How many lives for a dry fly?

dipaoro

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Before I get to the question, I did learn a lesson from my dry flying experiences on Sunday. Before getting in the river, I spoke to a well known guy about which flies were working these days, he gave me advice (march browns/ small BWO) and I decided not to use my own researching material. After fishing for hours and not getting a single bite, I decided to go with the ginger quill as this was listed on my sheet. Within 10 minutes, I landed a nice rainbow. Had several hits after as well, but no net.

So how many lives should a dry fly have in your opinion? This fly lasted one net and maybe three addition hits before it was having trouble floating.
 

brownbass

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Did you treat the fly with floatant before fishing it? I can usually get a number of floats from a fly before I have to retreat.

Bill
 

dswice

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Several variables may come into play as to how long a particular dry fly may last including the type of dry fly, the size, how well it's made, if and how much floatant is used, how much fish slime the fly encounters, etc...
 

sparsegraystubble

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It varies all over the place depending on material used, quality of tie and so forth. But if I use a powder such as Frog’s Fanny to dry it off after catching a fish it seems to last a lot longer. If it is a fly made using the EP Trigger Point fibers then I can get a lot of use out of it without ever adding more floatant. I struggle with Cdc flies.

I also have more luck with Loon Lochsa than any other floatant, but seldom need it with the EP fibers.

Don
 

stilis

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I think the advise above is correct. It really just depends. Certain flies endure more and float longer.

All examples are my preference of course. Wulff flies, Humpies, Elk Hair Caddis seem to float the longest for me, and I would expect them to considering all the hackle and hollow hair involved in tying it right. This is what I would expect them to do and want them to do for heavier water, stained water etc.

For lighter flows I would prefer something with a softer landing and imprint on the water. For this CDC is my preference, but it comes at a cost, and that is maintenance.

All flies require some attention to keep floating the way you want. Bushy flies in my experience require less of it. They float high because of the materials and construction. These flies are good for heavier tumbly water. Toss them into the foam and let them drift out. After it gets eaten by three fish you may need to dab it on your shirt a bit to get it floating. CDC flies are not the same. They in my experience have a much more convincing appearance on the water. The land lighter and have a nice movement from the parts of the fly that float it. Very seductive, I can see why trout like it. However, they need to be maintained all the time, after every fish, and after some rougher drifts where you pitch it in the foamy stuff.

I fish CDC and Elks all the time, and they catch fish for me very consistently. I have such confidence in that fly. The real secret is by fishing that fly I am a very deliberate fisherman. I fish slowly, knowing that mistakes and long shots just put me closer to having to maintain the fly. I have to refloat the fly after every fish. Rinse slime off in stream, blow off excess, dab in shirt while I get the dry shake out of my wader pocket, and then shake for about 30 seconds or so, then Frogs Fanny.

This takes a minute, it is a pain in the ass at first, but now I do it by rote memory. It has made me better for sure.
 

flav

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It all depends. Like Haden Creek I've had 40+ fish days without changing a fly, and other times it's lucky if I land two or three before a fly won't float properly no matter how much I squeeze the water out, dry it, or false cast. It depends on fly design, if it's raining, humidity (the west is much drier), temperature (flies don't dry well in the cold), and even how and where the fish get hooked.
I tie my flies to float through as many fish as possible. I seldom use dubbed bodies, favoring biots, quills, hair, foam, or synthetic yarn. When I do use dubbing I use synthetics that soak up less water. Even with all that you sometimes only get a few fish before a fly starts to sink.
 

silver creek

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The key to reusing a fly is knowing what floatant to use, how to wash off and re-dry the fly after landing a fish, and what floatant to use.

I've fished the same fly for 3 days straight until it finally came apart. It was a parachute adams that I tied.
 

LePetomane

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One thing that a lot of fishermen don't do is dry the fly before applying floatant. That is a must.
 

dipaoro

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I have found the below video informative and do following many of his ideas. Using that exact pad is part of my progress for drying the fly.


Also, I buy my flies online and part of my concern is the quality of the flies. Lastly, I may be damaging the fly when removing from the fish.
 

sparsegraystubble

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I realized watching the video that I have used almost all of these and other products, but have never really tried Amadeu to dry flies. Is it really that much better than a chunk of the super absorbent synthetic towels that are on the market? I have to admit that I often just carry a folded up paper towel or even use the sleeve of my shirt to dry and clean the wet fly before redressing it.

Bounty the quicker picker-upper.

Don
 

bumble54

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It often depends on the pattern you are using and how well it is tied. I have one ant pattern that catches a lot of fish for me but it is delicate and two fish is about it's limit, and yet, as said above, I have caught more than a dozen fish in a day on a single fly of a different pattern.
 

ottosmagic13

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I have several patterns that "turn on" after the third or fourth fish. Others, mainly some delicate CDC emergers that hang right in the balance of water tension "film" will need to go on the drying patch after one fish or be fished subsurface (not always a bad thing).

I also have some patterns like my unibobber stimulators that I use as indicators that I tie to be unsinkable and nigh indestructible that have seen double digit fish days and still held up even with some tungsten
 

trev

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how many lives for a dry fly?
Well in the first life it is used as tied, then it lives again after being cut back to either a spinner or an emerger and finally it can trimmed close enough to pass as a nymph; so at least three lives, if the scissors are sharp. Many can then be further modified back at the tying bench, so the actual number of possible lives is indeterminate.
 

brownbass

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I have had a commercial size 18 parachute BWO last for several dozen fish. I was catching fish on it after the Parachute had broken free and the dubbing was practically nonexistent. Believe me, it was one hell of a day on the water.
 

dipaoro

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I realized watching the video that I have used almost all of these and other products, but have never really tried Amadeu to dry flies. Is it really that much better than a chunk of the super absorbent synthetic towels that are on the market? I have to admit that I often just carry a folded up paper towel or even use the sleeve of my shirt to dry and clean the wet fly before redressing it.

Bounty the quicker picker-upper.

Don
I have the same Amadeu in the video it works nicely.
 

corn fed fins

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All depends on the fly, the tie, and materials used. Some flies dry easily as the are just a hackle, quill, and tail. Others might take longer, like stones and caddis. Foam flies never sink, they may ride lower but that's the look I'm after with them. Want to bang your head against a wall, buy J.C. flies. At least they are cheap enough to discard after one cast. Lol

Now what water is being fished; riffles, eddies, pools, runs? All can impact just how long before you need to do some maintenance.

Last is tippet material. Never fails that I hear about someone using fluoro. Fluoro is denser than water and sinks. Sinking tippet will result in a faster sunken dry. Nylon is a better choice.
 

huronfly

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If my dry fly starts sinking I just blow the fly dry and it's good to go for another few fish... Or I simply use a few false casts and the water will shed.
 
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