Winter Time Dry Flies.

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This topic contains 15 replies, has 9 voices, and was last updated by  Scotty MacFly 2 years, 5 months ago.

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  • #1852

    MarlTroutBum
    Participant

    While I love dry fly fishing, prior to joining this forum, I always considered dry flies a summer, early fall fly pattern. Living in Connecticut and with the cold weather approaching (i.e. the ice in my guides yesterday)

    I am interested to hear what everyone uses for dry flies in the cold and snowy winter. Do you stick to the same patterns as the summer? Do you use the same summer patterns only smaller? Is there a whole different set of dries for the winter?

    • This topic was modified 3 years, 10 months ago by  MarlTroutBum. Reason: Typo
    #1854

    Creek
    Participant

    In my area the only winter hatches we have are midges. Pretty hard to see on the water, so I usually drop a midge off of a larger dry, and watch for a take close to the large fly.

    It’s the one time of year that a strict dry fly fisherman is tempted to use a nymph. I avoid the temptation by only having dry flies with me at all times. Actually, I only have dry flies now. I gave away all my nymphs and emergers. It’s my easy way of self control.

    If you’re the type who has to catch fish to have a good time. Pure dry fly fishing is not the way to go. You just need to accept that some days you won’t catch any fish. I still enjoy trying.

    #1857

    Lightline
    Participant

    I’m lucky enough to have a tailwater close to home with midge hatches all year. I generally just use smaller patterns. Griffith Gnat kinda stuff. A CDC feather tied to a hook. #20 cripples. Emergers consisting of a thread body and something near the eye to keep it floating (CDC or foam) Nothing has to be too sophisticated.

    Now, on those warmer afternoons when the fish are actually up, that is, rising in a lane to bugs coming down, its sometimes fun to tie on a “summer” bug to see how many will break from their routine for a steak dinner. I’ll sometimes tie on a #16 ant, beetle, triple double (fancy Renegade), or para. Adams and throw it by a few risers. If they’re going to take it, its usually on the first drift through the lane. Sometimes they’ll even go out of their way. “Oh man! Look at the size of that! I haven’t seen anything that juicy in months. I gotta a have it!” Ok, maybe no that much thought, but instinct tells them that. Opportunity. Sometimes they’ll eat larger bugs for clusters too. I like La Fontaine’s Buzz Ball for a general “clump of dead stuff.”

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    This last one is a favorite. Just a few tail fibers, thread body, and a folded “clear” wing of packing foam. Wing is foam doubled over, tied in spent, and cocked upright or forward. Ends up having four little slices of foam together for great flotation and visibility. It’s called a “Gorge Burger.” Wing floats high, but body and shuck stay in the water I use it in an 18 and 20. You can do the same thing with a CDC wing.

    Here’s some fancier ties. Midges are simple, so I like simple better. No worries when you lose 3-minute ties to frozen fingers, light tippets, or teeth either. But . . .



    The last one, Triple Double, is my go-to fly all year for an attractor/something buggy/maybe an ant/gonna eat it fly. In tiny sizes, it works for midges. The larger versions will get a take from active feeders too. It cam make a selective riser temporarily lose its mind. I usually clip the hackle flush on the bottom

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 10 months ago by  Lightline.
    #1859

    Marty
    Participant

    I’ll try to post some pics next tying session
    Local tailwater has good winter dry fishing.
    Scud hook. Parachutes. Various bodies but red ribbed purple silk is # 1 mid dec-feb

    #1888

    MarlTroutBum
    Participant

    Lightline, thanks for the info and photos. I really like that last one, the Triple Double. I think I’ll tie a few of those up this weekend and give them a try.

    With such small flies, are dropping down to a 6x or 7x tippet too?

    #1889

    Lightline
    Participant

    I fish most of my smaller flies on 5X. I rarely, and I mean rarely, ever use 6x. Once in a blue moon on a bright day on Silver Creek, maybe. I don’t even own 7X. Gave that up 20-25 years ago too. Just don’t ever see a need for it, even on the so-called toughest waters like Silver Cr., the Livingston MT Creeks, other spring creeks, Henry’s Fk., etc. I can always get in the right position to present a fly with 5x and 6x. I think positioning and a good slack line cast is much more helpful than a slightly finer tippet.

    Admittedly, I go through more 3x and 4x tippet in a season than 5x. I fish those triple doubles in sizes 16 and 18 with 4x all the time.

    #1891

    Djfan
    Participant

    What’s that one above the triple-double?

    Also, I would love to see a head on picture of the midge with foam wings.

    Thanks!!!

    #1892

    Lightline
    Participant

    Above the TD is a John Sparger folded wing midge.
    Here’s a couple of quicky-shots of a Gorge Burger at a different angle.

    #1893

    Djfan
    Participant

    Very nice. Thanks!

    #1894

    Dry Fly Guy
    Keymaster

    I know it can be a lot of work, so please take this as simply a suggestion. But with the interest that seems to be indicated here, might I suggest posting a pattern (or two…) in The Hatch. Or in lieu of that, providing a link to the video or other instruction you used to “learn” the fly.

    As a “self taught” novice tier, I for one always enjoy seeing the process as well as the finished product, and often times pick up a little “trick” that may seem like “standard practice” to those of you with experience.

    ~ DFG

    #1900

    Lightline
    Participant

    I’ve never taken step-by-step photos of anything I tie. Maybe I’ll start! Most instructions can be found by Google. That’s what I do when I read or hear of a pattern name I don’t recognize. I’m usually reluctant to post links to other sites or forums because some forums don’t like that, but since its ok by you, then maybe we all can start doing that where appropriate. Most of the flies I use are so simple that one can tell just by looking.

    My top fly in this thread, for example, is a tail of poly yarn, and hackle wound around the hook, clipped on bottom. That’s it! LaFontaine’s Buzz Ball is just two or three hackles wound on a hook. Pick your colors. That’s it! The Triple Double is a hackle, dubbing, hackle, dubbing, and a hackle. All of these patterns could be tied by a beginner as his/her first fly.

    The Gorge Burger is a little poly for the shuck, black thread, and the wing. For the wing, take a piece of packing foam, fold it in half length-wise, and tie it in as you would a spinner. Then pull the wings upright into a clump and wrap around the base to secure them upright. Then trim to shape with scissors. That’s how you get the doubled wing on each side. You can do the same thing with CDC, and also snowshoe hare. I like the realistic look and visibility of the thin sheet packing foam. Its the kind that they wrap around electronics when packaged. (cell phones, etc)

    Here’s a video from John Sparger’s website of his midge. Now he calls it the “EZ dub midge cripple.” He’s got other goodies on there too!

    The key with these, and any good imitation fly, is to keep it sparse. Most flies are over-dressed. Less is more.

    I couldn’t find videos or step-by-step photos for the Burger, so just give it a try! Just tie a spinner, and bunch up the wings.

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 10 months ago by  Lightline.
    #1925

    rsagebrush
    Participant

    Lightline, nice flies and fishing emergers and cripples on all waters has been more effective for me the last few years than straight dry flies.

    I like mine half sunk in the film, especially in the winter or on tailwaters. I guess that makes it nymph fishing to some. In any event these types of patterns are very effective for me. Many times I will hang a Desert Storm, miracle nymph,spyder or hotspot PT off the bend.

    #1930

    JoeFriday
    Participant

    I consider nymph fishing to be anything entirely subsurface where you generally don’t see the take. I’ve recently started fishing a few emergers that hang in the film, and as long as I see the take I consider it real fishing.

    #1931

    Lightline
    Participant

    I fish a lot of 1/2-in 1/2-out stuff. In fact, nearly every fly I fish is “wet” somewhere. All the terrestrials have wet bellies. All the low riders. All the clipped hackle patterns. Any emerger of course. Just about any parachute pattern fishes best this way. That’s why the venerable parachute adams works so well in so many situations. Its really an emerger, not an adult, but passes for both to the trout.

    If any part of the fly is dry, its a dry fly in my book And it sure ain’t worth splitting hairs over. I rarely fish a fly that’s just skittering on its hackle or legs though. An adult caddis is about the only one that quickly comes to mind. I just don’t often fish any traditional, Catskill-style dries that ride high anymore, or full dressed attractors. I need to!

    #1932

    Creek
    Participant

    In it’s very name an emerger tells you what it is. It’s emerging to being an adult, but isn’t there yet. Fish take emergers sub surface.

    Look at flies for sale online. Click on dry flies. You won’t see any emergers.

    For me personally. I consider an emerger a sub surface fly, and don’t use them.

    No one says you need to fish dry flies 100% of the time unless you’re a purist. I’ve accepted being a purist, and in so doing. I accept no compromise with myself, or the flies I use.

    I did an experiment once. I fished nothing but the Adams for a whole year. My only compromise was that I used it in sizes #22 to #10. At the end of the year I realized I had caught just as many fish as using a box full of different flies. I used the small ones for midges. The big ones for the green drake hatch on the Frying Pan. Of course I was covered for all mayfly hatches. They worked for bigger waters to small creeks. All I need to do was find the right size, and give a good presentation.

    I never had so much fun fishing, and i’m thinking of doing it again next year. It’s a relaxing way to fish, because it takes away the pressure of what fly to use, and you can just concentrate on presenting the fly as it should be. You’ll be amazed at how many fish you can pull up to a dry when you think they won’t possibly work in some conditions. Of course the magic of the Adams helped too. 😀

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