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Old 02-05-2011, 11:17 AM
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Default What should I have in my box?

Hello all, I live in the western suburbs of Chicago. I will go ahead and apologize for living here; the gun laws suck and the politicians are, well, this IS where the current president came from.

Anyways, due to a crazy work schedule, I will most likely most avidly fish the Fox River here this year for walleye, smallies, bream, etc. I am new to this whole game, but have tied up some buggers and clouser minnows so far. I was wondering what else, aside from some poppers for bream, that I should buy materials for and make? Do you all make your own poppers or do you just buy them? They seem difficult to paint to me...

I also plan on going up to southwest Wisconsin for a couple or more trips to try and catch some trout. What should I have in my box for that area?

I have a 9' St. Croix Reign 5 wt with a Lamson Konic reel loaded with Scientific Anglers GPX floating wf 5wt line, so I may be limited to throwing some of the bigger stuff?

Also, I have noticed that dry fly hackle can get quite pricey, especially around where I live. Is there an online source that you guys use that has reasonable prices?

Thanks for all your help!
-Forrest
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Old 02-05-2011, 12:15 PM
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Default Re: What should I have in my box?

As far as topwater, I'd look into Gartside's Gurgler. It's a pretty easy pattern, and a lot less time consuming than many conventional popper patterns. You can also buy preformed foam popper heads at many fly shops, which cuts down on the time issue quite a bit.
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Old 02-05-2011, 02:52 PM
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Default Re: What should I have in my box?

Quote:
Originally Posted by famill00 View Post
I will most likely most avidly fish the Fox River here this year for walleye, smallies, bream, etc. -Forrest
I live in Northern Minnesota and fly fish for Walleyes and Smallmouth a lot. Clousers work really well for it. I will photo graph all the flies I use and post it for you. Dan
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Old 02-05-2011, 10:04 PM
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Default Re: What should I have in my box?

Hey Forrest you've gotten great advice.

As far as flies for trout, some of the bass and panfish stuff will work, like those woolly buggers, and the general anytime/anywhere classic trout patterns like Pheasant Tail and Hare's Ear nymphs, dries like Parachute Adams, Elk Hair Caddis etc, but more specific recommendations will depend on the specific streams and time of year. Here's a link from a local fly shop called the Driftless Angler (in SE WI) to give you a sense of some of the hatches and their timing during the year:

Local Water - Driftless Angler Fly Shop

So for example if you plan to trout fish SE WI in late April, you might want to have some patterns to match the Hendrickson hatch in your box. In May you might want some light bodied mayflies for the Sulphur hatch, or a few terrestrials (ants hoppers beetles) if you plan to fish in summer etc. And you'll definitely want a few ginormous patterns in your fly box to match the Hex hatch if you're on the water in June. Some of the larger dries like Hexes and grasshopper patterns will also be great flies to throw for smallmouth in the summer.

For dry fly hackle, you might consider something like a Whiting Hebert Miner Pro Grade Cape (about $30) for feathers in a range of sizes, generally from size 20 on up to size 10. If you're tying mostly in a more limited size range, like mostly size 14 and 16, then a Whiting Bronze Grade 1/2 Saddle might be a better bet.

Another option is the Whiting Introductory Pack of four 1/2 capes for $60. Look for one with 1/2 capes in grizzly, brown, light ginger and medium dun--- these colors will cover you a wide range of hatches and popular patterns.

Another option are the Whiting 100's for around $18, which are a pack of 12 or so saddle hackles that will tie 100 flies, but in only one size and one color--- although less expensive initially, a $30 cape or 1/2 saddle would probably be a better choice (and tie a lot more flies).

There's no need in my opinion for going with more expensive grades if you're just starting out and trying to build up an inventory of the basics.
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Old 02-05-2011, 11:55 PM
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Default Re: What should I have in my box?

Forrest,

As Mark said, good advice so far, I am not from your area but I fish freestone rivers, alpine lakes, and even soem local ponds occasionally.

GRHEs, PTNs, Copper Johns, Wooly buggers, in various colors always seem to work to some extent. Throw in few Black, brown, green, and tan nymphs with dark brown goose biot for the tail (and antenna if you like) and you can catch even more. For topwater, Adams, EHCs, and BWOs - not sure I use much of anything else, though I do tie them up in varying sizes and colors.

As for hackle, the whiting hundreds are great, I love them for dries. A nice cape is better and will let you tie a lot more variety. I personally only bought one cape (grizzly) for my first year of tying, anything that I put a hackle on, I used black and white grizzly (though a friend from this forum sent me some samples and a letter with a ton of insight into what to use when). I still use grizzly for a lot of the flies I tie, though I have branched out and have a bunch of other stuff to now for when I am feeling creative.

Tying does not have to cost a ton and you don't need everything all at once, search this forum and you will find a lot of innovative people who have dubbed and tailed from the family pet, built scuds with dryer lint, and find many good materials at the local salvation army (feather boas come to mind) or craft store. Just because a pattern calls for a certain type of hackle, don't be afraid to tie it with what you have. Heck, I tie a lot of stuff without having the exact ingredients, but it seems to be close enough when it comes to hooking fish on the river or in the lake.

Size (sometimes a little bigger or smaller is better), approximate color (get close - rust, burnt orange and furnace are pretty close in my opinion) and presentation (this is the critical part). get a buggy looking fly, of approx the right size, and in a color that either says eat me or chase me off, in the right place and you will catch fish.

Best of luck to you!

Dave
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Old 02-06-2011, 09:58 AM
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Default Re: What should I have in my box?

Quote:
Originally Posted by famill00 View Post
I have a 9' St. Croix Reign 5 wt with a Lamson Konic reel loaded with Scientific Anglers GPX floating wf 5wt line, so I may be limited to throwing some of the bigger stuff?
-Forrest
Using a 3X leader will help considerably in casting the bigger flies, as will an oval/Belgian cast. The GPX line will be a big help, and casts larger flies noticeably better than a SA Mastery Trout (for example). Toss a few Green Weenies in your box as well. They are a BREEZE to tie, and catch just about anything.
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Old 02-06-2011, 10:56 AM
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Default Re: What should I have in my box?

I mentioned this in another thread. If you want to do some legwork on your own, do a Google search for "hatch chart (name of river)." Hatch charts tell you what seasonal bugs are there and sometimes the flies that represent them.

For example, if you Google "Timber Coulee," you get this as your first link. If that one does not satisfy you, go down the list.

Quote:
Originally Posted by famill00 View Post
Also, I have noticed that dry fly hackle can get quite pricey, especially around where I live. Is there an online source that you guys use that has reasonable prices?
If you get Whiting or Metz hackles, expect prices to be consistent between vendors. Whiting and Metz products are usually sold around MSRPs.

There is a shortage of saddle hackles currently. It is so bad, that I can count the number of half saddles and full saddles that are at the shop on one hand. A new consumer group is buying up as many saddles as they can. That group is comprised of hair dressers and jewelry makers. Hair extensions and earrings made from saddle hackles are rather trendy right now. Last Friday, a woman from Colorado called and ordered $250 in saddles. Yesterday, a woman called from Hawaii. I could not fill her order.

One of the positive things is that there are still plenty of Whiting 100 packs at most retailers in sizes 14 and smaller. It seems that the hair dressers and jewelry makers like the size 10 and 12.

Anyways, good luck in your search.

MP
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Old 02-06-2011, 11:28 AM
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Default Re: What should I have in my box?

YIKES! That's crazy, Dennis! I bought a LOT of hackle last year, so I'm good for a while.

A forum member asked for a photo of the Green Weenie I use, so here
you go:
Click the image to open in full size.

That GW was tied on a #12 3X long hook, and weighted with .015 tin wraps (almost full length of shank, which is about 15 turns). I tie them with a slightly more open loop then others I've seen, as the tail acts as a rudder. My rudders really shake that fly even dead drifting. A loop any more open that the one on the photo can get wrapped around the hook bend. The only variation is to add a matte black bead, but I ran out of matte black beads a couple years ago. The local Orvis shop sells nearly 3,000 Green Weenies each year, and they work dead drifted and twitched. I've caught all sorts of bass on these, as well as trout, panfish, and a 24" channel catfish. The last was my favorite, as I was prospecting for bluegills in early March when he took the Weenie! I've been mostly fishing tiny dry midges for the past few months, but when I so subsurface, the Green Weenie gets tied on first.
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Old 02-06-2011, 04:24 PM
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Default Re: What should I have in my box?

Thanks for all your responses!
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