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Old 07-04-2011, 01:42 PM
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Default What's Wrong?

I went fishing on the Gunpowder in MD today. When I got there, fish were rising left and right. The only thing I saw coming off was caddis, so I used three colors.... Nothing. I switched to a sulphur, then an ant, then a grasshopper, then a patriot and lastly a black gnat. All the while fish are still rising all around me. I'm casting upstream towards the fish. I was there for about 4 hours. I also used different sizes of those flies, changed flies every 15-20 mins. I have only ever caught one trout- on the Rapidan in VA, a nice 12" brook. My presentation is good. I have been fly fishing for about 2 years, not much oppurtunity to catch trout though...

So the big question is, what am I doing wrong?
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Old 07-04-2011, 02:17 PM
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Default Re: What's Wrong?

Hi Nate,

Sorry to say but unless I were there to watch what was happening I can't begin to solve the mystery. There are many things that can cause fish to ignore a fake bug floating on the surface. My answer was always the same if I had any trouble matching the hatch, I tied on a # 18 or 20 Blue Quill. The fly was one having real mallard quill wings in slate gray and this pattern produced in every place I have ever fished with a dry fly. When I say 'every place' I mean from the Canadian Maritime Provinces across America, and I catch Grayling, trout, and char on the pattern here.

For a river like yours I would use the #20 and a 7X fluorocarbon tippet. Those fish have seen it all. Also be sure you aren't laying fly line over them or false casting right over them. Fish with people experience tend to recognize fly lines and that makes them more skeptical of something floating overhead.

best I can do from this distance,

Ard
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Old 07-04-2011, 03:15 PM
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Default Re: What's Wrong?

Nate I agree with Ard about the size of the fly and the tippet... next time you could also try an emerger or a very light subsurface nymph...you could also try 3/4 downstream presentation if the river is wide enough.
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Old 07-04-2011, 03:23 PM
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Default Re: What's Wrong?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hardyreels View Post
Hi Nate,

Sorry to say but unless I were there to watch what was happening I can't begin to solve the mystery. There are many things that can cause fish to ignore a fake bug floating on the surface. My answer was always the same if I had any trouble matching the hatch, I tied on a # 18 or 20 Blue Quill. The fly was one having real mallard quill wings in slate gray and this pattern produced in every place I have ever fished with a dry fly. When I say 'every place' I mean from the Canadian Maritime Provinces across America, and I catch Grayling, trout, and char on the pattern here.

For a river like yours I would use the #20 and a 7X fluorocarbon tippet. Those fish have seen it all. Also be sure you aren't laying fly line over them or false casting right over them. Fish with people experience tend to recognize fly lines and that makes them more skeptical of something floating overhead.

best I can do from this distance,

Ard
I can't find a pattern for the Blue Quill. Do you have it?

Also, I was using size 14-16, so that could have been my problem.

Thanks,

Nate
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Old 07-04-2011, 03:38 PM
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Default Re: What's Wrong?

Ditto on the emerger. I'd try a Sparkle Caddis dropper off an Elk Hair Caddis. I'ts been a long time since I fished a MAryland stream, so maybe there are local flies that work better there.
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Old 07-04-2011, 05:20 PM
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Default Re: What's Wrong?

Google rise forms, maybe they were taking emergers and not dries, my best guess without actually being there.
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Old 07-04-2011, 08:40 PM
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Default Re: What's Wrong?

Definately give an emerger a try. Also not sure what length leader you used I would use a long leader. I use a 9ft leader and tie on 3-4 ft of tippet on east tn tailwaters.
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Old 07-05-2011, 06:30 AM
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Default Re: What's Wrong?

Don't blame yourself too quickly... I've been on the GP four times since last Wednesday and can report pretty much the same. The water is running as clear as I have ever seen it-- you can count pebbles in 5 feet of water and you can see the fish lined up in the deepest holes but they don't chase anything above or below the surface. My wife and I have thrown a little bit of everything at them.

Skies have been clear and there's been a lot of sun... Yes, there are a few trout taking something in the film but most are skittish. You can see them dart off as you wade the shallower sections.... I've talked to about a dozen other fisherman on the river and at the local fly shop and they report about the same as you.... Add to this that the area from Masemore down becomes tuber/kayaker/canoeist super-highway on weekends and holiday and you have a recipe for disappointing days... best times seem to late evening...

A friend, on facebook, reported getting a few small browns on midges fished in the film. We're heading back today (extra long 4th) and plan to start off with some tiny midges to see what happens....
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Old 07-05-2011, 08:37 AM
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Default Re: What's Wrong?

Nate, as the others said it's hard to tell you what was going on with the fish without being there...That being said a couple of questions did spring to mind...

You mentioned seeing Caddis, were the fish actually feeding on them? What other insects did you see in the air or on the water? There are times when you might guess based on local knowledge and be totally off base; seeing small yellow mayflies in your mind because it's sulfur time, but in reality you have small Yellow Sallies...The point on this catch the predominant bug you see and ID it...

My best guess is that DHaynes hit the answer for you, Midges in the film.

When you get to the stream you're going to fish sit down and watch what's going on for a little bit and see if you can tell what the trout are feeding on.

Good Luck,
Dan
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Old 07-05-2011, 11:27 AM
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Default Re: What's Wrong?

I strongly suggest buying a copy of Gary Borger's new book "Fishing The Film." There are just to many possibilities as to why you didn't catch fish. "Rise Forms" is actually less descriptive then most of us realize.

They could be taking off the surface of the film in which case if you watch closely you'll see noses sticking out of the water - in which case they should take a well presented dry fly if it is the right size and color (Often you don't even have to have an exact imitation).

They could be taking bugs stuck in the surface film in which case you may see a slow head and tale rise.

They could taking just below the surface film in which case you will see a bulging rise, but no head or tale.

There are more...thats just a few examples. "Fishing the Film" goes into much more detail, but its written in a way that is easy to understand.

Each of the above require different tactics and different flies, dry flies, emergers, cripples...

Everyone has given you excellent advice, but I still suggest getting that book, because afterword you won't just have a few ideas of what to try, but an understanding of when to use certain flies and why. Taking the time to read the book, which isn't very long will also cause the information to stick, plus you can read it several times. The great thing is applying the information IMO will take your fishing to the next level.
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Last edited by FlyBum; 07-05-2011 at 01:05 PM.
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