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  1. #1

    Default What Should I Change to Hook These Fish?

    So, last week I spent the morning fishing Bear Creek in Lair O' Bear Park.

    I started off with a dry dropper setup and had no luck with anyone hitting the beaded nymph on the dropper, except for hits on the attractor black ant with white wiggly legs (forget the name)

    Unfortunately I couldn't HOOK any of these guys. SO I switched to a double dry setup with this same ant and different smaller dry flies hanging out of the back side.

    I STILL couldn't get any fish to hit the smaller fly. They would only hit the larger one. I finally hooked and landed one guy after about 15 hits.

    Super frustrating. Any hints???

  2. #2
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    Default Re: What Should I Change to Hook These Fish?

    Did you try a hopper? Beetle? Large stimulator? Maybe a Chernobyl ant? Are you postive what you see "hitting" are ALL trout? Could some be another species like sucker, chub, or dace? I only ask becasue I've seen it happen.

    Next time take a seine and find out what's going on. I would almost bet a dry caddis or stimi in the right size will get the job done there this time of year.

    CFF

    Sent from my VS988 using Tapatalk
    Nice fish! Do you have anymore pictures of it lying in the dirt?
    As publicity increases so does the propensity of tripping over yards of mono attached to a Dipsey sinker.

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  4. #3

    Default Re: What Should I Change to Hook These Fish?

    I’m actually not a big fan of multiple flies when fishing dries.And yes I am in the minority. But the first thing I would have tried in your case was to get rid of the dropper and then work from there.

    Also, and again I’m in the minority, but I seldom have success hooking fish with the top fly if I have rigged by tying the dropper to the bend of the hook. I think that leader coming off the rear of the top fly is more of an impediment than we often think.

    And multiple rises to a large fly without hook-ups makes me think that a smaller dry fished by itself would have been more successful. You just get many more “short” rises to a fly that is too big.

    Or do something else like swing a soft hackle to those fish. But swinging a soft hackle is sort of my fall back answer to most fishing problems.

    Good luck,

    Don

  5. #4
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    Default Re: What Should I Change to Hook These Fish?

    I'd stick with one fly and work on a good drag free presentation. If you are getting hits but you are not hooking the fish they are probably false takes. When this happens try a smaller fly and they might eat it. Good Luck
    Keep 'em wet!

  6. #5

    Default Re: What Should I Change to Hook These Fish?

    I'd try two flies in a drag-rich presentation... by swinging a cast of two wet flies, one dark and small, one of a lighter mottled color slightly larger in size. Example flies:. Syl's Midge and a Red Tag,. #12 Patridge and orange and a #16 Williams Favorite. If sunny, a Black & silver spider and a Gold ribbed Hare's ear wet fly. If cloudy, a Red Tag wet fly and a sparse snipe and purple .

    Sent from my Pixel 2 XL using Tapatalk

  7. #6
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    Default Re: What Should I Change to Hook These Fish?

    This may or may not be your problem: it may be that the fish are actually grabbing the legs of your 'ant' (I'm guessing it's a Chernobyl ant), instead of the body. Small fish have a tendency to bite the legs of hopper-like insects/fly patterns for some reason in some instances.

    I've had some success with cutting the legs down about half or switching to a smaller version of the same pattern. For example, just a couple weeks ago I was on the Gunny getting fooled by little fish grabbing the legs of my Chernobyl sz 6, so I tied on the same fly but in a size 10. I started hooking up. On a couple of these fish the hook was buried into the outside of their jaws, so I'm guessing that they fish still grabbed the legs, but the body of the fly was so much closer to their mouths that they got stuck anyway.
    "Three-fourths of the Earth's surface is water, and one-fourth is land. It is quite clear that the good Lord intended us to spend triple the amount of time fishing as taking care of the lawn." ~Chuck Clark

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  9. #7
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    Default Re: What Should I Change to Hook These Fish?

    Make sure the fish are actually taking the fly before you lift. I've often seen fish rise right beside the fly, then rise again to actually eat it. I've also pulled the fly out of many an open fishmouth before he or she wanted to chomp down on it.

    Kinda fun trying to outsmart a critter with a brain smaller than your thumb, ain't it????

    CAB

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  11. #8
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    Default Re: What Should I Change to Hook These Fish?

    I just spent the day fishing during which I had fish rise and role over a fly multiple times, The fly was an ant pattern I tied myself. For some reason, the trout were attracted to the fly but just would not eat it. I swapped out flys multiple times until I tied one that had been taking up space in my fly box for a couple years, the same size as the first but a different pattern, the fish loved it. Sometimes fish are funny, they just have days when they want what they want. It's not that you necessarily did anything wrong.

    Bill

  12. #9
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    Default Re: What Should I Change to Hook These Fish?

    Sounds like refusals to me. Sometimes when your pattern is really attractive to a fish but there is something just a tiny bit off, a fish will charge up at it but decide not to eat at the last possible moment (presumably when they notice the thing that is not quite right). I had this happen over and over again on a new river I fished last year during a sulfur hatch. The river is heavily fished, with notoriously picky fish. My sulfur patterns apparently did not not have exactly the right color of wings. A trip to the fly shop to get the exact same flies, but with slightly darker wings seemed to do the trick. Until I got just the right fly from the shop I was beside myself. I would get a rise to my fly probably once every 3-5 casts and it looked like a clear hit. The fish would actually sink the fly...but every time I set the hook, nobody was home. I was using a single dry fly so a two fly rig was not the problem. Anyway, when I told the fly shop owner about my experience, he had no hesitation telling me it was refusals. I didn't really believe him until I saw the difference for myself with the new flies.

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  14. #10

    Default Re: What Should I Change to Hook These Fish?

    Quote Originally Posted by marty mcfly View Post
    Sounds like refusals to me. Sometimes when your pattern is really attractive to a fish but there is something just a tiny bit off, a fish will charge up at it but decide not to eat at the last possible moment (presumably when they notice the thing that is not quite right). I had this happen over and over again on a new river I fished last year during a sulfur hatch. The river is heavily fished, with notoriously picky fish. My sulfur patterns apparently did not not have exactly the right color of wings. A trip to the fly shop to get the exact same flies, but with slightly darker wings seemed to do the trick. Until I got just the right fly from the shop I was beside myself. I would get a rise to my fly probably once every 3-5 casts and it looked like a clear hit. The fish would actually sink the fly...but every time I set the hook, nobody was home. I was using a single dry fly so a two fly rig was not the problem. Anyway, when I told the fly shop owner about my experience, he had no hesitation telling me it was refusals. I didn't really believe him until I saw the difference for myself with the new flies.
    What Marty is describing is a "late refusal."

    The thing to remember is that trout have very poor vision compared to humans. So we can use the type of rise form and timing of a refusal to gauge how close our fly and presentation is to the natural.

    Basically, the longer a fish examines the fly before refusing, the closer the fly and presentation is to the natural. You will find yourself in situations when a fish will rise and refuse just at the last moment. You cast again and it will rise almost to the fly before it refuses. On the third cast it comes up just a bit before refusing. On the 4th cast, you get no reaction. It has learned that you fly is not the real thing.

    So a late refusal is not a bad thing because:

    (1) You know there is a fish in that location that will take a proper fly with a proper presentation.

    (2) You know the the fly and presentation were very close to the natural.

    I said that drag is #1 cause for late refusals. So counter drag:

    (1) Examine your casting position. Is there a better location from which to cast that would cross fewer currents, make of fewer mends, and longer drag free drifts.

    (2) Lengthen your tippet. If you have 2 feet of 5 X, put on 3-4 feet of 5 x.

    (3) If lengthening the tippet does not work go down in tippet diameter. Try 3-4 feet of 6X when 5X doesn't work.

    If reducing drag down NOT work, then you must assume it is the fly.

    (1) Put on an earlier stage of the pattern you have on. If you have on dun pattern, try an emerger. If you have an emerger, try a "floating" nymph in or just under the film.

    (2) If an earlier stage does not work, then consider that you may have a masking hatch. Look for smaller flies on the water.

    Look for a smaller insect hatch that may be masked by the larger insect that is more obvious to you. The smaller insect hatch is more prolific than the larger hatch and so the fish feed on the smaller insects because there are more of them on the water.

    When fish are feeding selectively, I always look for a masking hatch before I decide to put on a fly. One clue is that there are many more rises than the number of larger insects would indicate. So if you see a lot of rises but only a few large insects on the water and in the air, look for a smaller hatch that the fish are feeding on.

    All the suggestion above ASSUME that you are skilled enough to rise forms so when you are fishing with surface flies, you are NOT confusing a head and shoulder's rise for a dry fly rise.

    Rise forms are an entirely separate subject. I describe rise forms on this thread:

    A Real Predicament

    In summary:

    The order in which you make changes depends on the situation. For example, if the fish are actually rising and refusing the fly, the most likely cause is micro drag. So if you get a refusal the most likely causes in the order of likelihood are:

    A. Microdrag

    B. Wrong stage of insect

    C. A masking hatch.

    A google search of "fly fishing dry fly late refusal" results in my FAQ from Flyfish@ that I wrote back in the late 1980's and it is still valid today.

    fly fishing dry fly late refusal - Google Search


    Go to the first link: faq 3

    Go down to "The Fish Refuses"

    "THE FISH REFUSES:

    By now I would hope that you have caught those rising fish. If you haven't,
    you need to rethink your presentation. You need to decide whether it is
    your fly, how you presented it, or both. This is a difficult decision for a
    beginner since you have no experience to judge whether you presented the
    fly well or not. This is something I cannot teach you, and something you
    have to learn from experience. But before we can go further, I have to
    assume that you can at least judge whether your cast and float was
    adequate.

    If the trout does not show any interest in your fly, then it is likely that
    you have chosen the wrong imitation. You need to reexamine the water
    surface because the trout are feeding on something else. If you are unable
    to find anything else on or in the water, there are several possibilities.
    The fish could be taking an emerger or a subsurface nymph/pupa of the fly
    hatch you observed. You may have misread the rises. If you are confident
    that the rises are to dry flies, but you don't see them, I suspect they
    will turn out to be either spinners, midges, or terrestrials. Look
    specifically for these insects.

    If your cast results in a late refusal, then your presentation or your fly
    was a little off. Instead of immediately changing flies, assume that your
    presentation was at fault. The two most likely culprits are micro drag or
    too large a tippet. Try approaching the fish from above and decrease your
    tippet size if necessary. If the trout still continues to feed but refuses
    your fly, then you will need to change flies.
    "


    But what fly should you chance to?

    If you have not actually caught the hatching insect in a sampling net, then you have guessed at the hatch and guessed at the insect size. The most common error is to overestimate the size of the insect. So if you are CONFIDENT you have the correct insect identified try one size smaller. If the fish still refuses try a pattern imitating one stage earlier - try the emerger form of the hatch.

    I urge you to read the entire FAQ on fishing dry flies. My other Flyfish@ FAQs are found here:

    Henry's faqs menu
    Regards,

    Silver



    "Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody has thought"..........Szent-Gyorgy

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