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  1. #1

    Default Best small stream flies?

    I am new to fly fishing and to this forum so I hope I am posting this in the right section. I want to start tying my own flies. I want to keep it simple by tying only a few fly patterns. If you could only bring 5-10 styles of fly what would you choose for a small western NC stream during the summer? Thanks in advance for your help.:

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Wasilla / Skwentna, Alaska
    Blog Entries

    Default Re: Best small stream flies?

    Welcome to the forum,

    The question could be as simple as taking some Elk Hair Caddis and some Adams patterns along the next trip to the stream and looking for what else is hatching there. Picking up a copy of Art Flick's Stream Side Guide to Natural Insects and Their Imitations will be a great help to you.

    You don't have to be able to identify every Mayfly or Caddis you see but it is good to understand what you are seeing and how to imitate it. The book will help.


    Anywhere can be the land of great expectations, broken dreams, or paradise found, it's all up to you.

    Life On The Line - Alaska Fishing with Ard
    Ard's Forum blog, Alaska Outdoors

  3. #3

    Default Re: Best small stream flies?

    Thank you for your help. Ill get that book.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2008

    Default Re: Best small stream flies?

    Keeperjb- welcome to the forum-- you'll also want to check out the fly tying forums here too for lot's of info in past threads, especially about gear to get started, questions on materials etc. A lot of it can seem overwhelming at first, but hang in there. As you start tying you can also feel free to post pics of your flies if you want some constructive feedback from other tyers.

    We also have fly swaps that come up from time to time so feel free to jump in on them as time allows--- all skill levels are welcome, including beginners.

    OK, now for some specific suggestions--

    Great advice from Ard-- Flick's book is a classic (and inexpensive).

    Fishing during the summer can be tough at times. But at least in most mountain streams, fish tend to be a bit less picky--- the water tends to be moving faster which doesn't allow much time for close inspection, and the mountain streams tend not to be as productive as tailwaters and spring fed creeks, so fish tend to be more eager to grab a potential meal.

    There's a lot of great resources out there on the web, including you tube vids etc. Charlie Craven's website will be an excellent resource for you. BTW, Charlie's book "Basic Fly Tying" is the best one out there for someone just starting up tying trout flies, but you'll definitely get a feel for the quality of instruction from accessing the (free) info on his site which include step by step instructions for many patterns. To access the info click on the fly box link on the left of the main page. It will bring you to a drop down menu with "1 shop pictures" showing--- but click on the drop down and it will take you to a list of patterns. You can click on each one for a materials list and a step by step tutorial with pics. You can find step by steps to tie all of these on Charlie's site (as well as other sites on the web).

    For a good start some woolly buggers, a couple of nymphs, a wet fly and some dries to imitate a caddis, a mayfly, and a terrestrial would be a good start to have a well rounded box- but as Ard suggested, for a mountain stream it would be pretty tough to beat an Elk Hair Caddis and an Adams just because they're so much fun to fish and to see a trout come up to the surface and whack them. Although they might be a bit difficult to tackle if they're your first flies. (The foam beetle might be a bit easier dry fly to tie, productive during the summer and still a ball to fish)

    Here are some suggestions for specific patterns, a step by step tutorial for each can be found under the same name on Charlie's site. Going from easiest to hardest to tie:

    Black or Olive Woolly Bugger- a good starter fly, this is also a good fly to use for fishing pools, ponds and lakes for trout and bass. A size 8 would be a good all around choice to start

    Pheasant Tail (Nymph) size 16

    Gold Ribbed Hare's Ear (Nymph) size 14

    You can add some 2.4mm or 3/32" gold beads (these sizes fit most 14-16 size hooks) to some Gold Ribbed Hare's Ears and Pheasant Tail Nymphs.

    Soft Hackle (a wingless wet fly). The body can be floss, dubbing or a "rope" of twisted peacock herl, with one or two turns of partridge or hen feather for a collar. Standard patterns include Partridge and Orange (or green or yellow) using silk or rayon floss or even tying thread, Partridge and Peacock, Partridge and Pheasant Tail, Hare's Ear and Partridge etc. All/any of these are a good searching flies and imitate various emerging, egg laying and drowned mayflies and caddis. Size 12 or 14

    Foam Beetle- easy to tie, a good summer time pattern, doesn't use expensive dry fly hackle. You can get 2 mm foam at craft shops much less expensive than fly shops. Cut it into strips with a straight edge ruler and razor blade. You can use a sprig of white or yellow synthetic yarn in place of the yellow foam in the tutorial (easier) to help follow it on the water. Size 14

    Elk Hair Caddis- a good high floating fly, and a must have in your box for mountain streams, size 14 and 16

    Parachute Adams size 14 or 16 In addition to being an excellent all around pattern this will teach you to tie parachute style flies--- good mayfly imitations for slow water. By varying size and color you can imitate many different mayfly hatches using this "style" of tying.

    There are many other options as well, but these are all good basic patterns that are good fish catchers in their own right and are proven patterns that catch trout everywhere they're found. And they're also are good patterns to learn because they'll teach you a range of different fly tying techniques used on zillions of other patterns.

    Hope this helps--- keep asking questions--- and hope to see you in the fly tying forum. Good luck!

  5. #5

    Default Re: Best small stream flies?

    Most of the trout I have been fishing for are wild rainbow trout between 6-12 inches. What size flies should I try?

    ---------- Post added at 06:55 PM ---------- Previous post was at 06:40 PM ----------

    Thanks! I think Ill get my vice and tying equipment in the next few days!

  6. #6

    Default Re: Best small stream flies?

    I'm from WNC also and all I fish is the small water up here. I suggest stimulators, grasshoppers, copper johns, flash back prince nymph. Also tie some of those adams with paracheutes. Send me a pm, we might be able to meet up sometime.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2008

    Default Re: Best small stream flies?

    Hopefully the fish won't be too picky in the mountain streams.

    Size 14 and 16's would be a good start for Elk Hair Caddis and Parachute Adams

    Size 14 for a foam beetle

    Size 14 for a Hare's Ear Nymph

    Size 16 for a Pheasant Tail Nymph

    Size 12 or 14 for a soft hackle wet fly

    Size 8 for a woolly bugger

    These sizes would cover a good range of different natural insects you'd probably find in the stream as well as being reasonably easy to tie (You might want to tie a size 20 parachute at some point but you don't want to start there for your first one.) They will also be large enough that small, aggressive trout hopefully won't swallow them, the dries will be easy to see on the water in those sizes, and the hook sizes won't require super light tippets.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Best small stream flies?

    I almost forgot, be sure you have a few foam green drakes with you. If you ever get into a hatch of those thats when those big 15-18" wild fish come out to play.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Best small stream flies?

    Thanks for your help guys! I cant wait to start tying my own!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Monroe, Michigan

    Default Re: Best small stream flies?

    You got great advice on small stream flies...I'll add one I just used for the first time on a recent trip; Kelly Galloup's Butch Caddis. It was very visible in the shadows and riffles, and more importantly the little Brookies were all over it. There is a U-Tube video out on it.


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