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Coldwater Fly Fishing Trout, Salmon, Steelhead, etc...

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Old 02-17-2013, 09:02 AM
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Default Multipurpose patterns/sizes for NOT a trout fisherman

Hi - I recently fished the dry river, VA (brook trout) and had a blast. I like that you can use mostly attractor dry patterns and general nymphs and catch those little guys. This is good because I am not an experience trout guy and I don't pay much attention to hatch charts and stuff.

My question: I have tied various sizes of PT nymphs, tiny #18 zebra and blood midges, and brassies - are there some "general" nymph patterns that will tend to work underneath of almost any hatch out there?

I know this depends on the specific water, but that's just the point -- I'm looking for a small list of patterns/sizes to carry in my truck to give me a chance virtually anywhere there are hatches (rainbow and brown, not brookies).

Oh, and most hatch charts I've seen always mention the caddis and mayflies, but rarely the midges. Are they usually concurrent but not mentioned? Are they considered less imporant as a food source? Not as sophisticated? I have these tiny #18 midge nymphs and was wondering when to use them....

Thanks -- I know that's a lot of stuff to throw at you .
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Old 02-17-2013, 09:32 AM
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Default Re: Multipurpose patterns/sizes for NOT a trout fisherman

"Matching the hatch" is only important about 10% of the time.
The rest of the time it's a good presentation that catches fish.
Hare's ear, PTs, prince nymphs..... Adams, elk hair caddis...... woolybuggers.. a couple of soft hackles, maybe......
After that everybody has their favorites, but the most important thing is the natural presentation.
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Old 02-17-2013, 09:52 AM
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Default Re: Multipurpose patterns/sizes for NOT a trout fisherman

A bead head pt on a curved hook in a 16,or 18 with copper bead and wire in natural or olive will work most places.
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Old 02-17-2013, 10:04 AM
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Default Re: Multipurpose patterns/sizes for NOT a trout fisherman

Well, I very much agree with what Rip Tide has said, but don't forget terrestrials. Not something you might use in the colder months, but during warmer times, in one form or another, they're present every where. Unlike aquatic insects, presentation with terrestrials is not always critical, as being land insects, they're usually clumsy on & in the water as they struggle, so trout & other fish know they won't act as an aquatic might. Beetles, hoppers, crickets & worms are eaten by more than just trout.

Also, don't over look baitfish, crayfish & stonefly patterns, as even trout will feed on them when there are no other hatches. I use a large stonefly nymph quite a bit when fishing for Smallmouths. It's the type of pattern that could also imitate crayfish, Hellgrammites, or even a large cricket caught in the water.

I don't fish for trout much, but when I do get the opportunity, the majority of the flies I might use are generic patterns that could imitate many things.
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Old 02-17-2013, 10:23 AM
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Default Re: Multipurpose patterns/sizes for NOT a trout fisherman

Quote:
Originally Posted by bigjim5589 View Post
, but don't forget terrestrials.
I realized that after I finished my post.
There's a reason why ants are a trout's favorite food. They taste good! Try one sometime..seriously.
The Griffith's gnat makes for a a passable terrestrial or midge cluster.
I'd add that one to the dry fly column.... size 18 would be a big one
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Old 02-17-2013, 10:46 AM
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Default Re: Multipurpose patterns/sizes for NOT a trout fisherman

Around my parts many different flies work for different fishermen. With a few working for all. Shrimp, leech, green machine, Adams, mosquito, butterfly, to name a few.

I have found fish to be more pickey of color combinations, than actual patterns. For instance, one place I fished produced more fish on lighter, grizzly hackle type flies, with contrast. Light with dark, or dark with light, depending on body to wing and tail. The darkest patterns were typically passed up on. The largest fish I took on a larger dry white miller. I honestly think its colors and combinations that attract the most attention. The lighter earthy tones, green greys, to green browns, to light browns and beige. I really like a little red, and flash added in here and there too. If its the right color and size, and its buggy looking it's probably going to work. Unless of course the fish are very well educated or leader shy.
just me 2 cents worth.
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Old 02-17-2013, 10:51 AM
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Default Re: Multipurpose patterns/sizes for NOT a trout fisherman

Ah, griffith gnat! I should tie some of those....forgot about that pattern. That's my kind of dry fly.

I also have neglected to tie any hare's ear nymphs....which appear to be imitative of a lot of nymphs.

Thank you for the tips all! This is helpful stuff to a non-trout fly fisherman (for the most part).
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Old 02-17-2013, 11:53 AM
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Default Re: Multipurpose patterns/sizes for NOT a trout fisherman

Quote:
Originally Posted by turbineblade View Post
My question: I have tied various sizes of PT nymphs, tiny #18 zebra and blood midges, and brassies - are there some "general" nymph patterns that will tend to work underneath of almost any hatch out there?

I know this depends on the specific water, but that's just the point -- I'm looking for a small list of patterns/sizes to carry in my truck to give me a chance virtually anywhere there are hatches (rainbow and brown, not brookies).
Gold ribbed hares ear #12-16, some unweighted and some weighted or gold bead head. For even more variety tie them in natural and olive.

Dave's Red Fox Squirrel #12-16, some unweighted and some weighted or gold bead head.

Pheasant tail #14-20, some unweighted and some weighted or gold bead head.

Zug Bug or Prince, #12-16, some unweighted and some weighted or gold bead head. On the bead head ones, you might also try adding a "hot spot" or fluorescent red or orange behind the bead where you tie off the tying thread. (Simply using flo red or orange for your tying thread achieves this.)

Copper John #14-18.

Gary Lafontaine's Bead Head Twist Nymph, #14-18, in both peacock and pheasant tail versions. Try tying some with a fluorescent red or orange "hot spot" as well as the regular pattern.

Quote:
Oh, and most hatch charts I've seen always mention the caddis and mayflies, but rarely the midges. Are they usually concurrent but not mentioned? Are they considered less imporant as a food source? Not as sophisticated? I have these tiny #18 midge nymphs and was wondering when to use them....

Thanks -- I know that's a lot of stuff to throw at you .
I haven't had much luck with midges on moving water. I do carry a few, but it's not very often that the fish are selectively keyed in to feeding on them rather than anything bigger. Where they seem to be most useful is in rich, spring-creek or tailwater environments when there is a specific midge hatch occurring. (Others may have had different experiences but that's mine.)

---------- Post added at 11:53 AM ---------- Previous post was at 11:39 AM ----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by turbineblade View Post
Ah, griffith gnat! I should tie some of those....forgot about that pattern. That's my kind of dry fly.
If you're looking for suggestions other than nymphs, then also:

Wooly Bugger #8 or 10

Hornberg dry (but you can pull it under and fish it like a streamer) #10 or 12

Black ghost marabou streamer #8, 10 or 12

Parachute hare's ear #12-16

Parachute Adams or Parachute BWO #16-20

Parachute Light Cahill or Parachute Sulphur #14-18

Royal Wulff #10-16

Ausable Wulff "12-16

Yellow Humpy #12-14

Elk Hair Caddis #12-18, in natural hare's ear, peacock, and olive

Hare's ear caddis #12-18. Can't always find these commercially but they are easy to tie: just a hare's ear body with a mixed grizzly and brown rooster hackle. Fish them dry and skitter on the surface to imitate an adult caddis, or pull them under and fish wet to imitate an emerging pupa or egg-laying adult. Mix a little Antron with the hare's ear dubbing for sparkle if you like.

Leadwing Coachman wet #12-14

English March Brown wet #12-14

Blue Dun wet #14-18

(And I'm not even getting into the soft hackle wets, which can be great as both wet flies and emergers, but not necessary for a basic selection.)
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Old 02-17-2013, 01:30 PM
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Default Re: Multipurpose patterns/sizes for NOT a trout fisherman

Quote:
There's a reason why ants are a trout's favorite food. They taste good! Try one sometime..seriously.
Dang, I did miss the ants didn't I !

Good call Rip!
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Old 02-17-2013, 01:56 PM
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Default Re: Multipurpose patterns/sizes for NOT a trout fisherman

Lots of good suggestions here that I'm in agreement with. One I *think* was missing is beetles. Crowe beetles are good for selective fish. I like the foam beetles for a dry/dropper setup or simply fished by itself.
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