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PostPosted: May 1st, 2009, 11:45 pm 
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Location: Vandorf, Ontario
Firstly Doftya, Congrats on your first fly rod rainbow! Well done. :clap:

My first rainbow was on the upper credit more than 30 years ago, and it was about the same size. I remember it because I was wet wading with my best friend, now an air force pilot who always wonders when I'm going to take his kids fly fishing. It was great then and anytime you get a fish on a fly its a great feeling. When you start to tie your pleasure will only increase.

One thiing you will learn with experience is the 'feel and sixth sense' of the take. Use Daiichi and/or Tiemco hooks - they are extremly sharp and you will get a lot more fish that hook themselves. Nothing will make you a better fisherman and lead you to enjoy the sport more than spending time on the water. Even just walking or wading and watching. Thats the beauty of fly fishing, there is always more to learn and even when you are proficient, if you want to learn more (not necesarily needing to in order to catch fish), you can do so. You are the boss and you do as much or as little as you like.

One tip on flies for upper Duffins and similar local streams, for dry fly fishing, is to fish 'klinkhammer' style files. In a couple of months those fish will be pounded and the submerged abdomen of a klinkhammer fly, with the parachute hackle, can really make a difference. Go to a 6X tippet. Watch the drag on your line. Its funny sometimes in that if you are drifting a wet fly downstream you can get away with a lot of drag on the fly, especially when quartering downstream and even pulling the fly back up against the current you can get hits. Use a dry fly however and only the smallest fish will hit when you have even a little bit of drag.

I'm glad you found Angling Specialties to your liking. They often have a lot of stuff that is hard to find at more big box or mainstream stores.

In regards to you trick for unsnagging your fly, it has been done before, by LOTS of fly anglers :D

You will in short order become very good at roll casting and immediately flipping an upstream mend to eliminate drag.

And the bigger fish will come....welcome aboard!

Moonman.


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PostPosted: May 2nd, 2009, 3:40 pm 
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First trout of the season...caught by my 11 year old! We ended up with five rainbows altogether...

Image

Here's the champ at the fishing hole...

Image

Ok, its a trout farm. And hook and worm. Still fun. She got to hold the fish and know what it felt like to have one on the line. Start positive, right?!

:D

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PostPosted: May 2nd, 2009, 11:30 pm 
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Ok, so I had a somewhat free evening (somewhat hard to do when you've got 3 kids under eight) and got to do some tying. I had a couple of ideas in mind, and just came up with some other stuff. I had borrowed Helen Shaw's Fly Tying: Materials, Tools, Technique from the library. Although it is a little dated, it very clearly outlines various techniques and methods. There were a few things I read there that I wanted to try, and then compare to how I've seen/read on the internet.

Anyhow, here's what I was up to today:

Attachment:
new flies.jpg


Ok, so starting at the top right, we have a white hair tail, black thread body, brown hackle, and some white hair again for visibility. I was hoping that this would somewhat resemble a spinner or emerger... something sitting in the film.

Next one down is a white hair tail, grayish brown dubbing body, grizzly hackle.

Next is my attempt at a bivisible, with a grizzly hackle palmered and a white hair tuft.

Bottom of the right hand side is my attempt at a parachute. Muskrat tail, muskrat dubbing body, white hair parachute with grizzly hackle wrapped around the white hair. The hackle should have been longer.

Top left is a woolly bugger, as is the second one, but the second one has a very ample tail. I wanted to second one to imitate a leech, I suppose we'll have to wait and see on that one.

Lastly we have something I grabbed out of some weird corner of my mind. The tail is actually the tip of some black hackle left over from the woolly buggers. Than black chenielle ribbed with orange thread. And finished off with grizzly hackle and an orange thread head.

Any thoughts?

Dave


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PostPosted: May 3rd, 2009, 4:15 pm 
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Location: Central Maine--Sheepscot Watershed
Well, I typed a long and detailed response, but when I hit the submit button it all disappeared. Second try.

Nice looking flies, especially the bivisible. Look up a pattern called a Griffith's Gnat--great fly on trout ponds. Tie it as small as you can!

I think the tail on your second, "leechy" bugger is too long and too full. I like them short and sparse, and with a bit of flash. Check out this link:
http://deltaflyfishers.com/files/stillwaterleech_bh.pdf

I tie a similar fly in olive, black, and purple. The bead makes it swim like a leech and really triggers strikes.

On the parachute, two comments. (1) I like a stiffer, sparser tail. A great material is moose mane, and as few as 2 hairs will do. (After all, mayflies only have 2 or 3 tails.)

(2) It looks like the butts of your wing post are sticking out. Make sure you clip them short, then wind under with thread and a little dubbing before you wrap the hackle.

Finally, don't worry too much about hackle size on parachutes. Yours look fine to me, although by traditional standards they may be too short. All the hackle does is float the fly in the film--the fish don't see it. If the fly floats, it's fine. Hackle size on a traditional style fly matters a lot more, because it DOES change how it sits on the water. On your Bivisible, for example, you've got it just right, IMHO.


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PostPosted: May 4th, 2009, 10:48 am 
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Location: Georgetown, Ontario
Nice ties, if you are looking for online resources, check out the following for some great tutorials and step by step patterns. The nice thing about hipwader is it is all locals mostly from the Ontario region.

http://hipwader.com

http://www.flyanglersonline.com

http://www.troutflies.com

http://www.flytyingforum.com

my 2 cents...the fly in you pic in the top right corner looks as if the palmered hackle may be too long? In keeping with proportions and having the fly sit better on the surface you might want to go with a smaller hackle feather, keeping the length of the fibers closer to the length of one to one and half widths of the hook gap, yours looks like the hackle is as at least 2 widths of the hook gap. I have found over the years of fly fishing dries that trout key in on shape and proportion far more than colour any given day.


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PostPosted: May 4th, 2009, 10:20 pm 
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Location: Ajax, ON
Thanks for the advice. I wasn't paying that much attention to proportions, I should have. I was trying to make sure my wraps, ties, and position were better. I was also making most of it up as I went, in terms of patterns or types. I agree, the tails were too full, and I should have used something stiffer, but I wanted to practice wrapping larger bundles of hair. As well, as to the butts of the parachute, I made the mistake of wrapping the dubbing before the parachute was tied, but just continued for the heck of it. Again, being early in my tying hobby, I didn't care too much for perfection yet. Just trying to get some techniques down pat.

BTW, the nice thing about the book by Helen Shaw, is that there are no real patterns in it. She teaches each technique separately on a bare hook, to show the steps in detail. This uncluttered approach makes the process much easier to understand and follow. Putting it all together is the next step, but as I read somewhere, "The simplest techniques, when practiced to perfection, become the most advanced techniques." (I hope I got that quote right)

Kermode, thanks for the links. I have been to FAOL and Fly Tying Forums previously, but the other two were nice to find. Great info. It will take me a few sessions of browsing to explore, but I'm sure it will be worth it.

I think I'll have to go through my list of flies I have figured would be good to have, and start looking up the patterns and start stocking up my flybox. Speaking of which, maybe some advice could be offered: which flybox do you prefer? Compartments, foam/clips, or a combination?

Dave

Addendum - I tried a couple of them yesterday, but it wasn't a good day. I saw about 4 or 5 trout in the creek, floated about four or 5 different patterns by them, but they weren't paying any attention. They seemed to be around the 1-3lbs. range. Couldn't tell if they were brookies or brownies, not steelhead. Maybe next time, but one thing is getting better, is my casting. Getting much more comfortable with playing line out, starting to get some hauls in, but my accuracy was getting much better. From about 30ft away I could hit a 3 ft circle every time. That felt good. We won't mention how many false casts it took to get to that, but I started trying to make my casts without any false casts as well. Didn't hit bushes or trees near as much either. The frustration of getting skunked only makes me want to get out there again and do better next time.

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PostPosted: May 24th, 2009, 7:57 pm 
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OK, time for an update. It's amazing how much time three kids can rob from you, but I have been able to get out now and then. All I can say, is that I wish I had more time for this, because I really like it. I really really like fly fishing!

I think what has helped the process is the help I got at the start, mainly from everyone that has had input into this thread. First of all and most of all, I need to thank Battenkiller for his help and generosity. Not only did he set me up with a wonderful reel and some line, but he threw in some other things that he didn't need anymore. His generosity and his input and advice has made my start much easier. BK, thanks so much. I owe you one!

Second, Strathcona, thanks for the posting that link to the sale on those Powell rods. I really like it. The casting action seems natural and easy, it was a great choice for a starting rod.

Moonman, thanks for the leads on the stores that carry fly fishing gear. It's nice to know where I can get materials and gear.

And to everyone else. thanks. You were right, yesterday I caught my first fish on my own fly (amazingly, it was the bivisible with the white tuft, and I was skating it downstream using my rod to lead it from one side of the creek to the other). As well, I love dry fly fishing, seeing the take is very exciting. I do miss most of them, and the fly gets spit, but I'm getting better.

Now all I have to do is book some time at the vise to replace those I have left firmly attached to logs and branches on the far side of the river when I was too lazy to wade my way across to get them. Ah well, I suppose that's part of the learning process as well.

Anyhow, just wanted to say a big round of thanks all around.

Dave

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PostPosted: May 25th, 2009, 3:30 pm 
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Location: Central Maine--Sheepscot Watershed
Congratulations!

I still remember my first trout on one of my flies--the biggest 8 inch stocker I ever caught!

For the flytying, it will really help you if you can find a class or a group of tiers next winter. If your area has a good fly shop, they probably offer flytying classes or "tying nights". Watching good tiers, you will learn a lot faster than trying to figure things out on your own.

Plus it's not a bad way to kill a few winter evenings.


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PostPosted: May 27th, 2009, 4:47 pm 
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doftya wrote:
Now all I have to do is book some time at the vise to replace those I have left firmly attached to logs and branches on the far side of the river when I was too lazy to wade my way across to get them. Ah well, I suppose that's part of the learning process as well.


Every time I see some guy wading across a river, scaring all the fish he should be catching just to retrieve an errant fly, I have to chuckle, "That guy buys his flies at $2 a pop." :lol:

Tying your own frees you. Not only can you fish with flies exactly as you think they should be dressed, they become very expendable (unless it just happens to be your very last size 16 rusty spinner and big noses are breaking the surface everywhere).

Only too glad to help, Dave. I'm sure you'll do the same when it's your turn. Fly fishing is a sport for gentlemen and generosity is the rule rather than the exception. It worked out for all of us. Strath got a nice reel as well, and he sent along a great DVD of a Sutton River trip, along with a much needed light blue dun neck. Mine got chewed to shit by moths this winter when I forgot it in my travel tying box. :doh:

Pay it forward. It works. :wink:

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PostPosted: May 27th, 2009, 5:41 pm 
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Battenkiller wrote:
Every time I see some guy wading across a river, scaring all the fish he should be catching just to retrieve an errant fly, I have to chuckle, "That guy buys his flies at $2 a pop." :lol:

Tying your own frees you.


Hehe, true, very true. Again I was catching small rainbows, as well as a couple of nice speckled trout. I love the color on those speckles. The only thing left to do is to book myself an evening to do some more tying. Before that I want to pick up some more materials to try some new flies as well. I'll start with building up a nice assortment of sizes of "the Usual", then some of that parachute you had given such great instruction for. Then I think I'll try some Adams. I think I'll stay with dry flies for now. It's just too exciting to be able to see the take.

Dave

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PostPosted: May 30th, 2009, 4:52 pm 
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Location: Stillwater, Minnesota
Well, you guys have inspired me to just get out and fish. I'm usually up at 5:30 anyways, so on Saturday mornings I'm on the water at 6:00 and I'm home by 10:00, and nobody seems to miss me!

I can hit the Kinnikinnic in a little over 20 minutes from my house. Its all coming back to me - at least I'm not trekking across the water in my hip boots to rescue flies as much :wink: This morning I was working my way upstream on the Kinni, fishing riffles and eddy lines, a very quiet morning...

Then I heard that little bloooop.

Ah, I can heard you, but I can't see you, little brown trout. About 4 minutes later...bloooop....the slurp was fifteen feet away from me in the undercut of the bank. I didn't even notice it before. I ended up catching two nice 10" browns out of that spot - the second hooked himself good so I had to go and get my pliers out of my jacket which I had left on the bank...so I snapped a photo with my cellphone:

Image

The pliers destroyed my fly. They took a floating winged ant pattern with red tuft in the tail that "carcass" floats. That fly was 30 yrs old! I stopped by my local fly shop on the way home to see if they had a similar pattern, but he didn't...so, If you tiers have some spare time on the vise I can draw you a sketch :wink:

Cheers all.

Edit...P.S. Cheap fly alert!! 20 flies for $9.95 + free shipping at Orvis...that $.50 a fly! No more cross stream fly rescue for me!!

http://www.orvis.com/store/productchoic ... dir_id=758

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PostPosted: May 30th, 2009, 9:05 pm 
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Very Nice Strath!

My local streams haven't produced that big a fish for me yet... but I'm working on it!

Since I got that vise from BK, I've been wanting to refrain from buying flies, might as well just get going on learning to tie flies! But one place I've found that does have good prices is http://www.reelflies.ca, if you want to check them out. They had a booth set up at the Sportsman's Show, and I should have taken advantage of their show prices at the time, but I wasn't so very sure that I'd get started so soon. But while looking at what they had there, the quality is good, nice and clean, very little variance from fly to fly. They seem to have good quality control in place. I have no idea where they get their flies made, but it seems that they have trained their staff well.

Congrats again on the great day of fishing!

Dave

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PostPosted: May 31st, 2009, 10:37 am 
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Well, you guys have been really into it. :D

By the nice colors and that pale blue spot behind the eye, I'd say those brownies weren't dumped there by the hatchery. I would be in trout heaven to cast all day for 10" wild risers, every one worth ten twice their size caught on a bead head or put there by the stocking truck. :wink:

Post a photo of your chewed fly and we'll see what we can do. I may hand it off to my increasingly able colleague, Doftya. It'd be a good journeyman's test.

Dave, those flies, and many others like it, are all tied in foreign lands by tiny hands with nimble fingers. Yes, they are precise looking, but lack.... a soul? After you are tying a while you will see that instantly. Do the trout care? Well, not about the soul part (although I know where a few buster browns live that have been elevated by the cognoscenti into philosopher status) but they are limited in their catching ability. Highly selective trout, the kind that keep the game interesting, get used to seeing those things float overhead and will come up to examine them, maybe once, and then drop back to the bottom again. You really need to keep it fresh.

There have been many times where I have been soundly trounced by a fishing buddy with the same fly with just a tiny variation. Back to the vice and the next evening... Presto!

In fact, I'd say that I've always done my most serious fishing while sitting at the tying bench. I see the day's rises - and refusals - over and over in my head. Like a chess player after a humbling defeat, I envision my opponent's moves and prep according to what I think will trick them next time.

Sure, I'll buy a couple dozen of those flies from time to time (you received at least a few of them that I no longer wanted), but they are usually an attractor pattern like a Royal Wulff, Kaufmann's Stimulator or a Humpy or two. I hate to tie flies like that, so I give in to weakness. But imitative dries, not ever. And I can't imagine a streamer fly tied at some sweat shop in Sri Lanka ever having the kind of lifelike action that comes from an experienced hand at fishing them.

I have to say, I've been tying my own from the get-go and I go to the stream with confidence, at least in my patterns. I have my own style that has evolved over the years for my fishing style, and they work for me.

A few years ago I was guiding a group of young hot shots on the West Branch of the Ausable in the Adirondacks. There were six guys and two guides. The other guide was a famous full-time guide who spent most of his time guiding high rollers for huge Great Lakes steelhead, but he was working out of our shop for the first time. He took over the trip like he was royalty, telling everyone what flies to buy at the shop, what tippet to use, how to present, etc. The first half of the day everyone got skunked except for one guy who was willing to fish the flies I provided (a tough sell since he had just been talked into spending about $50 at the fly shop). This young buck tied into about a dozen trout on a tiny size 18 BWO.

The second half of the day and this group was ready to "rip some lips" (God, I hate that saying :roll: ), but after several washout runs suggested by Mr. Fabulouso I brought the group down to a "secret" spot I knew. Still, the fishing was tough (they all wanted to fish dries) with not a single riser. The other guide told everyone to put on a Stimulator and they complied... to no avail.

I was watching one of the flies drift perfectly past a very sexy looking pocket and I saw a nice brown rise up to it and then drop back down. I grabbed the guy's line and snipped off the hairy monster and replaced it with one of mine, the very same Ausable Parachute I tied in the other thread. The fish came up to it on the first cast and just crushed it! A real nice 14" wild brown.

Very quickly, I was tying on my very last of about a dozen of the pattern that I had brought with me. The fish were frequent enough and big enough that several got lost in nice fish in short order. Lucky it was getting dark by then - my travel tying kit was back at the bunkhouse. :doh:

Why that fly? I happened to know that March brown spinners had been appearing in the evening for the past several nights. Shortly after we caught that first fish, you could look up and see them massing in the sky, like a squadron of bombers waiting to (literally) drop their load. Once they started to fall, all hell broke loose and big fish that are seldom seen were rising everywhere, and not one of them was a stockie.

We got a nice $100 tip from the satisfied clients, but the funny thing was that while we were driving away they started flashing their lights behind us. I pulled over, figuring they had forgotten something in my truck. Instead, they had been talking and felt guilty about only giving us $100, so they shoved another Franklin in my hand and thanked me for the best trip they had had in years. Then one of them said, "Wait... I still have one of your flies", and reaches out to hand it to me. I just laughed and said, "Keep it. Tie it when you get home. It will work anywhere you find conditions like we did tonight."

Another quick story...

I was fishing the Salmon River for winter steelhead one beastly cold February Sunday. I hooked a solitary fish and promptly lost it on 5x. By mid afternoon, my legs were so cold, even with guide weight neoprenes on (water temp 34º F) that I had to stop. I drove up to the fly fishing only section to watch the "masters" fish. There was one particular guy, a brilliant caster, who caught several fish while I watched, all in the 12-15 pound range. He finally had his fill and got out, so I took the opportunity to grill him about his methods. What fly patterns had he used? He said he tied his own that he had worked out on the stream.

I asked if I could take a look at his fly box to get an idea of what his arsenal might look like. When he opened it, instead of displaying 20-30 different patterns, he had an entire fly box full of small black nymphs with a hint of clipped Flashabou at the collar, something my store bought patterns lacked.

Why so many of the same pattern? "That's all that works for me here this time of year, and some days I need every one of them." :o

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PostPosted: May 31st, 2009, 11:06 am 
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Battenkiller wrote:
By the nice colors and that pale blue spot behind the eye, I'd say those brownies weren't dumped there by the hatchery. I would be in trout heaven to cast all day for 10" wild risers, every one worth ten twice their size caught on a bead head or put there by the stocking truck.

Wow...you impress me! The Kinnikinnic is a class five trout stream that has a very healthy population of native brown trout. It is not stocked by the Wisconsin DNR.

The Kinni (Page 189)

That's something I keep in mind when I'm fishing...hey, there are 8,000 trout per mile on this river...the fish are there! So if you want to cast to 10" wild risers all day...you'll have to come out this way :wink:

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PostPosted: May 31st, 2009, 12:46 pm 
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Very, very interesting.

8000 fish per mile? Damn!

Sounds like its has all the right ingredients. Spring fed, limestone influence. Probably a real bug factory, eh? Surprised I haven't heard of it. Wisconsin isn't the first place that comes to mind when folks talk wild trout, but maybe that should change.

My namesake river, the Battenkill, has many of those qualities and used to support a nice head of trout (nothing like 8000/mile though), but alas, it is only a shadow of its former self. No one knows why the decline occurred, but I can tell you I witnessed it first hand and it happened over a two to three year period starting around 1994.

If you look at the USGS streamflow historic record (now curiously unavailable), you will see an unprecedented series of post-spawning floods where the river rose to unbelievable levels and probably washed out the redds. But no one listens to a guy like me, and now NY has begun to stock it after over 30 years of maintaining it as a wild fishery. My heart is broken. Thankfully, the Vermont side is less politically driven and is simply monitoring the situation over time. Reports are coming in that show the fishery is slowly starting to rebound. My dream is to move to Vermont when my wife retires, so maybe it will be back to its old self by then. :)

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