Friday, March 27, 2015

Filling the Box

Freyfisher provides us with permission to use the image on the left from wikicommons. These are Elk Hair Caddis.  Nice. Lovely snap.

I'm looking at the spring boxes.

I've too many diverse specialist flies that I love but never use.

I'm done with it.

Back to basics. I'll break down and go with terrestrial patterns later in the year but for now, my stocking will focus on  an mix of whim and logic. If you've got your boxes out at home, follow along. You know the dance steps already.

I also say that I was taught to select your likely flies and put those in your day box. Leave the big boxes back at the cabin.

So, this list constitutes the spring flies I'll have in the day box - depending - and in the resupply box back in the cabin.

(1) Royal Wulff. - I can see these well. I like them as dries and I like them as indicators I can follow when I have a nymph down below.

(2) Elk Hair Caddis - These are sentimental favorite. I learned on dry flies and the caddis was my go-to. Of course, this was on Colorado streams in the summer when fish were starving and ate anything that fell on the water. I thought the EHC was some special fly. I didn't know I was fishing it as a hopper at the time. I see these well in the drift.

(3) Parachute Adams. - I prefer the Wulff but I've a couple dozen of these in various sizes and will use them. Most of the time, I drown them and fish them in the film with the little parachute sticking up. I don't like them for an "on the water" dry but that's me. I've more confidence in the EHC or Wulff for a pure dry presentation to a rising fish.

(4) Griffith's Gnat - I use this fly too seldom. I love it as a dropper on the surface. I tie it 18" behind a Wulff at the end of the day and I can follow the wulff and not have to strain to see the 18 Gnat in the growing gloom. I should fish it more. I'm probably not alone in that either.

(5) Hackled Pheasant Tail. I'll use some with beads (not too proud there) and most without. I catch fish on the hackled. Not so much with the unhacked version.

(6) Hare's Ear Flymph - I like this fly in spring. I should fish this more in the early summer evening. I stay too long with something else and I think the dark color and flutter from the hackle is perfect for the light from the golden hour on out. I'm not using it enough. I tire of subsurface too quickly.

(7)  Partridge and Orange - I will  be using this as my exploration pattern when I don't see rishing fish. I'll still use it when I see rising fish. I'll use upstream drifts more.

(8) Partridge and Green/Olive - I have a bunch of these very light and very dark beasts that are perfect for the early season.

(9) Ants. - I don't try an ant often enough. I like the size 12 hard-bodies as beetle and bug imitation for under trees. I've been too lazy to tie them on in the evenings, though. I should try them more with the little trout in the backwater. I'm not above taking a 7" rainbow on a barbless hook with a 3 wt. I'll do a little dance for a bluegill.

(10)  Olive and Black Buggar. - I've no excuse for not trying for large trout more often with a great streamer set-up I own. The Ambush line makes it effortless to fish streamers without any of the voodoo of flying big hooks by my ear.

Big fish eat other fish. An 18" trout eats baitfish. I need to get over it.

On food rich streams in Michigan, fish don't have to feed all day. Big fish don't have to eat insects at all. More streamers very early, and very late. I should be casting streamers when I can't see to tie on again. Big eyes are easy with a threader even in the evening.

There it is. I'm not helping myself with a selection of Hendricksons in my day box. A partridge and olive in 14 and 18 will do just fine. I should be using those.

Better presentation. More flies under the surface than on it. More Hare's ear. More streamer very early and very late.

Simple. Cuts down on the flies needed. Puts the onus on me.

If you're borrowing flies, you'll know what I've got.

I'm going for more catching. I'm already happy just being on the water fishing so, no worries.


  1. Spike, agree. Sound refinement. Hard to go wrong with that, anywhere in trout country that I know of.

  2. Excellent. I've loads of flies that catch more fishermen than fish! Pretty, though. Mighty pretty.

  3. Wore a skwala in my earlobe (client put it there) all day once. Got home & fetched Ariel to remove it & she said: "You sure you want that out? Mighty pretty."