Traditional Dry Fly Upstream Presentation. [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Traditional Dry Fly Upstream Presentation.

06-20-2003, 07:30 PM
I had a friend stop in the other day with a brand new Dickerson Taper 8 for a 7wt with a swelled butt ready to do battle with Steelhead.
It had a S.E. Bogdan No.1 Salmon on it and Phoenix silk line and the combination was a hoot to cast.
Casting Silk on a reed is great, 80 ft. with no double hauling and the line casting like a continuous hinge.

Getting back home he is going to spend the rest of his summers working for Steelhead with a Traditional Dry Fly Upstream Presentation.

How many of you dry fly Steelheaders have ever fished for steelhead using a Traditional dry Fly technique? No skating, riffling and the like. Just upstream or down dry fly presentation.

Let me know your stories.

06-20-2003, 10:12 PM

The only time I had a steelhead come to a dead drifted dry, I pulled the darn thing right out of its mouth by striking like I would have a large trout during salmon fly time on Montana rivers. It sure makes a fellow angry with himself when he does this. With waking or skating flies, I have never struck too soon, and I really like to see the fly wake and sputter through the run so I don't fish dead drift dry anymore for steelhead.

Bob Pauli
06-21-2003, 01:40 AM
Nor Cal's Trinity River in February: the steelies take up feeding positions and gobble floating stones, like a spring creek rainbow.

Get above them with a floating line, feed a dead drifted "T-bone" fly into the feeding lane and watch the big mouth gobble. I did not believe it possible until I saw it.

There is a God!


06-21-2003, 01:03 PM
Speybum -
A favorite topic. Not sure which is more exciting the slow classic head to tail rise of a summer steelhead to a drag free dry or the explosion on a skated dry. As we are moving into prime time for such fishing (early July on) it is also timely. While not nearly as "expert" as many on this board below are some observations based my efforts.

Here in this part of the steelhead world (North Puget Sound) we rarely have the opportunity at rising (feeding?) steelhead that Bob finds to the South. Since first taking a fish on a drag-free dry in the early 1960s I have encountered consistent rising steelhead just a handful of times (about once a decade). The first was in the mid-1970s where in early July I came upon a fish in mid-afternoon coming up regularly (every five minutes or so) on some large Mayflies near Hazel on the NF Stilly. While at the time I didn't normally carry a selection steelhead dries I happen to have a large caddis on my wool patch left over from a recent BC lake trip. After quickly changing to a dry line and the caddis I moved below the fish and he took the drag-fre float with confidence on about the third cast - thus started a several decade long search to take fish consistently drag-free. The other times I have found rising steelhead in this part of the world has been in the fall (late Sept/early October) on fall caddis where the fish seem to do more chasing than slurping. Here a drag-free float with a twitch just above the holding fish has produced some heart stopping takes.

Fishing drag-free is a slow way to cover much water so it is not a good searching method. I have had the best luck while fishing waters that I know well (knowing the "normal" holding spots stack the odds slightly more in your favor). Highest precentage areas have been blouder patches in flats just upstream of tailouts (the kind of water of my first "drag-free" fish) and choppy riffle water where it just starts to "green up" (a favorite of the Deer Creek fish). Interestly enough I have had my best luck from mid-morning to early evening. The I beleive the reason for that is two-fold - 1) during the mid-summer the fish are rarely moving during mid-day, rather they seem to slide into comfortable holding areas and their location is more predictable and 2) many of the other anglers are off the water then. The recent moving fish are much more likely to come to the surface than those who have been holding in the same area for extended periods.

By far my most productive way of taking fish drag-free was to use a waking fly as a searching method. Whenever a fish missed the waker, I moved a fish (saw it or its flash), or when I would intentionally take the waker from the fish I would strip of 5 or 6 feet of extra line and drop the fly drag-free (downstream presentation) over the now known holding spot. With surprising frequency I could get the fish to stick its nose through the surface within 6 to 10 presentations. If the fish would not take drag-free I could still often get to take by changing to a different waker or going to a grease-line presentation of a low water pattern (a rarely used option since the fish would not be sticking its nose through the surface and thus is not part of the game). It is for each of you to decide whether such an approach is "fair chase" in the dry fly game but it has been successful for me on the North Puget Sound "S" rivers and elsewhere.

Tight lines