How Relevant Is Color When Pick Out A Steelhead Fly - Page 2 - Fly Fishing Forum
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Old 12-13-2003, 09:23 AM
roballen roballen is offline
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Location: Vancouver WA
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Fly tyer

I was fishing for Coho on the Satsop this year. I had fished all day with very little success when I came across a pool that seemed to be filled with fresh Coho I hooked 3 in short order and another member of this board hooked 3 also. Then it shut completely off and we couldn't buy a strike for anything. Something had changed in the attitude of the fish in a very short period of time. It would be my assertion that that is what you experienced on the penninsula, or that the fish had just moved into the run before your last pass through. but thats just my opinion..

There may be times where the specific size or color may make a difference however we never know when or where or to what color to switch to to make that difference. Therefore I prefer to change location or presentation rather than size or color..

Quite often on the north umpqua a very good friend of mine , who ties a lady caroline to die for, fishes a particular run with a lady caroline and often the fish will refuse it presented on a wet fly swing but as soon as he fishes it greased line a fish explodes violently on it.
What I am trying to say is that there are no hard and fast rules and that I believe that covering water to find an aggressive fish is what works best for me.

Too bad we aren't all sitting around a campfire on the Hoh discussing this..
Only steelhead matter!
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Old 12-14-2003, 09:04 AM
Smalma Smalma is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2001
Posts: 168
I have to agree that color is not very important when fishing on aggressive fish.

From my experience aggressive fish are most likely traveling fish. Those fish will often move (take?) the first decently presented fly they see regardless of color. The trick of course is finding one in the water that we can present the fly. Under these circumstances it is as much as a hunting game as fishing. Basic watercraft skills - understandings of fish behavior and reading of water - are much more important that fly color, size or style.

Once the fish stop traveling (especially for summers) fly factors can become much more important with the key often being a change up from what the fish have been seeing.

Rob -
Your coho example is an illustration where color can make a difference. Not so much that there is a magic color but rather changing colors can produce additional fish. On the North Sound rivers a simple cutthroat spider has been by far and away my most productive coho fly - simple tie of natural mallard flank with a variety of body colors tied with chenile. Any number of times i have found a pod of fish where I take several fish on what every color I happen to have on (lets say yellow). After a few fish the bite seems to stop. Experience has taught if I change to say black one or more fish are possible, another change may result in another fish or two. Remember the only difference in the flies were the body color. Similar extra fish would be possible with a more radical change in fly pattern. Once fish were found frequent color changes were the key to changing a so-so day to a spectacular one.

Have also seen where color sometimes makes a difference in summer steelhead to the surface. While color is not particularly important on the whole individual fish seem to have definite color preferences where they may refuse one and readily accept a change while the next fish maybe just the opposite. Can think of a number of cases where this seem to be the case. It bacame my standard approach when skating dries to have several flies (different colors and/or profile) dressed and ready to go and after a refusal a change or two would result in the fish.

some thoughts
Tight lines
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