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Old 06-01-2010, 08:49 AM
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Default Newbie here needs help

Hey all,

New to the forum and pretty new to fly fishing and had some questions for anyone willing to listen and help.

1.) I have done my basic reading of entomology and have a general understanding of what a mayfly is and what a caddis is however recognizing them on the stream has proven difficult. Any ideas or thoughts as to what I should be doing to get a better idea of what the fish are biting on?

2.) When it comes to organizing a fly box what is the best method? There are so may different fly patterns I guess i am trying to get an idea of what are the basic ones and what sizes should I be looking for. Right now I am not tying my own flies but will eventually. For now i am relegated to buying them at a premium. I understand that this is an open ended question as this could be different for everyone, but I am just looking for a starting point as to what patterns I should be focusing on and sizes to buy as well. I fish in the New York area for trout mostly.

Thanks
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Old 06-01-2010, 09:00 AM
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Default Re: Newbie here needs help

to the forum.
Have a look around you and under stones.It doesn't matter if you can't name flies just try to find the one in your box with the same size and color...As for a flybox it would be a good idea to go to a flyshop in the area you fish and they should advise you about the basic flies to use.One of the best fishermen I know has been fishing all his life with one fly...the same pattern in different sizes and colors
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Old 06-01-2010, 10:25 AM
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Default Re: Newbie here needs help

Quote:
Originally Posted by ehavs79 View Post
Hey all,

New to the forum and pretty new to fly fishing and had some questions for anyone willing to listen and help.
Welcome to the forum.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ehavs79 View Post
1.) I have done my basic reading of entomology and have a general understanding of what a mayfly is and what a caddis is however recognizing them on the stream has proven difficult.
Learn the basic morphologies of the bugs. Here are some examples
Adult mayflies - slender bodies, upwings
Adult stoneflies - long bodies, downwings
Adult caddis - short to medium length bodies, tent shape wings.

Also learn the nymph stages.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ehavs79 View Post
Any ideas or thoughts as to what I should be doing to get a better idea of what the fish are biting on?
You can flip over some rocks to see the different bugs. You can also seine the water to see the buglife. Read this page.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ehavs79 View Post
2.) When it comes to organizing a fly box what is the best method? There are so may different fly patterns I guess i am trying to get an idea of what are the basic ones and what sizes should I be looking for. Right now I am not tying my own flies but will eventually. For now i am relegated to buying them at a premium. I understand that this is an open ended question as this could be different for everyone, but I am just looking for a starting point as to what patterns I should be focusing on and sizes to buy as well. I fish in the New York area for trout mostly.

Thanks
Don't expect to memorize every name of every fly that you have.

There are so many ways to organize your flies. You can have boxes organized for the specific waters that you fish. You can have boxes that are just certain types of bugs that you fish. You can have boxes that are just certain styles of flies that you fish (nymphs, dries, streamers).

If you are starting with just one box, organize them by the different bugs and styles. Keep you caddis, separated from your mayflies and stoneflies. Then separate your your dries, nymphs, and streamers.

MP
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Old 06-01-2010, 10:28 AM
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Default Re: Newbie here needs help

In the air, mayflies are are fairly graceful and fly in an up and down pattern, while caddis are quicker and more spastic. Stone flies fly much the same as caddis but the 2 sets of wings make it easy to tell the difference.
Speaking very generally, hatching mayflies are larger and darker in the spring and as the weather warms become smaller and lighter in color. When the weather cools in the late summer there's a few larger ones, but count on tiny in the fall.
Not all streams or even sections of them will have the same insect life, but a good way to start is to study a hatch chart for one in your area. After that the best way to learn is "time on the water".

Here's a chart for the Neversink that will generically cover most area streams.

http://www.flyshack.com/HatchChart.aspx?RiverID=6
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Old 06-01-2010, 03:44 PM
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Default Re: Newbie here needs help

Hey ehavs,

For me, I find that the easiest way to organize my flies is to have a box for each species of major insect.

Box 1: Mayflies-Duns and Nymphs

Box 2: Caddis-Adult, pupae, and larvae

Box 3: Stonefly(May also put in some terrestrials this summer) -Adults and nymphs

Box 4(6inch Wheatley compartment box): Parachute Flies, Emergers, Suds, and any nymph, mayfly dun, and midge pattern under size 18

** I like the compartment box for tiny flies.

I know its a lot of boxes but its what works best for me. Either way you organize your box, I would suggest you separate your flies by the species of insect.

As for flies, I would start out with a Flashback Bead Head Pheasant Tail nymph in sizes 14-18, or a Bead Head Hares Ear nymph sizes 12-18. Also, when you start tying flies, these two flies are great for begginers and they are two of the best nymph patterns. I live in NJ and I have been having great success on a Pheasant Tail size 16.

I would deffinatly recommened going to a local fly shop(if you have one) and asking the people there for pointers on what flies to use on the water you will be fishing. If you fish with in the next few weeks, be prepared to buy a lot of flies as the Mayfly activity is getting hot here in the Northeast.

Hope this helped. If you have anymore questions on flies or insects, dont hesitate to ask.

Bobby
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Old 06-01-2010, 05:10 PM
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Default Re: Newbie here needs help

ehavs79-

Welcome to the forum, you’ve gotten great advice. And there are a bunch of great resources to help get you started. Where in NY do you fish?

First, to get a general sense of the basic lifecycles and to be able to recognize examples, here’s a link to Jerry Hadden’s site. He’s a fly fishing guide in the Catskills and his site has a ton of good basic information.
Wild Trout, Delaware River Fly Fishing Guide Jerry Hadden

From his home page, first click on Aquatic Insect Identification and from there look click on the “Life Cycle” tab to get a drop down of mayfly, caddis and stonefly life cycles.

Study them to be able to recognize the general appearance of
Mayfly (nymph, emerger, dun, spinner)
Caddis (different types of cased and free living larva, pupa, adult)
Stonefly (nymph, adult)

Another site that has great info is Troutnut.com Fly Fishing for Trout, with detailed info and pics of different insects. Here’s a good page to start that shows pics of the main categories of trout food: Aquatic Insects of American Trout Streams

Second, get a hatch chart for the area you plan to fish—many can be found online, and if you have a local flyshop near where you fish they‘ll have one. This will give you a big head start on what to expect on the stream, and you can pick up or tie flies based on what you are most likely to run into.

There is also a ton of other info on Jerry’s site including a hatch chart for the Delaware (which also should be good for most Catskill streams) but it may be too much detail at this point—at this point you should concentrate on the major hatches you’re likely to run into not every possibility that includes sporadic/infrequent hatches.

Most good hatch charts will tell you the insect’s common and Latin name, the hook size, patterns that can be used to imitate it, and time of day they typically emerge so you can be on stream to catch it.

You can then look up specific insects you see on your hatch chart on Troutnut to be able to recognize it on stream or google "fishing the __(whatever)___ hatch” to get some tips on tactics for fishing that hatch.

As for #2, you’d probably want to have some flies that would do a couple of different things- cover you for some of the major hatches that will happen now through the summer as well as be good searching flies when no hatches are going on, and to have a mix of flies that will cover you for different situations (a few streamers, fast and slow water dries, and some wets and nymphs) A good local shop if you have one can help you pick out a selection, and many have stream reports that will give up to date info on hatches taking place as well as flow rates and stream conditions.

Tell us what flies you have now, and maybe we can suggest some additions. Assuming you have many of the usual suspects in your box already, this time of year, many of the darker early season mayfly hatches are winding down and giving way to yellow and cream colored ones. Dries like these would be good to add for most streams in NY (and elsewhere in the east):

Sulphur Sparkle Duns 16-18,
Light Cahills 12-14
Cream Variants 10-12

Ausable Wulff size 12 is a good fast water fly for searching riffles and pocket water. It's also a decent imitation for March Browns and Gray Foxes that are winding down now in most areas.

Some rivers with slower silty sections (like the Delaware) get hatches of Drakes. These are big honking mayflies and specific imitations are required for Eastern Green Drake duns and Coffin Flies (the spinner form of Eastern Green Drakes) size 6-10, and for Brown Drakes duns and spinners size 10-12. These Drakes hatch in June and when they occur it's typically at dusk until dark. These hatches can bring up big fish but are often hit or miss. The good news is that fishing an imitation on streams where they occur can often bring vicious strikes even when no naturals are on the water.

Keep asking questions, and let us know where you are-- I'm sure folks can point you in the right direction.
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