I'm pretty inexperienced in selecting flies for trout. I've fished the Rogue here in Rockford, Michigan a few times now and haven't seen to many fish rise to my flies. I tend to fish mornings. What are some of the flies you first try at early morning? I've tried #12-#18 dry flies (Im' not good with names yet). I have no experience in wet fly fishing or nymphing, so any advice is greatly appreciated. Thanks!
Are you fishing one or two? I'm also a morning fisherman when I can be. Depending on the variables- weather/water temp/time of year/ etc, etc... I have a couple ~ combos that are very effective. Elk hair caddis with a #20 Bead Head Hare's Ear dropper, Elk Hair Caddis with a red #20 Zebra Midge dropper, BWO with a #20 -24 RS2 dropper. Usually the action is on the droppers, unless I get a good BWO hatch going on..
The droppers are nymphs, except for the RS2, which I fish just sub-surface as an emerger. The BH Hare's Ear is a standard gold bead, the Zebra midges are either a standard gold bead or a tungsten bead, depending on the water. I usually tie them 20" off the dry, and adjust. 20" usually bounces the bead heads on the bottom in my little stream, if they start to snag I'll shorten it up a bit.
When you say morning do you mean the crack of dawn? To catch brown trout, and larger ones than I could count on with the dry fly latter in the mornings, I used to fish at first light with feather wing streamers.
I know that I just strayed into unknown territory based on your posting but learning to tie these flies and to fish them is well worth the time and effort you put in. The theory here is that you are into fly fishing for the long haul, and so you might as well tackle the streamers. You will be able to get with Woolly Buggers to start with but eventually the feather wing may become your friend at the creek or river.
The larger trout tend to feed overnight as I'm sure you've heard or read. At dawn many are still about the creek prior to retreating to their daytime hide. Many times they will be close to shore where they hunted or ambushed small fish, bugs, and etc. overnight. Because of this you should approach the waters edge with great caution and look for fishy places. By 'fishy' I mean where there is a current near by that would be transporting food past the lie of a fish. There may also be some sort of structure close at hand as well. Logs, large rocks, and undercut banks all provide the daytime hide for a brown trout of size.
The approach is the single most important factor after you've spotted where you either suspect or have actually seen a fish sitting. By approach I'm talking you have to decide which direction to come from to remain hidden while still being able to present a fly that will give the fish a look in a natural fashion. Natural does not mean flopping down on top or right near the target. natural would be to get the streamer into that current which the fish is sitting near watching for a final bite before retiring for the day.
Obviously I would have to put forth the makings of a chapter from a book in order to cover this topic thoroughly but there are some already available. With that in mind I'll save us both some time on this thread and suggest that you look for an old video or the book by Doug Swisher called Streamer Fishing I believe it is........... Although I can't say 100% of Doug's technique is applicable to everyone's situations, it makes an excellent introduction to the concept of fishing the sunken fly. The choice of streamer style will come from you, the fisherman, but using types that closely mimic the small fishes in your river or creek will be a plus for sure.
The book / video I mention is old but the methods are sound. Learning how to control the fly via the floating line is key to good presentations. As I said in the beginning, this takes time, in most cases many seasons but I did it and I'm sure you can too. By the sounds of it you are in good brown trout country so why not target some big boys early each time you go fishing and wait for the average fish to rise to the May Flies and Caddis later in the AM. This strategy has served me for many years on trout waters where the browns predominate and I believe it to be good advice. You can read about my introduction to the feather wings on my profile page's About Me auto bio. I wrote that when I joined the forum group almost 6 years ago and it has never needed to be changed. Fishing for brown trout or any species of trout requires an understanding of the habits of the species sought. The more you know about casting accuracy, fly control, and the fish you seek, the better your time on the water will be.
Flyboy, are the drakes and sulphers out yet? Last year about this time I fished the Rogue in Rockford and had success with both patterns. If there aren't any bugs hatching on the surface I might tie on a nymph for either a drake or sulpher or a sulpher soft hackle and see if they take it. Might drift it under a brown or gray drake dry just in case they are in the mood. I know the Hex shop has a store down in GR but they should also have one downtown Rockford, they should be able to help.
flyboy, I'm new to fly fishing and fish primarily on the Rogue as well, though mostly at night. I have fished the Pere Marquette several times this week and in the morning, mostly saw Caddis flies fluttering around on the surface. Last night Sulphurs (small and medium sized), large Drakes, Blue-Wing Olives (18/20), Caddis (about size 16), and I dunno as I'm pretty new perhaps some Light Cahill were out in abundance. A book that has helped been helping me immensely while learning is Ann Miller's 'Hatch Guide for Upper Midwest Streams'. It's rather pricey but talks about the bugs in Michigan, their behaviors, what flies imitate their life stages and has a handy emergence chart at the back. Great Lakes Fly Fishing and Nomad Anglers has them in stock. Maybe I'll run into you on the Rogue...I'm the short goofy looking chick that has to wear a life jacket cause I can't swim
Thanks everyone for the great responses! This will give me a great place to start. Hardyreels, I tend to start at the crack of dawn and fish till 11am or so. I picked up so wooly buggers this evening to give a try as well.
heronwheels, that is a great book and I bought it from the Orvis shop you described! Even participated in the class the Nomad Anglers offered. I'll be sure to look for the life shorter individual in the life jacket.
We're always glad to help. Remember, take your time and study things over real well before you make any sudden moves in the morning. I used to sneak along from tree to tree watching for any tell tail sign of a fish before I went near the water. In the long run it paid off, even real early morning I would wear my old cheap fish finder glasses and allow for my eyes to adjust to the polarized view. You just lean on a tree to break up your profile and focus on each area until out popped the outline of a fish................
.................Then back away slow and think about how I would get close enough for a real accurate cast with little to no disturbance. Nine times out of ten when we are unsuccessful in waters that have a good fish population it's because we inadvertently and sometimes unknowingly spooked the fish before we had a chance. Even here in Alaska when I'm after a fish who has never seen a streamer or Spey fly I must be cautious. They may not been keen to fishermen like fish in heavily pressured waters down south are but they are always watching for Eagles, bears, Otters, and the others who make their livings eating fish. An ounce of caution combined with another ounce of deductive reasoning is worth 2 pounds of high end tackle any day.