the front page selection of flies is not a kind of black magic.
At least not on the lowland streams I am fishing.
Fish can be very picky especially when there is a huge range of naturals
available but in my neck of the wood a handfull of patterns will work.

As my local fishery is mostly about Roach and Dace in shallow flowing
streams the most used fly type is the nymph.
The fish will take dries later in season and when mayflies are about but
in the overgrown shallow streams you will hardly get a chance to present
a dry without spooking every fish in the water.


The fly pattern I use most is the pheasanttail nymph in various forms.
For Dace and Roach I use hook sizes from 16 to 12, weighted with
tungsten beads for fishing deeper holes in the stream or brass for
shallower water.
The body is made out of .. you guessed it .. pheasant tail fibers, the
collar is a flash dubbing or peacock herl.
The pheasant tail is the fly which catches most fish for me.

The hooks I use are Hanak 200BL (standard nymph) - 400BL (jig)
and 300BL (Czech nymph).

Other patterns.
I sometimes use a bloodworm pattern early season and on rare
occasions I will use Czech nymph patterns which would be a representation of a 
freshwater shrimp. 

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Selection of small nymphs
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Dace on the pheasant tail nymph.
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Chub on the pheasant tail
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Roach on a pheasant tail nymph.
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Brown trout on the pheasant tail nymph.
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Rainbow trout on pheasanttail nymph.

Fishing the nymph.

As I fish on flowing water 99.99% percent of the time I fish the nymph dead drift over spots where I
suspect fish.
In my local and very shallow stream this is always in deeper pools or slightly deeper sections of the 
stream like bends or spots around debris where the current scours out depressions.
I always fish with a bite indicator, this is either strike putty or a strike indicator made out of foam.
Besides indicating that a fish is checking out the nymph the indicator also doubles as a means to
control the depth which the nymph travels.
The bottom of the stream I fish is littered with debris so I always let the fly drift just a few inches 
above the bottom.

Various indicators

Roach and Dace can be picky at times so when your nymph travels through a school without
raising any interest try change fly size or pattern.
The trout are more predatory than the usual coarse fish so they will generally take a nymph
with vigor.

Dry flies

The streams I fish are shallow and mostly hidden in a thick jungle of shrubs so dry fly fishing
is often not practical.

There are times and locations however where you can use dry flies succsesfully, at times 
their use can be very effective.

At the start of the season in March / April the Dace will get active and scour the surface
of the water for insects.
For Dace I use small Klinkhamer flies / F-flies and Segde pattern.
When in late April the first large Mayflies hatch it can even be possible to catch the larger
Roach in the streams.
Most rewarding is when you encounter one of the local trout who often rise like clockwork
for Mayflies in the season.

Selection of sedges, klinkhamers and a mayfly pattern
Brooktrout on a klinkhamer.
Brown trout on segde.
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Mayfly natural

Besides the Dace and Trout there is one other candidate for the dry fly in the waters I fish, namely Chub.
Especially the bigger Chub are tough customers in my stream as they are very wary of anglers 
that parade on the generally high banks.
With some stealth and luck though you might catch one these bruisers in spring and especially summer.

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Chub on a large Mayfly pattern
Fulling Mill JT Mayfly.

As I seldom use dries I tend to buy them rather than tie them myselves allthough this season might
be a change.
I prefer flies from Fulling mill as they are quality ties.

Fishing the dry fly.

Since dry flyfishing is sight fishing it is pretty much self-explaining.
Find rising fish, make a perfect cast towards the fish and let the fly drift with
the same speed as the current.
Sounds easy but off course it is not in real life.

If you do everything right the fish will rise and take the fly, if not the fish will
hesitate or ignore your offering alltogether.
You might have to change your leader setup or fly to archieve succses.

In my local waters the Dace will take flies from the surface once spring
has commenced.
Dace are not picky about flies so a small klinkhamer or segde will be 
taken with gusto but beware that the Dace are lightning fast in spitting out
the fly when they figure it is a fake offering.
For chub I usually toss the right under the bank as they are always near
The big chub cruise in the open water during summer and I have seen them
having a go at mayflies and even damselflies.
Those fish are not easily fooled but they can be caught.


Off course the waters I fish are not only populated by Dace, Roach and Chub.

To get to the predators in the stream I often use small streamers.
Most common predator in the waters I fish would be the Perch followed by 
Pike, Trout and on occasions large Chub.

A selection of streamers I use consisting of polar minnow and zonker streamers.

As I fish with light rods in the 4-weight range my choice of streamers is 
selected so I can propel them with leight weight gear.
The streamers I tie are always weighted with tungsten beads or coneheads in various weights.
In the small streams the predators usually lurk in the deeper pools which are in my neck of the 
woods quite small.
Main objective is to get the streamer deep even amidst the current as trout and perch will hover
never the bottom most of the time.
In slow moving reaches a lighter weighted streamer might be required to prevent getting stuck
on the streambed.

Perch on a zonker streamer.
Perch on polar minnow
Perch on polar minnow streamer.
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Rainbow trout on zonker streamer.
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Brown trout on zonker streamer.

Fishing the streamer.

In the waters I fish I probe the deeper pools with the weighted zonker streamers.

If the pool is small I usually let the streamer drift in the pool from the shallows and then
retrieve upstream.
If the pool is large and there is enough room to make a backcast I will make a cast so the line
lies at an angle of 45 degrees over the water, again retrieving the streamer upstream.

The disadvantage of using streamers and particulary the zonker streamers is the fact that you
will get a lot of missed strikes.
Always check if the tail of the zonker streamer is not wrapped around the hook shank as this
often occurs during casting.
If you use streamers though you will be sure to get attention from a predator soon as they will
often follow a streamer before they strike.

I generally use a streamer when I see hunting fish or suspect that a pool will hold trout.
Trout can sometimes be pretty lethargic when nymphs pass by but a streamer will almost
always trigger some reaction, be it a strike or just a following fish.

If the fish will not strike instantly just fish the streamer a dozen times through the pool.
Either two things can happen, a strike or the fish will move away.
I once fished on a trout stream where dozens of people had tried to catch an escaped
Golden trout from the local hatchery.
At the end of the day the last local angler left and told me "He is yours" probably thinking
it would be a waste of time trying to catch that fish.
I could not resist to catch that fish so I teased it so often with the streamer right in front
of its nose that after a dozen times or more it charged.

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Dozens of casts, but in the end rewarded with a strike.

So this concludes my view on flies.
Even though the environment I am fishing in might be completely different from yours I am still of
the opinion that you can go a long way with a few standard patterns of different sizes and weights.

I will update this page in future with a section for saltwater flies and hell, maybe some tying instructions
for the patterns I use.