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Flymen Blog

Trout Fly Fishing: 3 Bad Habits to Break

As a trout guide I like to think that there are no mistakes in fly fishing, rather there are learning opportunities — lots and lots of learning opportunities.

With each client I try to place an emphasis on proving yourself wrong, and by that I mean, take some rule/tactic/method and try to disprove it. After all, how many times have you done what was considered to be wrong and yet still caught a fish?

Habits on the other hand, are another story. Unlike mistakes, habits — especially a certain few — can be detrimental to catching trout. I'm going to address three of the worst habits I see on the water and how you can go about improving your habits to catch more trout.

Are You a 'One Trick Pony' Fly Angler? Here's Why You May Not Be Catching as Many Fish as You Could

Varying your technique and presentation to match the fishing conditions at hand is key to consistently catching fish.

The dictionary defines the phrase, “One trick pony” as “a person or thing with only one special feature, talent, or area of expertise."

I see fly anglers all the time who are one trick ponies — for example, only fishing with dry flies or dry and dropper rigs no matter what the stream conditions are. Even guys who nymph fish can get caught up in only euro nymphing or only indicator nymphing.

We've all been guilty, myself included, of sticking to a favorite technique or fly for too long when it’s not producing.

Fly Design and Material Selection

One of the Most Fun Parts of Fly Fishing Is Designing and Tying Flies.

As a fly tying instructor, I often have clients who have designed and tied a new pattern, but there is some flaw in the design (e.g. the wrong hook, articulated when it is not needed, too big, or too small) or material selection.

These are integral parts of fly design. The large cunning fish you'll be targeting know how their food choices move and will shy away from flies that do not move naturally.

3-minute fly: Tie the Mottlebou Mop Fly.

3-minute fly: Tie the Mottlebou Mop Fly

Forget the Squirmy. Forget the egg flies. The Mop Fly is the most sinful fly of all time.

You’ve seen them – you’ve seen the chenille fingers coming off an array of products these days, from dust mops to car washing aids to teddy bears to throw pillows. You can clip these off their backing and have a killer fly if you lash those fingers to a hook.

5 tips to help you fish the unseen part of a hatch.

Match the hatch fly fishing

I swear to fish the hatch and the whole hatch.

To most fly anglers, fishing the hatch means fishing dries, spinners, or maybe emerger patterns to actively feeding trout.

For more years than I can remember, I've spent time sitting on the bank waiting for the “hatch” to happen.

Then about 15 years ago it hit me when a guide client asked me, “what were the bugs doing before they hatched?"

Bam! Light went on.

Why I hadn’t thought of this myself? Continue reading

3-minute fly: Tie The Girdlebug nymph.

3-minute fly: Tie The Girdlebug nymph

This bug is especially useful for fish that haven’t had a lot of pressure in slow water, or for all fish large enough to get their mouths around it in fast water.

With all the legs going this way and that in fast water, this fly initiates one strike after another. 

One of the best things about it is that when fishing it, you really do often nail only solid fish – but of course you’ll pick up the random optimistic dink. Continue reading

3-minute fly: Tie quill body flies.

3-minute fly: Tie quill body flies

This fly is effective on pressured fish who need a little more reason to eat — especially in slow moving water when pressured fish have a long time to look at flies before they commit to eating. 

Just as The Sexy Walt’s and The Frenchie are simply tied patterns, so are these quill-bodied bugs.

One of the hallmarks of these simple flies is that there’s not a lot of junk on them to keep the fly from cutting through the water on its descent to the bottom. All that extra junk on flies can also spook fish hooked too many times for their own comfort. Continue reading

3-minute fly: Tie Blood's Blood Dot Egg.

Blood's Blood Dot Egg fly pattern

If you’re an egg-slinger and don’t have a box full of Jeff Blood’s Blood Dot Eggs, you might want to rethink your inventory. 

This egg style is the single best I’ve encountered.

This fly is especially productive from October through January and March through May – or whenever the fish in your neck of the woods are spawning and eggs make up a substantial portion of the edible biomass in the water. Continue reading

Fly tying: There's no new black.

black fishing flies

It doesn't matter what happens in the fashion industry – when it comes to fly fishing, there's no new black.

We've all heard it!

"Orange is the new black," or "purple is the new black," or even that olive would be the new black.

Don't get me wrong – I know there are a lot of colors that are really effective in different types of flies. I love throwing white deceivers to snappers and other saltwater species, and big olive flies to pike, not to mention fishing a banana-colored zonker for salmon or a big gray articulated streamer for trout.

There are so many colors that are important when it comes to flies and fly tying, but none more important than black. Continue reading

3-minute fly: Tie The Sexy Walt's nymph.

The Sexy Walt's is especially useful on highly pressured fish in slow to moderately fast-moving water.

Here’s the deal with this fly, I think. My dad has this theory – no matter how much you’ve had to eat, when you go to the bar and they pass out the peanuts, you’re going to have a handful of peanuts.

Fish are the same way. Over time, especially after a season (short or long) of pressure, fish start rethinking their meal choices. But give them a peanut, and they’ll eat. There’s no other reason midges work!

This is a peanut fly, and fish eat it up. 

There’s nothing to scare fish away – no crazy rubber legs, no funky dubbing… Just simple. Continue reading

3-minute fly: Tie The Frenchie nymph.

by John Zimmerman
I don’t know if the story about this fly is true or not, but this is how I first heard it and have heard it several times since. 

A young French kid was kicking butt and taking names at a world championship event a number of years ago. 

Not wanting to be "that guy,” no one asked him what was affixed to the end of his tippet during the event, but everyone wanted to see his fly box upon the event’s conclusion. 

Expecting immaculately-tied, realistic patterns, most were shocked to see a fly box full of simply-tied bugs that were essentially bare-bones pheasant tails.

Continue reading

Follow this 5 point checklist for better Czech nymphing.

by Tim Savarese
Imagine being out on the water consistently catching a ton of fish and having a blast doing it. That's the best way I can describe Czech nymphing.

It's not just an exciting way to fish – it's also extremely productive. Subaquatic bugs make up around 90% of the trout's diet. Most of those bugs are near or on the bottom, so that's where your flies need to be to catch fish.

Here are the main things I keep in mind when Czech nymphing.

Click to read more