Tips & Tricks

5 flies that catch trout across the Rockies—and beyond

“What did it eat?” I hollered.

Throughout the lake, my fishing buddy Pat yelled again, “Crimson chironomid. Once more.”

I set my rod throughout my lap and unzipped a pouch on my float tube. It was a superb spring day, hotter than it had any proper to be, and Pat and I had been on my favourite excessive nation lake a full month sooner than I’ve ever been earlier than. Often snow blocks the highway till the primary week of June. We had been floating it earlier than Mom’s Day.

The fly packing containers I pulled from my float tube pouches had been a multitude – as all my fly packing containers are – and I rapidly noticed I used to be out of purple chironomids. I had inexperienced, black, pink, brown, copper, purple, and infinite combos of these colours, however no reds wherever.

All of us have this expertise whereas on the water – looking out by way of a fly field in useless for that one dimension of that particular sample that we’d like proper now. Once I began fly fishing, my packing containers regarded just like the bins at my native fly store. I grabbed fistfuls of each fly, satisfied that I’d want a purple extended-body mayfly dun imitation in dimension 12 sooner or later.

In the previous few years, my method has modified. I began tying my very own flies six or seven years in the past, and when my dad’s previous fishing vest lastly fell aside and I purchased a brand new one, I spotted how sick I used to be of carrying a dozen fly packing containers each time I went fishing. The packing containers I ditched had been those filled with flies that hadn’t ever seen water – the garish nymphs extra more likely to scare a trout than catch it, the out-of-proportion bushy dry flies tied to catch the angler and never the fish.

What was left is what I largely fish with at this time. Whereas it’s actually not essential to pare down your fly choice as a lot as I’ve, there’s an attract to fishing with solely a handful of bugs in your pocket. It forces you to depend on studying water and presentation. In some methods, going with only a few totally different flies is as strong a approach as any to enhance as an angler. Most often, I consider it’s how a fly is fished – and never the fly itself – that places trout within the web.

That line of considering invariably results in the query of what flies I’d fish if I may solely have a sure variety of patterns at any given second. Keep in mind that I dwell and fish in Utah, and I’ve by no means trout-fished east of the Black Hills. That stated, based mostly on my conversations with mates from japanese reaches, chances are high these 5 flies will serve you effectively just about wherever you chase trout.

Photograph: Orvis

Parachute Adams

I tie extra parachute-style flies than every other dry fly. They’re indispensable, particularly the Adams. It seems to be an terrible lot like tons of different aquatic bugs, and you’ll confidently fish it throughout every thing from a Yellow Sally hatch to a caddis hatch.

I am going with a dimension 14 right here as a result of I nearly all the time fish a three-fly rig (the place it’s authorized) and a dimension 14 parachute does an incredible job of holding up all my different flies.

The dry-dropper-dropper setup is enjoyable – and efficient – to fish as a result of it allows you to hit totally different areas of the water column concurrently. With every forged, you’re placing your flies in entrance of extra fish, and casting three flies actually isn’t any harder than casting two.

hare's ear

Photograph: Orvis

Hare’s Ear

Any Hare’s Ear will do, however I tie mine a bit otherwise than most. I take advantage of coq-de-leon for the tail, pure rabbit dubbing for the physique, and a mixture of brown holo-tinsel dubbing and pheasant tail for the thorax and wing case, respectively. And, I like tying these with black tungsten beads on curved nymph hooks.

The Hare’s Ear is such a flexible fly as a result of it seems to be like almost each mayfly nymph I’ve ever seen. A dimension 16 is ideal for dropping under a dimension 14 dry fly, and I attempt to all the time have a dozen of those in my field at any given second.

frenchie fly

Photograph: Umpqua

Frenchie

The Frenchie is to caddis nymphs and larvae what the Hare’s Ear is to mayflies. The Frenchie seems to be like a cased caddis, or a caddis rising from its shuck, or perhaps a actually darkish mayfly nymph. The hotspot collar is, I feel, one of many few situations the place colour has a measurable influence on a fly’s efficacy, and these flies are surprisingly easy to tie. I don’t do something totally different to mine, besides that I usually don’t use any UV resin to lock my thread in place. I want superglue.

black zebra midge fly

Photograph: Orvis

Black Zebra Midge

Nearly all of a trout’s food regimen is discovered beneath the river’s floor, which is why I solely have one dry fly on this checklist, and we’re now to the third nymph sample. I am going with a black zebra midge right here as a result of I’ve discovered that the extra impartial colours have a tendency to supply one of the best. Crimson, pink, inexperienced, and brown zebra midges work nice – however not as successfully as a black one, in my expertise. Dimension 18 is ideal for these bugs, and anybody can tie them. They’re easy, and I’d wager that extra fish have been caught on some type of zebra midge-style sample than every other nymph.

bunny leech fly

Photograph: Umpqua

Black Bunny Leech

I couldn’t do that checklist with out together with not less than one streamer. I’ve been fortunate to study the ins and outs of streamer fishing from among the most educated guides this facet of the Mississippi, and the lesson most imprinted on my angling psyche is to by no means underestimate a trout’s capacity to react to large streamers. Only a few weeks in the past, I used to be fishing with my buddy Pat, when he pulled up a seven-inch rainbow trout on a streamer that was 4 inches lengthy. Trout, for no matter cause, are almost all the time prepared to slam a streamer, so it is smart to have them always.

I am going with a bunny leech right here as a result of I want the way in which bunny fur strikes within the water in comparison with marabou and hackle. The Woolly Bugger has in all probability caught extra fish than every other fly within the historical past of our sport, however I nonetheless want the bunny leech.

In all honesty, my packing containers don’t have many extra patterns than what I’ve listed right here. I fish possibly a dozen or so totally different flies all year long, however these 5 get essentially the most use. Limiting your self to only 5 flies might sound pretentious, however I feel it’s a enjoyable problem – even when it’s solely ever hypothetical.

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