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Old 07-19-2010, 04:30 AM
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Default What Size Flies For 1 to 1-1/2 lb Brook Trout?

I'm fishing in a pond close to home that is known for 1 lb + brook trout and are fairly simple to get with spinning gear.

However, with the fly rod, I'm getting mostly "nuisance" hits by ~ 6" trout.

I currently have a stock of a couple of dozen #12 flies in the preferred local patterns (as recommended by a local) but I'm starting to believe a # 12 is too small.

Opinions?

Thanks.

Jamie.
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Old 07-19-2010, 10:27 AM
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Default Re: What Size Flies For 1 to 1-1/2 lb Brook Trout?

Hi Jamie,
Some might argue that a #12 is too big. Many have gotten 20" fish on flies size 20 or smaller. If that ever happens to you, welcome to the 20/20 club.

The important thing is to have a fly that matches the diet of the fish. If that bug matches some sort of caddis in a size 12, that's the meal ticket. If the matching but is midge in a size 20, that's what you should be throwing.

What you may want to do is buy some flies in various sizes. Experiment with them, and see what works and what doesn't. From there, you will be able to make your future choices based off your experiences.

I guess that means that you will have to fish more. Rough... isn't it?

Have fun.

MP
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Old 07-19-2010, 03:56 PM
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Default Re: What Size Flies For 1 to 1-1/2 lb Brook Trout?

Hey Jamie,

As Mosca pointed out, having a little variety is a good thing. If you see signs of fish actively feeding see if you can tell what fish are on and try and imitate it with something in you box.

But often there may not be much going on on the surface, so I'd add some subsurface patterns to your box as well.

Since you're targeting some of the bigger fish in the pond, I'd add something big and meaty-- like a big black Marabou Muddler or Zonker size 4 or 6 (or a woolly bugger size 8). There are lot's of other choices you could add but these are 3 widely available patterns just as examples.

In ponds streamers and buggers can be very effective on a short leader with a sinktip, or if you're using a floating line, a muddler or bugger (weighted with wire wraps, a bead head or a conehead) can be effective. Cast it out and "count down" a couple of mississippi's to let it sink a bit, and retrieve it with sharp twitches.

Keep increasing the count until you hit bottom--- or start getting slammed by fish. (If trout decide to take it, they'll generally really whack it.)

Finally you mentioned they were generally pretty easy to catch on spinning gear. What do folks generally use with a spinning rod? If it's lures like mepps spinners, rooster tails, little cleos or spoons etc that imitate baitfish, then that's another indication that a streamer might be a good choice.

Good luck and keep us posted on how you're doing.
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Old 07-19-2010, 04:36 PM
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Default Re: What Size Flies For 1 to 1-1/2 lb Brook Trout?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MoscaPescador View Post
Hi Jamie,
Some might argue that a #12 is too big. Many have gotten 20" fish on flies size 20 or smaller. If that ever happens to you, welcome to the 20/20 club.

>>>>SNIP
WOW, guess I have to rethink this all over again. I never would have thought a #20 hook would have held a fish that big.

Quote:
Originally Posted by peregrines View Post
SNIP<<<<Finally you mentioned they were generally pretty easy to catch on spinning gear. What do folks generally use with a spinning rod? If it's lures like mepps spinners, rooster tails, little cleos or spoons etc that imitate baitfish, then that's another indication that a streamer might be a good choice.
Around here, with spinning gear, the top bait by far is a plain old single blade (wider seems better) spinner (as below) with a nice fat worm on a #8 or 10 hook.

Click the image to open in full size.

For some reason, this below works great in some ponds too, but damned if I've ever seen anything looking like this as a possibility for fish food.

Click the image to open in full size.
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Old 07-19-2010, 04:58 PM
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Default Re: What Size Flies For 1 to 1-1/2 lb Brook Trout?

Hi Jamie,

Welcome to the forum board. Before I say what I think I must ask, are you planning on releasing the fish when caught? Not that I feel my advice is more effective that those comments already logged but I release all trout and am reluctant to tell someone how to clean out a pool. I trust you will understand my thinking.

Ard
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Old 07-19-2010, 06:30 PM
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Default Re: What Size Flies For 1 to 1-1/2 lb Brook Trout?

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Originally Posted by Hardyreels View Post
SNIP<<<I trust you will understand my thinking.

Ard
Understood, and taken with the utmost of respect.

I know it's cliche, but I keep enough for a meal for Her Majesty and I once in a while, and for her mother occasionally. While I don't consider myself a true conservationist, I hate waste.

I live in a place where the cod stocks have been decimated by overfishing so I won't be a part of that result of any other creature.

Jamie.
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Old 07-19-2010, 07:56 PM
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Default Re: What Size Flies For 1 to 1-1/2 lb Brook Trout?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jamieof View Post
WOW, guess I have to rethink this all over again. I never would have thought a #20 hook would have held a fish that big.

A well regarded book on Flyfishing in AZ called "The Flyfishers guide to Arizona" by Will Jordan say this is the back where he discusses common AZ flies.

"Zebra Midge (sizes #16-24) - It never ceases to amaze me how a few wraps of thread and wire on a tiny hook can be so effective at catching large rainbow trout. The Zebra Midge has probably accounted for more trout over 20" in Arizona than any other pattern."

I know that most common sizes people buy are #18-#22. So there are a lot of very big trout caught in AZ on little tiny flies.
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Old 07-19-2010, 08:25 PM
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Default Re: What Size Flies For 1 to 1-1/2 lb Brook Trout?

I can relate to that, however I would caution against harvesting the largest males from the fishery. Those fish are indeed your hope for the future of fishing there. I also would keep a tight lip regarding any positive results to any other fishermen as far as where you fish exactly.

The first thing to do is to not fish, spend some time observing the pond. You haven't mentioned whether this is a beaver pond or some man made one. If there is an inflow you will want to pay close attention to that area. Through observation you will learn where the larger fish reside and feed. The smaller fish will occupy those ares allowed them by the absence of large fish.

Once determining where the fish are at you must now consider presentation. If the pond gets sufficient fishing pressure the large fish that remain are not there because they are stupid. They will be wary. Although windy days are not the best for casting fly lines they along with rainy days create enough surface disturbance to help to hide the landing of a fly line. If you wish to fish surface flies I would not go larger than a #18 Blue Quill and otherwise would use Lew Oatman's Brook Trout Minnow tied to his recipe.

The rest is up to you as far as your ability to make presentations when and where you need to. The point of study and observation can not be stressed enough. All to often a person begins fishing while having no prior knowledge as to where the fish are at. This often results in poor yield in catch. I do not cast until I am pretty sure I'm going to catch something. This would perhaps be a good experiment for you to adapt as regular practice.

Good luck,

Ard
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Old 07-20-2010, 06:08 AM
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Default Re: What Size Flies For 1 to 1-1/2 lb Brook Trout?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hardyreels View Post
I can relate to that, however I would caution against harvesting the largest males from the fishery. Those fish are indeed your hope for the future of fishing there. I also would keep a tight lip regarding any positive results to any other fishermen as far as where you fish exactly.

The first thing to do is to not fish, spend some time observing the pond. You haven't mentioned whether this is a beaver pond or some man made one. If there is an inflow you will want to pay close attention to that area. Through observation you will learn where the larger fish reside and feed. The smaller fish will occupy those ares allowed them by the absence of large fish.

Once determining where the fish are at you must now consider presentation. If the pond gets sufficient fishing pressure the large fish that remain are not there because they are stupid. They will be wary. Although windy days are not the best for casting fly lines they along with rainy days create enough surface disturbance to help to hide the landing of a fly line. If you wish to fish surface flies I would not go larger than a #18 Blue Quill and otherwise would use Lew Oatman's Brook Trout Minnow tied to his recipe.

The rest is up to you as far as your ability to make presentations when and where you need to. The point of study and observation can not be stressed enough. All to often a person begins fishing while having no prior knowledge as to where the fish are at. This often results in poor yield in catch. I do not cast until I am pretty sure I'm going to catch something. This would perhaps be a good experiment for you to adapt as regular practice.

Good luck,

Ard
Thanks Ard.

A little insight to this pond:

It's natural, roughly rectangular shaped, about 2000 ft long by 750 at the widest. There's no beaver dam at the brook running out, but there's an active lodge about 100 ft from the brook running in.

That brook running in is slow moving and basically being fed by a marsh. It has a muddy bottom, 6'-8' wide and 4'-6' deep and I can usually hook 1 or 2 12" + trout in that brook on a spinner. The area, let's say 40' radius, where the brook runs in, has a few lily pads and grasses and is populated mostly (from what I can tell) by small trout up to 7". (NOTE: This is an area I like to fish with the fly rod because it's a comfortable place to learn with mostly scrub brush, so minimal taller growth to interfere with the back-cast.) It's just outside of that where the vegitation is more dense the bigger ones hang out, with a "reported" presence of numerous German Browns (personally, I've never hooked one here). A little point of land just below the beaver lodge gives access to the outer range of the vegitation line with spinning gear, and that's mostly where I hook the bigger ones. However, dense spruce and pine grow right to the edge, and the pond depth and bottom type prevent any access, even with chest waders, and hence for someone with my "fly" casting skills (or lack thereof), unreachable.

Now my thoughts have been that if I can catch decent trout in the brook, and know they're on the edge of and outside the vegitation line, they have to be travelling back and forth around the area outside of the brook. While I realize this is probably faulty logic, I haven't accepted yes it's totally wrong.

As for the diet of the trout, I've cut open the gut of several, and regardless of size, it looks to be the same with various small dark flies and some grubs.

I have had some success with the following popular local patterns for the smaller ones:

Mosquito:
Click the image to open in full size.

Royal Coachman:
Click the image to open in full size.

Brown Wulff:
Click the image to open in full size.

Cow Dung:
Click the image to open in full size.

So, to end the rambling, the diet of all sizes of fish seems to be the same, hence the reasoning for the original question in this thread, the size of the fly.

From what I've taken from the responses in this thread, a #20 can just as easily take a big trout as a #12, so back to the drawing board and some more studying.

Jamie
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