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Old 10-13-2012, 05:25 PM
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Default Two quick questions about flies

Hey guys so today I visited my local fly shop for the first time. A lot of their flies were not labeled though to show what size they were. Other than asking the people working, is there a good way to be able to accurately tell what size they are?


My second question is about terrestrial flies. How are you supposed to fish them on still water? Also if I am using them than I will likely be using a dropper with a hares ear attached. Thanks guys!
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Old 10-13-2012, 05:55 PM
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Default Re: Two quick questions about flies

The first question: Other than having a known hook of the same style for reference, then no there is no accurate way to just look at a fly & tell the size. With experience, you can tell close within a size, but hook sizes are not standardized, particularly from one brand to another. Between different styles it gets even more confusing. Some styles & brands of the most popular hooks will often be very close, but not always exact in sizing.

Second question: Terrestrials are land insects, and when they fall into the water, usually do so with a noticeable plop. For me, that's been the best way to fish them, followed by a dead drift for several seconds, then a slight twitch. Larger terrestrials such as hoppers or crickets, will usually kick & struggle, so imparting a little extra action is sometimes a good idea. However, if that doesn't work, the plop with a dead drift can also work well. There is never a single answer to how to fish any fly. Try different things to see what the fish will take.
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Old 10-13-2012, 06:18 PM
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Default Re: Two quick questions about flies

Ok awesome thanks!
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Old 10-13-2012, 08:34 PM
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Default Re: Two quick questions about flies

x2 for what big jim said.

Here are a few thoughts on terrestrials on still water:
1. If there are overhanging branches or rocks/logs in the water, slap the bug down near them like it fell off.

2. But remember bugs drift around the lake, unless they sink. So if fish are rising near the drop off but there's no structure near by, just cast your beetle out there and let it sit like it floated out from near shore (or was blown in by wind) and wait for a cruising fish. There's a cutthroat lake I enjoy where they love foam beetles 30 feet from shore, just at the drop-off.

3. If you have a hare's ear dangling under it, watch for the terrestrial to dip under to signal a fish taking the nymph. Finally, if there's an outlet creek to the lake, fishing out from that can be great. The slight flow in the lake towards the outlet can concentrate bugs on the water in that area and fish might hang out to feed.
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Old 10-13-2012, 08:38 PM
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Default Re: Two quick questions about flies

I'm not sure anyone can actually eyeball what size a fly is with any kind of consistency, but with experience one can estimate what size a fly effectively is. At the end of the day, we're really only concerned with how a fly fishes, so it's all good, right?

If you're looking for a specific size fly, I'd just ask the guys/gals at the shop for what you want.

How to fish terrestrials on stillwaters is a heck of a question. The short answer is to fish them however works. I'd experiment from super still, through small twitches every now and then, to small twitches more often, to larger twitches/strips every now and then, to larger twitches/strips more often, all the way to a mix of all of the above. You just never know what will work on a given day or a given body of water.

Full disclosure, I have a lot more experience fishing stillwaters for bass than for trout.
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Old 10-13-2012, 09:19 PM
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Default Re: Two quick questions about flies

Thanks guys for all the great information. My rod should be here Monday according to fedex, so I will be trying out all the suggestions out later this week. Thanks again!
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Old 10-15-2012, 05:28 PM
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Default Re: Two quick questions about flies

If you are youngish... any size fly you think will catch fish...if you are 50 + ...it depends on how bad your eyes have gone...I limit myself to size 14 or 16 while on the water and 20 or smaller at home.
Why you might ask....because I can't match up that 8x or better with anything bigger than 14 or 16. I just can't see the hole or the tippet end.
If I am at home doing pre-tied tippets, with my hi-pwr light and mag I can do 24 or smaller. Invarible I lthey end up in the trees and bushes. So I end up tying on the stream.
Why I keep going for those tiny Brookies ...I just don't know
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