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futuramille 06-16-2010 11:16 AM

Small Mods = BIG differences
Though my "home" stream does get some fly fishing traffic, its comparatively light and most of the stress the fish get is from spinning rod lures. In this regard, the changes I make are not so much a presentation of something different as they are making the fly more attractive.

I was told recently that the goal in tying flies is threefold. Make the trout think:

a - must eat that
b - must kill that
c - must feel that with my mouth

I've made some changes to the following standard flies that were already working on streams here and after 5 fishing trips focused on testing them here are the results.

Adding the red collar and gold bead simply made this prince nymph work for me. Fished in line with the same tie without the bead or hot spot...the fly without the flash got no hits. the trout always took the flashy one. Plus, no other nymph or fly in my arsinal worked nearly as well. I've seen others princes with a red collar but not as wide...mine are the width of the bead and it made a difference. Yes, this is a big prince in #8. both 8 and 10 are working well right now though the 12's are also but the trout are smaller on average.

Adding the flashback on this #8 Stone nymph increased the hits compared to the same tie without the flash....9 to 1. The same results were observed on a Beadhead GRHE when adding a strand of peacock herl tail to thorax.

Though not as dramatic an improvement, Adding a few strands of perl crystal flash underwing makes this more visable and increased the hit percentage 3 to 1 compared to the same fly without.

Small mods can also make a fly more usable in the conditions you face onstream. On my home stream, allot of trout hold in riffle sections. adding the wulff wing and heavier hackle with a slightly heavier flattened tail made this "hendrickson/cahill" pattern applicable. A darker tan also brought more strikes than the same tie in traditional pale tan elements.

One of my favorite things about tying my own flies is it gives open ended options for tailoring a pattern to my needs (size, color, elements). Fishing them out, testing against the older/original patterns adds yet another element to my fly fishing experience.

Does anyone here have any pattern changes/additions/mods they would like to share? How about telling some of your secrets!!


Jimmie 06-16-2010 12:03 PM

Re: Small Mods = BIG differences
Nice report, and good looking flies. The pics were fun, thanks.
I've started using a lot more colors of flash in my ties, but have no results about increasing stikes. Just a current fad with me. I've become addicted to buying different colors of flash. My two new favorites; peacock flash; silver flash. Plus been using a lot of root beer.

futuramille 06-16-2010 12:59 PM

Re: Small Mods = BIG differences
Thanks Jimmie, that rootbeer color does look nice right? the nymphs are more easily tested than the drys. I simply put the test case together in a cast and switch them around every other fish new fly leading/old fly on the tip and then make sure its not the possition of the fly in the grouping that makes the difference.

On the drys, I'll fish one in a run and the other in the next run above knowing that both hold fish. I also was casting that stimulator up into a couple pool tails and after fishing the old one with only a couple strikes, switched to the new and got three in five casts. All within about 15 minutes time. That happened two days in a row in two seperate tailouts. I have other dry fly "improvements" but I don't have any numbers on them. the last three weeks, its been the end of march browns and cahills starting up. the Stoneflies (both gold, black and brown heli's) are coming off in a big way so the stemulators bring some violent (jump out of the water three inches) kind of hits. What a ball :lol2:

My son and I landed 45 trout in 2 days last week. 75% and all 15 of his (including a hat trick for him on Wednesday) were on that prince size 8 & 10.

stimmy7 06-17-2010 11:22 AM

Re: Small Mods = BIG differences
Oh-oh... why is it I feel the "Orange flies" thread starting??

I agree adding color and flash to subsurface flies can have an impact- it may also be of value to consider on the days one thing worked better than another, was the color of the water any different (due to turbidity or weather fouling it) and was the sky clear or overcast? These factors have a major effect on how fish see things.

As for dry flies/terrestrials, I think shape and size have more impact than color, especially in faster water or on plunge pool/pocket water type streams. When it's the middle of the day and the sky and water are both clear. color may have a bit more impact... especially in water where the trout are fished over a lot.

As I've gotten older an my eyesight isn't quite what it was, I've resorted to adding a small "pinch" of bright (or light) color CDC fibers onto dry flies either right behind the wing/hackle or as an under wing on Trudes and other down wing dries. I use Marc Pettijean's Fl Red, Fl Green, or Pale Yellow- real nice stuff an a gram goes a long way. This also allows you to use fibers from the larger feathers that you may not be able to use for other purposes.

Another trick many have used is to tie the flies one size smaller than the hook- by that I mean to tie the fly on the front 80% of the hook with a bit longer tail, leaving more of the bend exposed for greater hooking potential.

For me, the key is the silhouette of the fly much more than the color- over the past 30 years I've experimented a lot with colors and materials on flies I've had good luck with. I have one box that has 6-8 colors in 4 different sizes (12-18) of 2 pattern "styles"; the California Mosquito and Trude. The colors run the range form light gray to black, tan to brown, and include olive, peacock and at least one bright color as well.

mcnerney 06-17-2010 12:09 PM

Re: Small Mods = BIG differences
JJ: Nice looking flies! In the Chironomid & Scud fly swap Kelly (kglissmeyer) tied a Spring Creek Scud and instead of using wire or mono for the ribbing he used Pearl Krystal Flash, I think that is why he is having so much success with that scud pattern, just a little flash.


MoscaPescador 06-17-2010 02:13 PM

Re: Small Mods = BIG differences
Here are a couple of tricks. You can put flies on a diet. You can change materials. A fly that I use commonly is Rick Anderson's Bird of Prey. These are the October Caddis versions. The first one is an overseas production tie.

This one is my tie.

On my October Caddis, I slimmed the body down. Instead of going with .035" lead, I used .030" lead. In the waters that I fished, the thicker body fly seemed to snag more often. The lighter body fly seemed to snag less. I also changed the wing and tail material. I used gadwall flank feathers instead of partridge. To me, the darker color looks more realistic. I also use peacock colored ice dub for the collar instead of peacock herl. That's because I have lots of it.

If I could retie my fly, I would thin out the tail a bit. I think I tied it to thick. Consider that another diet.


futuramille 06-23-2010 12:24 PM

Re: Small Mods = BIG differences
Keeping the bodys slim certainly makes a difference. I'm not sure why many commercial fly's are so fat. Thanks everyone for the input so far....I mentioned before a change I've made to my GRHE's...there are a couple and though as mentioned the situation your fishing certainly dictates the results above anything else, the days I tested spanned windy, sunny, light and heavy rain, morning/evening/mid day. I fished each in what I deemed the appropriet time and with trout hitting the older patterns, they hit those shown here modified more often. There truly is no science facts but every fisherman knows that adding triggers correctly increases take rates.

here's the Peacock herl up the back of a GRHE. I also used Turkey tail feather...coated both sides with Sally Hanson HAN, cut the V and tied it in with the approp V side up. I needed a casing to hold down the dubbing looped thorax but also wanted a casing like on Stone fly's. I pull the casing over, tie down, back up the thread a mm and using the flat of a blade..fold the V casing back towards the tail and tie down. taper the thread head to blend in the bluntnes of the turkey feather buildup and finish with a coat of HAN down the V casing and thread head.

just another thing that I found adds something trout on my streem seem to prefer.

the one pictured could have its head cleaned up better but everything I've posted in this thread is for fishing and I have to admit I think some element left a bit rough add to the initial success of a how they get better after being fished some. Also, the casing splits when folding the V back over. I think it simulates the splitting of a casing on an emerging nymph and I've been experimenting with that on other nymphs as well.

All in all, this thread is meant to prod others emaginations in trying and testing different ways of tying classic fly's. Do they work as is...absolutely...can they be "improved", I like to think so. Does it hurt to try... ;)

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