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mikeman715 01-24-2012 11:57 AM

Identifying fly patterns
Alright, I know this is an extremely rookie question. However, its something that I just can't quite grasp.
How the heck do you choose the right type of fly pattern for a particular stream/river? How do you guys decide when to use a dry, nymph, scud, streamer, etc.? Is there certain literature I should be reading or videos to watch that can help me with this? Because, to be honest, most of the nymphs are similar to me. HELP PLEASE!:icon_redf

gatortransplant 01-24-2012 12:14 PM

Re: Identifying fly patterns
Hey Mike, I'm still pretty new to fly fishing and choosing patterns is sometimes hard. It gets even worse when you have a pattern you really like and you just want to stick with it, even when its not working and you're just being stubborn.

First of all, are you familiar with what a "rise" is? When a fish is coming to the surface to feed? When you see these, especially in quantity, you may want to start using a dry. The best way to pick WHAT dry to use is to see what is floating in the water, or what you see flying around. The more you fish, the more you'll learn here, but reading helps too. As far as wet flies/streamers, you certainly can't really go wrong with buggers, just have darks and lights, and of course, the usual olive! Nymphs can be very very useful but I'm just now learning them myself. However, you can't really go wrong with the favorites, copper johns, prince nymphs, pheasant tails, etc.

You can also always rely on turning over rocks and looking in the underwater grasses. The other day while fishing a spring creek I checked some underwater grass and found a bunch of scuds and aquatic worms (basically tiny san juans is what they looked like), which probably explained why scuds were working.

Keep following this forum, and I guarantee you'll learn more! THis forum, along with fishing buddies, is my main source of information, but I also read magazines and some books.

mcnerney 01-24-2012 12:31 PM

Re: Identifying fly patterns
Mike: Another aid to picking fly patterns is to see if you can find a hatch chart for the river you are fishing, sometimes those can be obtained by searching online or visiting local fly shops. Your local fly shop should also be able to clue you in on what is working at any particular time. If you know anyone else in your area that fly fishes they can also be a big help, that is one reason we always recommend looking to see if there is a local fly fishing club in the area. By joining the local club you will have opportunities to talk with folks that fish in that area and you might be able to get someone to help mentor you. Having someone with local knowledge is a huge step in the right direction in determining what fly patterns to use at different times of the year. Best of luck!

silver creek 01-24-2012 12:58 PM

Re: Identifying fly patterns
Back in the mid 1990's, I wrote a series of FAQs for Flyfish@. I suggest you read these FAQs in the following order:

Reading Water

Dry Fly


s fontinalis 01-24-2012 01:39 PM

Re: Identifying fly patterns

Originally Posted by silver creek (Post 384730)
Back in the mid 1990's, I wrote a series of FAQs for Flyfish@. I suggest you read these FAQs in the following order:

Reading Water

Dry Fly


Some great info there, I printed them out as bedtime reading. Thanks for posting the links

oarfish 01-24-2012 02:23 PM

Re: Identifying fly patterns
Yes, thanks for adding the links.


silver creek 01-24-2012 02:24 PM

Re: Identifying fly patterns

I've learned more since I wrote the FAQs.

Specifically, when you read the water, you should also read the food. Different forms of mayflies, caddis and stoneflies live in specific water types. For example, stone flies like fast water as do the clinging mayfly nymphs. So even if you don't seine the water, you have an idea what kinds of foods are in that type of structure.

If you type "nymphing" into google, my FAQ still is in the top 5. I guess there are still enough folks reading it.

There is another article that I wrote for the Wisconsin TU newspaper that may also help. See pg 23 in the issue below:

rockhunter 01-26-2012 10:29 PM

Re: Identifying fly patterns
Great links thanks

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