01-05-2010, 10:56 PM
Re: Essential Flies
You've gotten off to a great start with those four patterns, and you've gotten great advice from the guys for adding some streamers and buggers-- they're good for typical early spring conditions of high and off colored water, as well as good patterns for deeper water pools.
Soft hackles are also good searching flies especially in riffles, and do a good job of imitating emerging mayflies and caddis. Partridge and Peacock size 12 and Partridge and Orange 14 would be good, easy to tie choices.
Getting advice from a shop on hatches for the waters you plan to fish is also a good idea. Try and get a sense of the "big deal" hatches-- they ones that tend to occur regularly year after year and last a bit--- Blue Quills, Blue Wing Olives, Hendricksons/Red Quills, March Brown/Gray Fox, Light Cahills, Sulphurs, Isonychia and Tricos would be typical examples on a lot of streams, with other hatches typically being more hit and miss. They can also give you some advice on specific patterns that fish well for them.
In terms of what you have already, you might want to add some new styles of tying to your bag of tricks as well while you round out your box. You can find step by steps on tying all this stuff using "the google', and feel free to ask if you have any questions on materials etc. Here's some stuff to think about adding-- I'm sure other folks would have a different list:
Rusty Spinners 14-18 to imitate the final adult phase of the mayfly lifecycle. They often lie flush in the film with "spent" wings (horizontal instead of upright). This pattern will cover a variety of mayfly spinners. You can tie them without wings, just using a few wraps of white cream or grizzly hackle, (clip hackle on some top and bottom to get spent wings, leave some "in the round" to imitate females that skitter around on the surface laying eggs) You can also tie versions without hackle and use synthetic white Poly wings tied "spent" (Poly Wing Rusty Spinner).
Some small dark dries for early season Blue Wing Olives 16-20 and Blue Quill 18. They can be small Adams if you already have them, or an easy to tie alternative are some Sparkle Duns tied with Medium Dun CDC instead of deerhair (Much easier to tie in smaller sizes, and avoids/postpones the need for expensive hackle in those sizes). Dub the bodies with dark olive for BWO 16-20, and mahogany brown for Blue Quill 18 using a 12 color assortment of fine dry fly dubbing (Super Fine, Fly Rite etc).
Sparkle Dun/Comparadun style flies tied without hackle, using deer hair fan-wings for flotation on larger dries like Hendricksons etc. Based on advice from the shop, try and tie some up to match specific major hatches. This is a VERY good style of tying to learn-- effective, versatile pattern (imitates an emerger as well as a dun) and inexpensive. You can use this style of tying to imitate virtually any mayfly hatch just by varying sizes and colors, and by tying the very similar X caddis you can do the same for all the caddis hatches.
Divided Flank Wing (the Catskill style classics) and Parachute style flies- depending what hatches you have you might want some Quill Gordons 14, Hendricksons (female) and Red Quills (male) both in 14-16, March Browns 12-14 and Gray Foxes 12-14. Both styles are worth knowing how to do.
Heavily hackled, divided hair wings if you fish a lot of fast water -Wulff style flies are an example. The Ausable Wulff versions using both a rusty orange body and light tannish body 12-14 is a great choice for eastern waters although less famous than its cousin the Royal Wulff.
As you get close to mid-May, you'll want to add some light colored mayflies to match common hatches like Light Cahills 14 and Sulphurs 16-18 Feel free to tie them in whatever style parachute, traditional hackle, sparkle dun etc.
In June you'd want a few ants and beetles. This would also be a good time to add some Muddler minnows to imitate sculpins. It's a good pattern to fish, and will teach you how to spin deer hair. Add some big marabou muddlers too-- a big fish fly.
July add some hoppers 8-10 2xl and tricos 20-24
Based on the advice of your shop there may be some hatches that you'll need specific flies for-- examples would be any of the big honking drakes (Eastern Green Drakes, Brown Drake, Yellow Drake) and some of the late spring and summer stoneflies, stuff for spring creeks etc. And once you know what hatches to expect, you can do some research on the ones you plan to hit hard or ask here and you'll get some specific recommendations for patterns.
Last edited by peregrines; 01-05-2010 at 11:31 PM.