Improper floating of fly? [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Improper floating of fly?

06-03-2003, 11:53 AM
I have on several occasions had problems with my dry fly floating on its head or side, rather than floating upright on the tail and hackle. What could be causing this and how can it be corrected? Is this a common problem among those fishing dry flies? Is it due to improper balance and/or proportions on the fly itself? Have I made some mistake in tying the fly? Could it also be due to poor casting technique or improperly tieing the fly to the tippet? Suggestions?

John Desjardins
06-03-2003, 12:22 PM
Check the proportions of the fly. I've had this happen if I used a hackle that was too big for the fly? We've probably discussed this topic before so a search on it may reveal the cause.

06-03-2003, 01:29 PM
A few suggestions:

Make sure your knot has not travelled over to the side of the hook eye during casting.

Let the leader and tippet straighten out all the way in the air and float down to the water together...i.e. so the fly doesn't slap down on the surface or land in a pile of tippet (unless that's what you want).

Use parachute patterns - they almost always float properly, look a lot more natural than trad. dries and make a great emerger if you clip off the tail. Catskill-style dries are pretty to look at and good in fast water but I hardly use them anymore for the reason you suggest, not to mention twisted leaders, etc.


06-03-2003, 04:22 PM
Here in the west it doesn't matter 99.9% of the time. Even on the spring creeks of montana it doesn't seem to matter. Some of my biggest trout have been taken on stone and caddis fly patterns where ir was laying on it's side or back. Maybe it matters and I only catch stupid fish but thats my experience. I wouldn't even worry about it..

06-04-2003, 07:27 PM
Yes to what's been said, but I'd add two things. I often use oversized hackle for my hook, and then--like a lot of people--snip it off under the fly so it rides relatively low. Small hackle is expensive. Second, on big flies especially (a 10 Stimulator, for example) kick the wing of the fly up by bearing down on the thread as your tying it in. Seems counterintuitive, but a raised wing actually works as a kind of parachute on the fly's decent into the water, and lands it upright, even though it looks tippy. (I know b/c I tried a bunch of dead-on stonefly imitations, wing low and back over the body, and half inverted on me. May not matter to the fish, but it drove me nuts!).

06-08-2003, 11:36 PM

Three things could be the cause of dry flies doing this:1) the hackle is too long; 2) the tail is too long (something that is often overlooked); or 3) the hackle is not spread out enough on the hook shank (fixed by making sure there are at least 3 turns behind the wing and an additional 2 turn in front of the wing as a minimum. By the way, the 3 turns behind and 2 infront of the wing provides a very nice Catskill style dry fly. Wulff type dries require more turns of hackle both behind and in front of the wing.