Drop Shot Nymphing, Part II

City Rat

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I thought that I might be able to resurrect an old, on point thread to get a specific question answered but after re-reading it and seeing the most recent posts I think that this needs a thread that is focused on my pretty nuts and bolts basic newbie question. nymphing-diagram.jpg
Hopefully, this will be quick and painless. In the drop shot rig set up {see the above diagram}, whichever name you call it or style you choose, my question is, is there a science or logic to which fly rides closest to the shot and the bottom and which one rides the leg of the setup closer to the surface? I have seen videos of guys demonstrating basically two of the same woolly buggers, two of the very same streamers, just different colors, just different depths in the water column and I have seen some illustrations where there are two mature flies at different depths. I tried this fishing for brookies in the national park a week or two ago and I caught one of the slippery little buggers but I was totally winging it. Basically I went with what I will call in newbie speak the "stages of evolution" logic, lol. I had a small, bright colored bead headed nymph ride low and a stonefly emerger ride closer to the top of the water column. So was I just lucky, was it an actual light bulb coming on moment or is there a better order of battle here, i.e. better than nymph, emerger, spinner, low to high? Is there an answer, i.e. a particular way to rig the flies on this type of rig? Thanks.
 

moucheur2003

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There isn't a single right answer to you question. It depends on what kind of bugs you expect to be drifting at what level in the water column in that particular stretch of water, and where in the column you expect the fish to be feeding. If there's no hatch and you don't have any better idea, you might try a stonefly or mayfly nymph or a caddis larva on the lower dropper and a soft hackle or emerger or caddis pupa on the upper one. Or try an attractor on the bottom.

In any case, if you're relying on the drop shot to provide the anchor weight in your rig, use unweighted flies on the droppers, or you'll be spending more time fussing with tangles than fishing.
 

osseous

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Top fly should (generally) be the flashier, emergent offering. Bead, flashback, soft hackle. Bottom fly- standard nymph, attractor, darker bodied. Idea being that the upper fly is rising to hatch. Bottom fly has merely broken free of the bottom and is adrift.

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flav

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Moucheur is dead on right on this, arrange your flies so they'll be where the bugs they're imitating will be. The concept has nothing to do with drop shotting or "regular" nymphing, that's how you should present your nymphs no matter what nymphing system you're using. Bugs like stoneflies and cased caddis will almost always be near the bottom, emergers are usually nearer the surface, some bugs will be found throughout the water column. Arrange your flies any way you like, but that's generally how most folks go about it.
I love drop shotting. I only fish one nymph most of the time, though, because I like things simple. I like the drop shot because it almost never snags, and the single fly because it almost never tangles. I get to keep my fly in the water all day instead of constantly taking time to re-tie or untangle. I think I catch more fish because of it, and I know I enjoy fishing more because of it.
 

City Rat

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There isn't a single right answer to you question. It depends on what kind of bugs you expect to be drifting at what level in the water column in that particular stretch of water, and where in the column you expect the fish to be feeding. If there's no hatch and you don't have any better idea, you might try a stonefly or mayfly nymph or a caddis larva on the lower dropper and a soft hackle or emerger or caddis pupa on the upper one. Or try an attractor on the bottom.

In any case, if you're relying on the drop shot to provide the anchor weight in your rig, use unweighted flies on the droppers, or you'll be spending more time fussing with tangles than fishing.
Thank you very much, this what I had in mind when I tried this but you have artculated it all much more clearly.

Top fly should (generally) be the flashier, emergent offering. Bead, flashback, soft hackle. Bottom fly- standard nymph, attractor, darker bodied. Idea being that the upper fly is rising to hatch. Bottom fly has merely broken free of the bottom and is adrift."

Excellent, this exactly the type of guidance I was looking for, i.e. not just guidance on the type and order the flies should be rigged in but examples of flies charecteristics in each location.
 

Bigfly

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For what it's worth.....Stones emerge on shore, where they molt.
They commute to shore via the bottom.
So, they are not found near the surface.
The winged female adults will be found on/in the water, when they return to oviposit.
Hope that clears up that bug for ya.
Learn the bug's behavior for best results.
Jim
 

osseous

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For what it's worth.....Stones emerge on shore, where they molt.
They commute to shore via the bottom.
So, they are not found near the surface.
The winged female adults will be found on/in the water, when they return to oviposit.
Hope that clears up that bug for ya.
Learn the bug's behavior for best results.
Jim
Not always so with the Little Yellow Sally... watched them emerge midstream two summers ago. Blew my mind....

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sparsegraystubble

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In some Oregon rivers we used to have an emergence of early brown stone flies (about a size 16) that emerged in the river usually sometime in February.

And in Eastern Idaho around the same time of the year we got little black stone that we called snow flies. Those often came off in the water.

The yellow sallies do sometimes, but not as predictably as the other two.

I never saw those flies emerge in the water in Pa. or N.Y.

Don
 

Bigfly

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They crawl out first....We see shucks on rocks for sallies..
This is why Ralph Cutter started filming bugs. Everybody said they hatched on the water.....
Swim and watch...I thought so too..

Jim
 
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osseous

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Oh, I must have fished that hatch for 3 days in my dreams then...

Beware of absolutes in nature. I thought the same thing until I witnessed it, and couldn't match what the fish were eating. Returned the next day, after some time at the tying bench, and slayed~

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City Rat

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Well, if nothing else this exchange shows this newbie that I am just beginning to learn this stuff, lol. It's a good thing that I find this all fascinating and fun. Now on stoneflies around here the only thing that I can add is that about mid-April we found a stonefly husk attached to the trunk of a tree next to the stream.I have no idea what route it took to travel there.
 

osseous

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Well, if nothing else this exchange shows this newbie that I am just beginning to learn this stuff, lol. It's a good thing that I find this all fascinating and fun. Now on stoneflies around here the only thing that I can add is that about mid-April we found a stonefly husk attached to the trunk of a tree next to the stream.I have no idea what route it took to travel there.
That is the life cycle of the Stonefly- the nymphs emerge by climbing from the river, onto rocks and streamside vegetation, where they split their nymphal skin and transform into adults. My observation was an outlier- big time. Shocked the hell outa me, actually.

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Bigfly

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In case anyone is reading the drop shot thing in CA. it's not legal. I'm pleased to say......

Jim
 

flav

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The CA regs say it's illegal to attach weight "directy" below a hook. If your fly is on a dropper above the weight I think you're legal because there is nothing atached directly below your fly. If you attach your fly "inline" with weight below it (how I like to do it where legal) then it's illegal in CA.
 

Bigfly

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Correct. If not tied below the fly, it's not drop shotting. Not sure what you call the end around the law, but I don't think it's fly fishing either.
A guy could just learn to fish. Ha! Honestly I think it's not far from flossing.

Jim
 

osseous

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It amazes me when people get worked up over things like this- given all there is to be concerned over with the state of the resource in general- and that April Vokey once had blonde hair

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Bigfly

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Speaking of resources....We have a cool little creek that gets a lot of attention. The main stem is apparently too hard to fish, so many pressure the fish hard.
IF... you can fish, they will eat dries, nymphs and streamers. Seems that touching as many fish as possible is the point, regardless of style. Yesterday, there were three guys standing next to each other and strafing fish on the reds with drop shot. THAT is why some us get a bit wound up about what is basically a cheap shot. I say learn to fish and you won't have lower the bar to satisfy your fish itch.

Jim
 

osseous

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"On the redds" would seem to be where things went sideways- not the rig that was employed? You're blaming the arrow instead of the indian.

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City Rat

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Hmm, I'm 100% for tracking the regs, if it's a legal fly fishing technique then execute it correctly, if not then use another tactic. I get uncomfortable when folks start adding a personal qualitative overlay, i.e. what is or isn't "real" flyfishing, to what was by design a very nuts and bolts, technical information exchange. I guess the thing that concerns me is by making statements like that, it kind of presumes that there is some sort of High Council of Fly Fishingdom, lol, that dictates whatis or isn't part of the sport. Every outdoor activity struggles with this, hunting with a rifle, not really hunting if the rifle is scoped, hunting with a bow, not really hunting, if you use a range finder or your arrows have lighted nocks and on and on. Isn't that the ultimate benefit of this site, a place where exactly this type of technical how to information can be imparted, explained, clarified? I have no quarrel with the expression of personal, qualitative opinion just it might do to be mindful of the question posed. Again everyone's input has been fantastic and is much appreciated. I learn something new every time I post here. Sorry for jumping on the soap box. Jumping down now.
 
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