Sunday, July 22, 2018

Flies Used Flies Replaced

How many flies do one use on any given outing on their favorite stream or tailrace? 5 or 6 flies is tops for me, which got me to thinking the other day do I really need all these flies I carry in my fly box? I had flies in the fly box that I hadn't used in years and some had never touched the surface of the water. So to make space for the new flies I was going to add I starting culling those I seldom use. Take note of the words “fly box” because that is the only box I use nowadays when fly fishing.
This little Orvis metal fly box 2 ½ by 3 ½ has all the flies that I will use on any given day on the water. It fits easily in my small chest pack that is lightweight and compact as well. The older I get the more I want to eliminate weight when wading and standing for long periods of time in 55 to 60-degree water. Notice the difference in the number of flies in the box before culling and after. 
Given the fact I had a well-organized fly box and the Sipsey Tailrace was fishing some better than a couple of weeks ago; I decided to test the waters with some of the newer flies that I had added to the box. I was met with cloudy skies and of course high humidity and lots of fog on the water surface. As I waded into place at access 5 I could barely see the surface film for the fog coming off the water. I decided to cast one of my new flies a size 18 Black Drake dry in the direction of some trout feeding near where I was standing. I got a hit after a few casts and thought I was in for some rapid top action. To my surprise, just as quick as the surface activity started it ended I surmised I was fishing the tail end of the surface feed. 
With the generation schedule changed I had to use my time wisely so after surface activity slowed I moved on up the gorge. I replaced the Drake with a fly Alan at Small Stream Reflections sent me sometime back. I thought today would be a good time to give it a try. I tied on the Salars Nemesis tight-lining it across a wide section that had some fast water in the middle and slower water on both sides. As the fly drifted from the edge of the slow to fast water I got a take and lost it just as quick; poor concentration and slow hook set, not a good combo. I kept working the Salars slowly with some short jerks mixed in when a trout nailed it in the middle of the swing, strong hook set, and the trout was in the net!!
Today was one of those trips where one fly pattern didn't produce on a consistent basis. In fact, that can be the norm on the Sipsey at times. These trout see a lot of the same flies in the upper section of the tailrace so it's good to show them a little something different. My next stop was the log section in deep water where the better trout hang out below the submerged logs. I decided to tie on the Seal Leech to fish this section. This is a fly that David Knapp gave me some years ago to work in deeper water. I fish this fly a little unconventional by casting it downstream and working it back slowly against the current. As I work the fly I let it pause in the current and flutter, usually during the pause is when I get the hit. Today this type of retrieve helps me land a couple of stocker trout just above the logs. I was hoping for the bigger trout but I will take what this section gives up.
I ended today's trip at the Guide Hole, which is where the guys at the fly shop bring a lot of their clients to fish the slow water in this section. This part of the tailrace has a small seam with some fast current above some slower water below. I think this little seam is one of the best areas in the guide hole section. I've landed some nice rainbow in this little seam. I've had much better luck in this area using a small nymph with an indicator. I choose a red size 16 Copper John to drift through the fast water and hopefully watch the indicator sink quickly. It didn't happen quickly but I did manage to land one more rainbow using the little nymph. All the flies used for today's trip were some that I had never used here before and some that I hadn't used in years. As I was leaving at access 5 the trout were into the sipping mode, so I stopped to try to get a take with no success. I'm still having problems getting hits when the trout are feeding in this manner. I suspect they are feeding on tiny midges, but the color and the actual size is still a puzzle. I am thinking of purchasing a stomach pump----any suggestions are welcome!!


Brk Trt said...

Bill, I carry a small C&F box with most of the flies I fish. I also carry a clear plastic box for larger dry flys. The plastic box prevents the hackles from crushing.

The salars nemesis is proving itself to be the fly. It's great that it worked on the Sipsey...keep using it, and hold on.

Michael Agneta said...

Well, you know being a "tenkara" guy, I'm not one for excessive patterns myself. They (whoever they are) say it's more about presentation than pattern, so I'm all for the lightened fly box. Also really cool that the flies you are using are patterns provided by friends. It's almost like they get to go fishing with you.

As for your quandry, no answers for you, but I'm sure you'll crack the code soon!

rivertoprambles said...

Bill, simplification is the key to happy angling. Nice report here from the tailwater. Personally, I would never use a stomach pump, but it sounds like the fish are sipping at midges. I would use a long fine leader, tapered to 6 or 7x, with a Griffith's Gnat or Black Midge in a #22 for starters, fishing casually until frustration sets in.

Bill Trussell said...

The pump was suggested on a previous trip by a fellow fisherman when I saw the trout doing the sipping thing. I agree I think the trout are sipping on tiny midges. This tailrace is noted for midge hatches off and on during the day; no pump needed. Thanks for the comment

Bill Trussell said...

I learned over the past few years to really think about the flies I purchase as to how they will be used on a particular area of water I am going to fish. At the present time I am loaded with flies that are in containers that I may never used.
I feel in time I will get a hit using a number of midge patterns and sizes. I have narrowed it down to cream, grey or black color in sizes 18, 20 or 22. Thanks for the comment

RM Lytle said...

I think it's important to distinguish how many flies you'd use in a day and how many you use over the course over a year. I may only use 7 or 8 different patterns in a day on a trout stream but odds are over a year of trout fishing I'll probably fish at least 50 different patterns and I'll probably catch fish on 80 percent of them. So instead of fully streamlining my whole arsenal I just carry different boxes every trip, each according to something I think I may encounter on the river that day. I have a box specifically for small streams, a box of large mayflies and terrestrials, a box of midges and small mayflies, a box of caddis, a box for nymphs, a boat box of single hook streamers and a box of articulated streamers. Every one of those flies will get used at some point or another.

Bill Trussell said...

I wish I had access to all the streams and tailraces you fish there which require a variety of fly patterns. The flies I used for the 3 tailraces I fish here are in that one box. My closest is the Sipsey then the Caney and Elk over an hour away. The flies I have displayed in my box fishes well on all three tailraces. Thanks for the comment

Bill Trussell said...

I will revisit the area where I lost the good trout fishing the Salars Nemesis; hope I make a connect on the return-----Thanks for the comment

cofisher said...

I would love to fish this water with you Bill and I've got enough flies for both of us! Beautiful looking area!

Bill Trussell said...

I wish we lived closer so we could make it happen---we could swap back and forth between Clear Creek and the Sipsey. Thanks for the comment