A Thread for the Dry Fly Purist;

Ard

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This was the first of three threads I am bumping back to life.
My thinking is that we have many members now who were not here in November of 2011 when the three were created, time flies huh.

The replies are full of pictures from members so you may as well read through :)



In an effort to quell the onset of the winter blues I am going to submit a series of threads focusing on the three major fly types, Dries, Nymph, Winged Wet Flies & Streamers combined because of the shared similarities in tying and fishing these two types.

Dry Fly Purist; as in those persons who would gently toss a dry fly upon the water and carefully mend and drift to a waiting fish rather than anything else. There have been times in my life that no form of fishing could have possibly delivered the joy and satisfaction that i received from the act of fishing the dry fly. Of course the nymph, the winged wet fly and the streamer all have their own time and glory but this thread is meant for the discussion of Dry Fly Fishing. I will put together a nymph & winged wet thread for the subsurface aficionado's this evening so you too have a gathering place all your own.

The dry fly inspires us to gather the finest hackles available, to labor at the vise tying tiny puffs of feather, dubbed furs, and yarns onto and about our hooks. Those hooks ranging from the huge #10 & 12's of the Green Drake and March Brown imitations down to the size 20 and smaller for the Blue Quill and Batis patterns. Each will all receive great attention to detail as we create our dries. I'll be first to admit that this tying & fishing can become a matter of tremendous focus in a fly fishers life. You must not only be able to tie those flies but you have to know when the various hatches will appear on your local waters. Once these two things are in your repertoire you then begin to schedule your life around being at the right place at the right time. Somewhere on the forum I have a thread about keeping journals, these are the key to having the dates and locations pegged year after year.

Bringing it all together, that's what it's about is it not? The flies, the hatches, the fish and of course 'you'. Please feel free to talk dry fly here. Post pictures, tell of the biggest fish you ever took using a dry tied to a gossamer tippet, and lets see what we may be able to learn from one another here.

To set the mood a bit I am going to display some photographs of tackle, materials, and some flies that were the staple of my dry fly life. I may not see many opportunities to fish a May Fly hatch here in Alaska but please believe that the act is dear to my heart.

Two of my favorite dry fly flickers, an old Orvis Far & Fine and a 6' 6" Flea built for me by Ron White of the Orvis Bamboo shop.


Everyone who has ever taken an interest in fly fishing hears the name Royal Coachman, here I use the Royal Wulff.


Another familiar name to all, The Adams, this one circa 1978;


Every Dry Fly fisher has a favorite box, I would have to say this is mine. A Wheatley 32 I got hold of in 1980.


And of course the feathers, over the years we collect feathers. As time went on I gathered the best I could find, years my friend years, so don't worry there's time.






So there's your primer, feel free to build a home for the dry fly fishermen and women here. Show the rods & reels, the flies, the capes, and of course the fish they bring.

I hope this will be of interest to all of us,

Ard
 
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Vans

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Re: A Thread for the Dry Fly Purest;

Awesome thread Ard. I will get back to this after the Turkey...
 

Pocono

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Re: A Thread for the Dry Fly Purest;

Ah..........the number of days when I've seen absolutely no action at all on the top water; not a mayfly, caddis or stone in sight............but still, the first thing that I do is to tie on a dry, go prospecting on what looks a preferred lie or two, and just hope that someone will come to the party. ;)

Pocono
 

FrankB2

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Re: A Thread for the Dry Fly Purest;

Hi Ard,
You've pretty much summed up dry fly fishing for me. Yvonne and I would rather catch bluegills on drys, than dredge a nymph for deep trout. Blue-Winged Olives are a particular favorite, and we can usually get something to rise to a small BWO of the temperature is above 50 degrees. We use moderate action 4weight rods, and fine leaders. Casting to a rising fish of any type is much more satisfying than "fishing the water" with a Wooly Bugger. It tests both our casting skills and ability to fool a feeding fish.

Defining a dry fly purist could generate some debate among a large enough crowd. I prefer tying drys parachute style, but I know anglers that insist on upright wings. One of my newest favorites is an X-Caddis. It's a hairwing dry, but it looks enough like a caddis, and really brings up otherwise resting fish.
 

wt bash

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Re: A Thread for the Dry Fly Purest;

Well done Ard!!! Those pic's got me thinking of spring time. Whew it seems so far off! Theres something to be said about the anticipation of watching a dry drift perfectly to a willing riser. Obviously you can't tell but this thread has me grinning ear to ear!!!!
 

bruce m

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Re: A Thread for the Dry Fly Purest;

Great thread Ard, although drys are not what I fish most of the time they are my favorite, just something about watching a rising fish that gets your blood pumping. I fish many different dry's but that royal wulff you have pictured is one of my favorite.
Ah heck now you went and got my juices flowing for some top water action and I have a full winter to wait.
 

Ard

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Re: A Thread for the Dry Fly Purest;

So it looks like we can talk Dries here huh :D I was hoping to see this become sort of like our Photo Chat thread. On that spot members trade pictures, shooting techniques, and more. If you have an outstanding dry fly cape or are wondering where to find one ask or tell. Same with any other dry related stuff.

Glad you like the idea and I'll try to keep the discussion going even if I have to rely on a little history at times to do so.

Ard
 

wannafish

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Great pictures! I'm pretty new to dry fly fishing for trout but an old fellow took me to his hotspot this summer on the condition that I "dig the worms":icon_twis !! I did it but I took only my 7' 6" 4wt fly rod. "well they will take a fly" says he when I pulled in a 12" brookie right away. He continued using his spinner and bait while I had a ball with a little attractor dry fly. :cool: Can't wait to get out again!
 

wt bash

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Re: A Thread for the Dry Fly Purest;

I recently learned an interesting tid-bit about the flies of Lee Wulff, most his fishing flies were tied streamside by holding the eye of the hook pinched under his thumb nail! Pretty cool stuff, I gleaned that from a video so I couldn't say weather its ture or false but it gives you something to think about.
BTW Is that a Honey Dun cape I saw or am I just wishing?
 

Ard

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Re: A Thread for the Dry Fly Purest;

Hi wannafish,

I think you'll find that if they lived within the range of the Brook Trout many fly anglers may confess the native char to be their first trout caught on a fly. It's a bit of word play when we call them trout because they are classified as a char so......... if not their first perhaps the first wild trout. I grew up in good a good Brookie area and although I had caught many Sunfish & Chub on my crude homemade ties I could not entice the trout in any of the big name streams to give me a break. My first dry fly trout was in fact a Brookie and I still day dream about them and wonder how they are without me to keep track of them :)

Hey Bill,

I believe it is, I always called them champagne but I think they go by honey as well. I used to crank out the dries with the same intensity that I knock out salmon flies now. When I lived in what I always considered to be the heart of trout country tying salmon flies was a novelty thing for trips that were always too far off. The trout became my salmon and although I spent a great deal of time fishing streamers I loved the dry fly fishing when it was there.
 

latshki

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I also love the dry fly style, I love being surrounded by rising brookies on a nice hatch and picking flies by trial and error until you find that perfect fly that gets a rise on every cast.
Or when you see that one monster sea run brookie who is the only one of his group taking dries, so you pick a big, juicy looking stimulator or caddis and lightly present it to him, he rises, makes that ever so anticipated gulp and takes the bait, then you remember that your tiny tippet is no match for said 3 pound fish, and then as the fish turns so does your gut and you know he's off, you then recite all the swear words momma told you never to say.

that is dry fly fishing for me lol
and although I occasionally fish nymphs and streamers, I continue to love the art that is fly fishing with a dry!


but damn do I get frustrated tying tiny dries! Id tie 30 smelt patterns before a size 20 parachute adams lol
 

Ard

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Hi Layton,

I think we all know the feeling you have described. I have managed one really big fish on a light tippet but I was fishing in a run / pool with all sort of room and had plenty backing. Somehow the hook stayed in place (#14 Gray Fox) and I caught the fish. It was the biggest brown trout I had ever had to grab a dry fly but not all stories have perfect endings. I was fishing with Ray Davies and Ray always had a tiny Olympus pocket camera with him. This was back in the day before digital but Ray had one of those early Stylus models. That day Rays camera was about 3 miles away in his car.

We were fishing a big creek that had an abandoned railway running along it and had used Mountain Bikes to get up the creek far from the pressured waters near easy access. No picture of the biggest fish on a dry..............that's the way it goes I guess, been there, did it, but only Ray knows what happened. That's fishing, at least it's been fishing for me. There have been other big fish but every one ended with a broken leader, this was the exception. We were able to use Ray's old Edward's Quad Bamboo to measure the fish because the rod had intermediate wraps up the butt section. When we got back to camp that night we tried to be as honest as two guys without a picture (fishermen at that) could be when we measured the rod wraps. The verdict was that I had caught a brown trout almost exactly 2 foot long and possibly 6 pounds because it seemed healthy but not overly fat. This is one reason I like this forum, by writing on threads here memories are pried loose that otherwise may not be told.

That's fishing
 

mikel

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I think those "ah hah" moments you have fishing dries as a noobie are really cool. I'm still having them.

I was sitting in my tube one evening, catching little rainbows trolling and casting a bugger and the bite just shut off. Gone. These little rings started to appear and it occurred to me that it could be an interesting development. Well, I tied on a coachman, because that was the only dry I could name and the bite was ON for about 45 minutes.

The "ah hah" moment came when I was waiting impatienty for the next hit. Without thinking about it, I pulled the bug about 6 inches across the surface and got a hit immediately. woo hoo! Who woulda thought that skating that bug might make something happen?

If it weren't for little creeks and dry flies and brookies, then sitting in my tube would be my fav place for casting dries. :)

-Mike
 

latshki

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Some of my fondest memories this year were with dries, two of the best involved fish no more than a few inches! One was this little rainbow who catapulted himself out of the air just as I lifted my dry fly off of the air and hammered the fly, I nearly wet myself from the hilarity of seeing this tiny fish launching himself through the air and catching it, it truly amazed me.
Another is similar and I felt quite bad for the little fella, but at the end of my drift I lifted my rod quickly to avoid the line getting caught in the reeds, but at that moment a poor little brookie hit the fly and came flying back and hit me right in the face, I felt so bad for this little guy who had just been yanked out of the water and fly 15 feet! I honestly don't think the poor guy lived as he left my face fairly red from the impact! It was funny enough though to bring tears to me and my buddies eyes.
 

Vans

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This style is at the heart of why i like to fly fish. Better people than i have put it into words so i wont attempt to. I will just relay two experiences from this year...

Most recently at Goose lake in WA, i was fishing with a cousin. We were the only ones fly fishing. The worm and bobber set and the gear casters were doing very well. The fish in this well stocked lake were just not keying on bugs for some reason. I suppose i would have had more luck with a nice nymph of some kind but just didnt feel like it. I saw a nice brown trout and cast to within two feet of it. He saw my caddis and then proceeded to stalk it, deciding if he was going to have a bite to eat. We froze and i filled with anticipation waiting to see what would happen... Fish on! That one fish made the whole day a success to me.

This past August i went down to the Donner und Blitzen river in far SE Oregon. Armed with some tied down caddis recommended by the local fly shop in Burns, i hit the river. A beautiful place i had been wanting to visit for years. As i worked my way up river catching a number of fish everything just clicked well. I was looking at a run or spot near a rock and telling myself a fish was there, cast and watch that fish race up and take my fly.

It was perfect. Everything i wanted fly fishing to be.
 

Ard

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That's what I had in mind, I wrote it on another thread; how participating on this forum brings memories right to the top of the mind. Unless we share a recollection either in print or words they have a way of eluding the consciousness and nearly slip away.

Everyone has a story :)
 

tbblom

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well, I would not call myself a purist. Usually I use dry flies to suspend nymphs, and I am horrible at matching a hatch. But I do try to tie some cool and useful patterns, and occasionally they take a nice fish.

I became obsessed with spiders as an indicator dry last summer. My front range local best is a 19" bow taken on one of these spiders. Great under trees or bridges or anywhere there are a ton of cobwebs...


'Canyon hopper', parachute adams, and foam drake (turns out these wings get soaked making it a cripple). Big browns will rise for the hopper!


working on some comparadun patterns and spun deerhair, also I am starting to tie with CDC.
 

Bigfly

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For all my ranting about variety in this sport, I too have the same grounding/passion in the "art of the dry".
Although I fish a dry for the green drake hatch, or hoppers, etc..in Jan. I rejoin the (near religious) sub-sect, of this art form, known as "Midge fishing".
I don't recommend this to anyone, and that may be one measure of purity.
Something so hard, you have to consider the sanity of it. Only a pure nut would do it.
Thirty-eight degree water, below freezing air temp. Feet so cold, they aren't there anymore...
Very low, gin clear water. Using the smallest flies, making a most accurate/discreet cast, with, the cliche, spider web tippet..
To the most unforgiving fish I've personally met. Everything has to go perfectly or it doesn't work. Hence..purity.
The predominant bug is the midge, that's about all. BWOs if a cloud passes. (Maybe some little winter stones, but that's another story.)
So this is all driven by the menu. Matching the hatch.
Giving them what they want to see, where, and when they should. The essence of our sport to me, no matter which style of fishing you choose.
So I sat and watched a riser one day in the spirit of continuing education.
In about 40 min. he didn't eat a "single" midge, but many orgiastic clumps of midges..
Others knew this before me, but what a cool thing to discover for yourself. Mike's Aha moment.
It led me to tying a Single (1) clump midge and stalking a single fish.
If I broke him off, I was done. As long as I didn't lose that dry, I could fish... but only if I found a riser, and fished it.
All while crawling in snow, wearing a white sheet, and hoping no-one sees me (human or fish).
We each decide over time what is pure to us about this sport. Biggest fish on the smallest fly, or smallest fish on the biggest fly, whatever....
Just wanted you guys/girls to know I'm with you in spirit....just not ALL the time.


Good thread Ard, bet it turns blue....

Jim
 
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Bigfly

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Mike, I am searching for a white hat, just not a pointy one...(Why doesn't Simms make a white windstopper...?)

Not only 12' leader (Sometimes longer starting with a 12' 6x and adding 2'+ of 7x and maybe a foot of 8x..), but as you know, I also band my lines with a marker.
This all adds up to a feeling akin to my time in high school track.
Trying to clear a bar, set higher than I was tall. It's a stretch....

Jim
 
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