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Old 06-29-2013, 06:57 PM
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Default Having Problems Fishing

I went up to the East Branch Eau Claire River (in case any of you have ever fished it before) in Wisconsin. It's supposed to be filled with brook trout, and I've read about people having 20-40 fish days on it. But anyway I was fishing on it for 2 hours, before I lost my mind because of leader and tipper tangle ups , and I didn't catch anything except for 3 shiners. I saw a large amount of rises and some fish jumping and rising, which I knew were brookies because of their brownish orange bellies, and I couldn't tell what they were jumping and rising for. There appeared to be nothing but the occasional caddis fly on the water and that was it. I casted out a few different flies from a purple haze to an adams to even a pass lake (I could really only use dry flies since there was so much algae or weeds underwater). Some brook trout jumped either right next to my fly or at it and I got no hook ups on them.

Has this ever happened to you? If so, what did you do to solve it? It was fairly frustrating and I will rarely get to fish this river. Oh, and is there any way to keep the shiners from taking my flies? Also should I try nymphing in the pockets of open water? There were A LOT of stonefly, caddis, and mayfly nymphs. Sorry for writing a novel here, but I'm desperate right now.

Last edited by pikefisher69; 06-29-2013 at 07:32 PM.
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Old 06-29-2013, 07:34 PM
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Default Re: A Real Predicament

From the sounds of some first hand reports I received tonight, you're lucky to have found fishable water! Although I think that's a bit north from where my report came from.

Anyway, when I see fish rising and jumping but don't see anything coming off I typically tie on a midge or go with some sort of emerger. Sometimes I'm lucky enough to solve the riddle of what they're eating and other times I go home and think about it for days until I go back again

If you saw stones, caddis and mayfly nymphs, it's not going to hurt you to try them. I often turn over rocks to see what I find, then look in my box for something similar. The only way I know to keep the shiners off of your line is to change to a fly until they stop eating it.

By all means, give it a go again and try to solve it, that's 1/2 the fun--knots and tangles notwithstanding.
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Old 06-29-2013, 07:54 PM
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Default Re: Having Problems Fishing

Quote:
Originally Posted by pikefisher69 View Post
Oh, and is there any way to keep the shiners from taking my flies?
Hi,

If you can find any current / riffles this will be the best chance. I would use a small streamer #6 perhaps and sneak along the shore out of sight and toss the fly to the most likely looking spots to find something with some size before I tried solving the mystery of what they are taking. That is unless I were seeing some big brook trout hitting the surface.

If you are able to hike upstream I would probably go snooping for places that were without the alga and weeds and seek out some current. The brookies (if they control the stream) should be everywhere even in the current. The larger ones may be hanging on the edges of currents close to hiding spots. Take your time and explore for the best location and have fun.

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Old 06-29-2013, 10:44 PM
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Default Re: Having Problems Fishing

My first solution in the situation you were in would be to start throwing soft hackle dabbed with floatant - run the gamut between brown, olive and buff from #14's - #18's (smaller if you have them). Won't take to long to figure out if any of them work, just a couple of casts each.

Next option for me would be peacock herl and starling combinations.
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Old 06-29-2013, 11:16 PM
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Default Re: A Real Predicament

I have had the sort of situation. I wonder if caddis were hatching and fish were taking them sub-surface or right in the film. I might have tried a Rosenbauer rabbit's foot emerger. They can be fished right in the film or dropped down a bit as needed.

The caddis you did see, were they still on the water and then flying off or were they moving across the water?
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Old 06-29-2013, 11:37 PM
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Default Re: A Real Predicament

The caddis I saw were just going with the current
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Old 06-30-2013, 06:17 AM
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Default Re: A Real Predicament

Has this ever happened to you before?

Oh man yes, I remember a steelhead trip were if it wasn't for the quality suckers I was catching I would have been skunked. So two things- did you get any pics of your shiners and if you need someone to put you on some premo suckers, I'm your guy...

...back to the relevant question-

In your case I would try a dry dropper rig with an elk hair caddis as the first fly, then about 14 inches of tippet tied directly to the hook shank followed by some form of emerger.
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Old 06-30-2013, 06:27 AM
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Default Re: A Real Predicament

Quote:
Originally Posted by russellb View Post
Has this ever happened to you before?

...

In your case I would try a dry dropper rig with an elk hair caddis as the first fly, then about 14 inches of tippet tied directly to the hook shank followed by some form of emerger.
I agree. You needed to get below the surface.
And/or try smaller flies.
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Old 06-30-2013, 05:13 PM
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Default Re: Having Problems Fishing

Your question really is a very basic one.

However, that does not mean the answer is simple. What you have asked breaks down to three questions that are at the core of fly fishing.

What were the brookies taking, what fly match the hatch, and how do I present the fly?

Answering those 3 questions form the basis of a fly fishing strategy. The lack of a coherent strategy results in playing a fly box lottery in which you try different flies hoping to hit the right one.

I suggest you read this thread on matching the hatch.

Help with Matching Hatches

Then I suggest you read my FAQ on fishing the dry fly that I wrote for the Flyfish@ mailing list. follow up with my other FAQs

Henry's faqs menu

I also need to ask whether you are familiar with rise forms.

If you look very carefully, you can tell how the fish took the aquatic insect, and where the insect was in the water column.

Here is an illustration from Field and Stream that shows:

Click the image to open in full size.

1. A sipping rise to an insect trapped in or on the film, fine rings in the water = emerger, stillborn emerger, spinner, some small midges.

Click the image to open in full size.

2. The slurping rise leaves a bubble, the fish's mouth breaks the surface to take a fully emerged insect = mayfly duns and other insects that have fully hatched.

Click the image to open in full size.


3. The splashy rise, the fish slashes at the fly = typically a rise to caddis that can fly off immediately or a large terrestrial on the water like a grasshopper. The fish want the insect not to escape OR wants to beat another fish to the food.


Click the image to open in full size.

Click the image to open in full size.

4. The boil or head and shoulder rise. The water bulges but the fish's mouth does not break the water. The fish's shoulder or dorsal fin may break the water as the fish heads back down = The fish is feeding below the surface chasing nymphs or pupa that are rising in the water column to hatch. They are intercepting the food on the way to the surface and overshoot and break the surface or cause a bulge of water.

Click the image to open in full size.

Click the image to open in full size.


Now apply that to what you have written:

Quote:
Originally Posted by pikefisher69 View Post
I went up to the East Branch Eau Claire River in Wisconsinů. I was fishing on it for 2 hours, before I lost my mind because of leader and tipper tangle ups, and I didn't catch anything except for 3 shiners. I saw a large amount of rises and some fish jumping and rising, which I knew were brookies because of their brownish orange bellies, and I couldn't tell what they were jumping and rising for. There appeared to be nothing but the occasional caddis fly on the water and that was it. I casted out a few different flies from a purple haze to an adams to even a pass lake (I could really only use dry flies since there was so much algae or weeds underwater). Some brook trout jumped either right next to my fly or at it and I got no hook ups on them.

Has this ever happened to you? If so, what did you do to solve it?
So what were the fish feeding on? From the patterns you mentioned, you never said you tried a caddis which is the one insect that you saw on teh water. Also the splashy rises suggest to me that the fish were feeding on caddis.

So I would start with a tan or grey X-caddis and depending on the response of the fish, I might go down a size. Why smaller? Because fly fishers tend to overestimate the actual size of a caddis fly especially when they are flying.

My backup fly would be an earlier stage of a caddis emerger with an iris caddis pattern.

If that did not work, you go to an even earlier stage and try wither a soft hackle OR a caddis pupa pattern using the Leisering lift.


BTW, where do you live pikefisher?
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Last edited by silver creek; 06-30-2013 at 06:48 PM.
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Old 06-30-2013, 07:39 PM
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Default Re: Having Problems Fishing

Quote:
Originally Posted by silver creek View Post
From the patterns you mentioned, you never said you tried a caddis which is the one insect that you saw on teh water. Also the splashy rises suggest to me that the fish were feeding on caddis.
I did use a caddis, but I don't think that I was using it in the spot that I saw splashes, so that may have been my problem. And I live about 20 miles north of Milwaukee, do you live in Wisconsin silver?
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