Change up on flies? - Fly Fishing Forum
Pacific Northwest Sea Run Forum No such thing as rainbow trout, only landlocked steelhead

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Old 03-02-2002, 03:16 AM
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steeliesonafly steeliesonafly is offline
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Change up on flies?

If you are fishing a good run and you know you have fish in it! How often do you change your flies, and how many times will you go back through that run? I know the conditions will change some of this, like rain etc. But how often are you changing your flies?
Reginald Price
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Trout Unlimited
Utah Chapter 681
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Old 03-02-2002, 03:27 AM
roballen roballen is offline
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2 passes at most. with two radically different flies. if you still feel there are fish there leave and come back later. In my opinion anything else is a waste of time that would be spent covering other runs that have fish in them. The point of steelhead fly fishing is to pick out the agressive fish the best way to do that is to cover as many fish as possible to do that you have to cover as much water as possible. if a fish is agressive you'll get them on one of the first two passes. Unless you feel there are fresh fish moving into a run move on.
Only steelhead matter!
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Old 03-02-2002, 06:11 AM
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pmflyfisher pmflyfisher is offline
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Agree with Roballen cover a lot of water until you find aggressive fish, unless the river is dropping from a spate and you have a known good run to your self, knowing the fish will be moving into the running lies there through out the day. Touched 20 steelhead one day that way. Landed three !! 4 pounb test leader and hot chrome fish, what more could I expect ?

In great lakes we fish mostly natural looking nymphs and egg type flies. Some days they will take a caddis, others a may fly, or stone fly, hares ear, or the egg pattern. When those fail and I am in a pool/run that I know has fish will then go to a completely different usually marabou attractor type fly, or a spey.

I start with what I think will be the fly for that day, if I do not touch a fish in 1-2 hours then I will move to the next most probable fly.

We can fish two flys here at once and usually start that way to determine what will be the pattern of the day.

I don't hear the PNW crowd talking about two fly set ups much, so it appears that is not allowed on waters out there. I know Fred fishes two flys on the Rogue so Oregon it must be OK.

I really don't like fishing two flys myself, but start that way.

Unless the fish are on the move due a recent rise or fall in the water flow, I will not stay in a known good pool/run unless there is immediate fish touches. I will give it 2-3 runs through max move on and come back later if possible.

Thinking about it most steelhead I have touched from a location come on the first 5 casts or so from any given spot.

Hope this helps
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Old 03-02-2002, 07:11 AM
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.02 -

The first fly choice is really important because folks tend to stick with what they have on for a while and also tend to make decisions yay or nay decisions based on what they've tried. Make the best choice at the head of the run, use the flies you have total confidence in to remove that doubt factor, and like Rob says go with something totally different if you double through the pool.

In a box packed with flies I've got just a handful of killer flies that I wouldn't be without. None of these would require a mid-way change due to confidence. These flies never let me down, but the fish do all the time

# Passes:
Available time is the most constraining factor for me, because multi-pass decisions are seat-of-the-pants based on what the river alludes to that day. I might arrive at a pool just to kill time with a single pass and never leave due to rolling chromers.

It also depends on whether you are doing the summertime dryline fly-by fishing thing -or- mid-winter sinktip swing in a holding pool. On a fly-by approach I want to cover as many miles as possible. Especially since I've moved from the PNW - when I return sometimes I just want to cover more water and soak it back into my brain.

But concerning catching fish -
The river has three "layers" in general terms the way I see it - pushing the surface, mid-column, and down and dirty. If you really want to work a pool thoroughly hit all three.

If you are alone and only making one pass, use anything you want.

Multiple passes should be made top to bottom, that includes your buddy behind you. This is because fish are made nervous by sunken fly lines whether dark (sinktip) or bright (head portion or running line). You can watch the reaction on rivers like the Kalama, EF Lewis, or while sightfishing on the flats of Cape Cod for stripers how fish react to the "clothesline" effect of an encroaching sunken line. It's very effective in moving fish away from one's fly! In clear summer waters fish the sunken line judiciously.

That being said I frequently add a "mop-up" pass with a light sinktip and a black bunny rat if no one raises a fish - and this is often the money pass through the pool. But few things in all of flyfishing are as rewarding as the surface caught steelhead or salmon.

Guess I didn't really answer anything but sure enjoyed BS'ing about steelheading!
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Old 03-02-2002, 11:43 AM
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Guess I have to side in with the majority. I rarely will fish a run twice unless I see fish rolling or I don't have time to go to another run. When I do I try to make the offering as different as possible.

For winter fish on those occasions I will start with a black or dark purple fly (black scampi usually) and then follow up with an orange marabou.

For summer fish Juro hit it with the floater first follwed by a type 3 sinktip. Of course on the west side rivers I always tend to lean toward the sinktip so I fish it more than I should. One morning this past September saw me going through a favorite hole twice with the sinktip with no reward even though fish were rolling. Having only 20 minutes or so to fish, I changed out to the floater and an orange bulkley mouse. Second cast saw a nice hen come up and hammer the fly.
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