fly importance.... - Fly Fishing Forum
Pacific Northwest Sea Run Forum No such thing as rainbow trout, only landlocked steelhead

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Old 04-10-2003, 10:43 PM
D3Smartie D3Smartie is offline
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fly importance....

How important do you think fly selection is when fishing for steelhead, salmon and sea-run cutts?

not including cutts in streams as they become much more like trout.
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Old 04-11-2003, 09:32 AM
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Very good question!

We all have our favourite flies, the one we would feel unarmed without, the killer fly that will make our day. However, as much as I hate to say it, I suspect that it does not matter nearly as much as we'd like to think.

Anyone who has spent time on a steelhead river will have seen the full gamut of flies work - often on the same day. I am fond of saying that on my favourite fall river a black shoe lace attached to a hook will work - maybe this year I'll try it!

So why do we all get jacked up about fly patterns? Well, that's because they are really important to - to us! I know that if I don't believe in the fly - I will fish it poorly, in fact, it will not likely stay on my line for more than a few casts - generally nowhere near long enough to stumble across a willing steelhead!

So, ironically I do think the flies we choose to fish are important - it is just that it is not that important to the fish.
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Old 04-11-2003, 09:58 AM
KerryS KerryS is offline
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I think size and shape are the main things to consider in steelhead flies. Certain style of flies seem to work better then others. The general practitioner or prawn style of fly seem to be quite effective for winter run steelhead. The most popular spey flies seem to look similar to GPs or prawn style flies.

Then I think it is a matter of size. Larger flies when water is murky or colored and smaller as the water clears. Probably not as important as shape.

I think materials are important. How certain materials react in different types of water. For example, I am not a fan of marabou because it seems to collapse in faster water. It tends to lay flat on the hook lacking any movement. Seems we are always looking for materials that will move or breathe in the current.
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Old 04-11-2003, 11:44 AM
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As much as I would like to believe that Kerry is right and shape, materials and size matters, I think Kush is closer to the mark for steelhead. Flies are very important to us but I doubt very to the fish. We as fishermen get locked into a fly or type of fly and that is what we fish.

I like the story about the old timer that swore up and down that the green butt skunk was the only fly to use. To prove his point he reported that every fish I have caught in the last 10 years came to a GBS. When asked what were all the flies he had tried in that time, he replied I only fish the GBS.

Just incase I am wrong though, I will keep searching for that magic pattern.

Salmon on the other hand, I think color and size makes a huge impact.
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Old 04-11-2003, 12:16 PM
KerryS KerryS is offline
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For the sake of argument. Or is that because I like to argue. What ever.

Is the popularity of gp or prawn style flies coincidental, just a matter of fishermen's confidence in this particular style or are more fish actually caught on this type of fly because of it's design? Or, maybe this type of fly is not that popular and I am mistaken in my assumption.
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Old 04-11-2003, 12:53 PM
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All of the above?

Kerry, we probably need to ask the fish but my guess is they catch fish because a ton of people fish them. I certainly do as my Black Scampi is nothing but a GP immitation that I have tweeked a bit. I catch most of my fish on this pattern but I mostly fish it so go figure.

I will agree with you that the GP series hold there profile well in faster flows. I have found that marabou patterns can be tricked into doing this as well if a shoulder of dubbing or chenille is tied in before the marabou. The added advantage to this is it allows the body to be showed off instead of being obscured by the marabou.
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Old 04-11-2003, 01:37 PM
fredaevans fredaevans is offline
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I'll chuck in another thought. How far are you from the SaltChuck?

It's interesting to note from my fishing that the farther away you get from salt water how the patterns that work well close to 'tide water' are zero when the fish get well up stream. The GP is a good example here on the Rogue.

Bottom end of the river this, and flys of this type, can be darned effective. Get into the top end of the river and it's been 100 miles of river and perhaps several weeks since the fish last saw/actively fed on these creatures.

Upper river they see a more 'natal' food supply and will react to one and completely ignore the other. Egg patterns are only really effective if there are spawing fish (especially Salmon) at the time/in the area. With that in mind ... still no idea why they'll (Steelhead anytime and fall kings) climb all over a Willie Gunn.

Another example of this from last weekend was working with Aaron's woven flys. The LARGE one of a given pattern produced zip; dropped down at least 75% in size (same pattern) and they were all over it.
fae
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Old 04-11-2003, 01:48 PM
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Willie Gunn Willie Gunn is offline
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Re: I'll chuck in another thought. How far are you from the SaltChuck?

Quote:
Originally posted by fredaevans
With that in mind ... still no idea why they'll (Steelhead anytime and fall kings) climb all over a Willie Gunn.


fae
It should be obvious, the fly was designed in Scotland. It is bound to head and shoulders over anything else.

Malcolm (from Scotland )
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Old 04-11-2003, 01:53 PM
KerryS KerryS is offline
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I agree with you Fred. The same can be said of the fish's preference to smaller buggier flies when talking about upper Columbia river tribs, Deschutes, Snake, Grand Ronde, Clearwater etc.
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Old 04-11-2003, 02:16 PM
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Okay, 6-7" GP's in the Thompson? Not exactly tidewater.
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Old 04-11-2003, 02:25 PM
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Thinking the same thing for the Skeena fish that seem to love a 5" string leech. Also have heard some good reports from the Snake and Clearwater on large bushy flies.

Intersting to note Alec Jackson's theory that fish fresh out of tidewater have good visual ability so he goes with sparse patterns. His theory is that the longer in fresh water, the more the eyesight breaks down so the bushier his patterns become. Not saying I agree but an intersting theory. It would seem to hold more with salmon than steelhead as I am not aware of any visual deterioration for the latter.
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Old 04-11-2003, 03:01 PM
KerryS KerryS is offline
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Ok, now are we back to what we have confidence in is what works the best? Small buggy flies vs. big bushy flies. When I get done with this thread I won't know what to use. 6-7" GP's on the Ronde perhaps? Or are we now talking about summer fish preferences compared to winter fish preferences?
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Old 04-11-2003, 04:15 PM
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Kerry,

I think you are right, it is back to what we have confidence in. As for the Ronde, I've never had the pleasure, however, I would bet alot of money that I could catch a fish on a 6"GP. The Coquihalla, near Hope in the upper Fraser Valley is more a creek than a river. I think it would make the Grande Ronde look large, yet I caught many summer runs on large GP's on a tip. I was new to the game then, I don't think I would resort to such tactics today, but the fact remains I caught lots of low water summers on really big flys.

In fairness, your point is well taken, I think that situations like the Coquihalla and the Ronde, etc, are made for light tackle and small or dry flies, but, that is really our choice - not the steelhead's.
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Old 04-11-2003, 04:51 PM
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I'm in agreement with Kush's first observation.

I think it's the fly(s) we fish with confidence — I sincerely doubt the fly makes much difference to the fish. Even though there are times I have supreme confidence that the fly I'm using is THE correct one for that day's conditions, I admit that it might not make much difference. One small case in point was an experience last fall on an Atlantic salmon river where I took fish from nearly the same area of the same pool one evening on a size 10 "barely damp" fly, a normally swung size 6 green highlander and a deep 2/0 bunny leech.

It's often occurred to me when tying in the evening for the next day's fishing that I'm really tying for myself — I probably don't need more flies. I think we all like to tie and experiment with new ideas.
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Old 04-11-2003, 04:58 PM
KerryS KerryS is offline
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Kush,

I hope you get the opportunity to fish the Ronde. It is a wonderful little river in beautiful country and comes with aggressive fish. Can’t beat that. As for catching fish with a 6-7” GP in the Ronde. Well, you probably will but they will most likely be squaw fish. Now, that is not necessarily a bad thing. They want to get the squaw fish out of the river. So, you would be doing everyone a favor by catching and removing the things. However, I think you would have better luck using smaller, buggier flies for steelhead.

This is a very enjoyable and informative thread. Thanks all for helping me through a dull Friday at work. Now, for the weekend and hopefully some Skagit steelhead tugging on my line.

See ya all on Monday.

Kerry
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