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Only one color of fly needed for summer runs?

1954 Views 14 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  juro
I just read an interesting little piece by Alec Jackson. He contends that all you need for summer runs is a chubby black fly in size 4 through 8 tied on both light and heavier wire hooks. He includes some light science and "common sense" reasons why this is so. I find it hard to argue with him since my most productive fly to date (19 years of striving to be adequate) has been the silver hilton, generally tied "chunky". Of course my number two is the muddler minnow, so who knows :) Anyone feel strongly either way?
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Best overall fly
Works everywhere
Works on ANYTHING (chum, kings, silvers, dollies and most importantly steelies)

Black & coral egg sucking leech. Tied with black bunny fur. Size 8.

Boring to tie but when all else fails...
I don't know if I could ever say ALL you need is a black fly. Generally that's my first color choice, but there's some anecdotal evidence that sometimes they want something else. Just the other day I fished my standard "go-to" fly in black through a run without a grab, but just couldn't shake the feeling there were fish present, so I went through again with an orange version of the same fly and hit two fish. Last week I fished behind my buddy who was using the dark fly I usually start with, so just for the hell of it, I put on a Green Butt Skunk, which I usually think of as a "bright" fly (and pretty much hate the hair wing and chenille which makes for a pretty stiff, dull fly), and bang, 34" chromer. I have also had days on the Dean where a brown stonefly nymph, fished on the swing has been the only thing they wanted. There are a million stories like this, and they seem to happen to me more frequently with summer fish than winter fish. My general belief is that the pattern and color matter very little for winter fish, but that at times, they can be critical for summers. Who knows why, or if that's even true, but at least that's been my observation.
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Isn't it always general practice to fish a different fly, completely opposite of the person in front of you? And don't you hate when you fish behind someone you don't know and ask him to show you his fly so you don't fish a similar one and he won't let you see it?

Here's an ethics question for you...

Your partner is going through the run first and gets a bump.

1. Should he stand there and try again?
2. Should he stand there and switch flies and try again?

Just curious, at what you would do...
He should move back a couple of feet and try again.

I'll agree he/she can spend a cast or two over the fish but, not an extended time. switching flies to change presentation from skating to hitched to sunken etc begins defeating the purpose of moving in a business like manner through the run. Now if no one is following you closely, or you are splitting the water (one fishes high one low and move on) it becomes a completely different matter.

I was kinda being a smarta$$. Although, if I get a bump I will move upstream a couple of feet and try one or two casts. It has been said that after fish takes a swipe he will move upstream a bit. I rarely switch flies in a run so that shouldn't be an issue. I usually let everyone around know when I miss a fish. So, if you are behind me and hear a few choice words don't be surprised to see me back up a few feet and cast again. And don't worry I will moving down albiet a little frustrated.

more of a point to lurkers, often those not vocal at will camp on a fish and stop the world from spinning on its axis. In the manner of moving them there are a couple of options that I use.

1. Fish down on them until they catch a clue

2. Ask them to continue working thru the run
I guess if you're dating the guy than it's okay if you switch flies. NOT!

Something I always wanted to ask and I see now why my old fly fishing buddy went through some fly partners. How selfish of him!

Now here's another one for you...

How do you get someone to move without a conflict?

I was on the Thompson a while back before my fly fishing days and these three fly gentlemen just sat there and inched their way along, making the 20 guys behind me antsy, and me being female and 4th in line with a spoon, they thought they could cut in front of me, and I told them to take it up with the guys in front, and not to dare step in front of me... (Not as gently I'll admit).

Is there anyway without a conflict you can get people to move?

Is there anyway without a conflict you can ask someone nicely that stepped into the pool infront of you, that you were there first?

Since I'm the queen of conflict and we know I don't take any crude, I'd like to be nice about things, but I always get the same answer (and this is from the old timers on the Skagit)...

"Leave quickly and let the air out of their tires"

I probably run into more problems, because being female I can't possibly do anything about it. You know like two old farts throwing spoons a foot from me from a drift boat, or steppin in front of me while fly fishing.

What is a woman going to do?

So if any of you know how to deal with rude, inconsiderate, sexist, jealous, fishermen, I'd appreciate it kindly.

And ignoring it, isn't an option because inconsiderate fishermen shouldn't be allowed to do that, because what if they did that to some nice sweet gal that was fishing for her first time and ruined it for her. It wouldn't scar me, but it just might scar your daughter or your girl friend.

So what would you do?
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Funny you guys/gals should bring this up...after a few incidents with gear fishermen stepping in below me last week, I just put up a post on Ball's site about this very issue. In thinking about it, it occurred to me that most (or a lot) of gear guys just don't know the proper way of fishing around the increasing number of fly flingers on our rivers. I basically said over there that fly fishers work like plug pullers, going down stream, and that to step in, anchor or pull plugs is fine as long as you do it above the person fly fishing. Anyway, my discussion with gear anglers over the last week has been mostly about this, and it seemed that they just didn't know. A lot of gear folks are used to Reiter like conditions, where nobody moves, and stepping in below someone is fine. Hopefully that post will help us all out a little. Feel free to respond here or over there. I'm curious to see what you think.
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You have both FFer's and gear tossers that don't work through run it is that simple. I guess getting people to move without creating conflict is the million dollar question. My method is work up near enough to ask if they are working through. This either lets them clue in they are working slow, or camping, or they aren't really work down. If the later I ask about moving below a comfortable distance. No need for the confrontation.
andre & angie,

Comend you both on your thoughtfulness while fishing a run.
When missing a fish and other fisher people behind you it is only right to make a few casts to the fish and then move down. As often as I have found that an agressive fish has moved up a few feet after a miss I've found him down river 5 or 6 feet, so by moving I think you still have an equally good chance of raising the fish again.
I love making a stink out of missing a fish, throwing my arms up in the air a few chioce words all in fun after all just a rise from a steelhead is worth the trip to the river.

If I see a fish rise just above where I standing I always let the person above me know, I hate it when that happens and the person below you moves 20 feet back up river to fish it. Luck has it the folks I fish with would never think of doing such.

A question for all of you... If there are two of you and a run is long do you split the run up by dividing it up into two. One person starting at the head and the other start half way down and fish to the tailout?
Also I was taught by the old timers many years ago that if you hook a fish and land him or have him on for awhile it's always a decent thing to step out of the river and wait your turn again if you are going to fish the run again.

As for conflict on the river, it's been there forever just more people fishing today who don't want to learn about manners. 15 years ago I got thrown in the clinker for trying to drown a very nasty guy who claimed the run was his because he had driven 1500 miles to fish it. Lucky for me the Judge was an old time fly fisherman and threw the case out and gave the other guy one hell of a lecture. But it's that way in every thing that's fun now a days, Surfing and boating are going through the same things we are seeing on the rivers. lots of wave rage and boaters who just don't care about others around them.
Keep fishing instead of going to work!
October Caddis.
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Back to the topic... :)

For me it all boils down to the river, color and time of the year. If it summer, give me black and I will be more then happy. I have caught probally 10 fish on black flies for 1 to every other color on the Stilly in the summer. Those Deer Creek fish just cant resist a big big big black fly in front of their face, especially in the cloudy waters of the past few years. When th water drops all I need to do is slim down to a black spade. Put me on the Sky and instead of black, I prefer purple but black is a close second.

Change seasons and look into box and you will see pink, more pink and even more pink...usually teamed with white. I also fish alot of flourescent reds and oranges.

Ive heard many many people preach the productiveness of black GPs in the winter but I've yet to have good success on black in the winter. I have tried though!

My belief as to why black is such a great color for summer is that black is such a 'buggy' color and that is what summer-runs want. Why pink though in the winter??...I can only pin it down that pink is a very gaudy loud color and is good at exciting otherwise lethargic winter fish.

But I have only been in this game for a few years when comapred to the rest of you. So in the end, what the Hell do I know??? :D

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Back to ethics... Making it work to your advantage...

It is fun to branch off to different topics. We had just discussed black is bad now for ethic issues.

I've learned that when two people hit a run at the same time they are suppose to discuss how to fish it.

As Caddis said, you either spit the run or follow behind.

I would say follow behind the guy because guess what?

He riles up the fish for you and if he doesn't like the first person's offering he may like yours. To make this following work to your advantage, make sure the first person has a subdued fly and you the obnoxious one.

As with gear (I know you hate the mention JURO!!!!) but that is how we learn, through observation. If the suttle corkie doesn't work, go in there with the big obnoxious plug or spinner and WACK!

As for gear guys not knowing ethics, you are correct to assume so but also remember, they don't want to wait for the fly fisher and just like to fish that one sweet pocket. They know it's wrong they don't care.

If you can just walk up to a spot and a fly guy is working his way down and you have other spots to hit. Are you really going to wait?
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Angie -

Well, in case you didn't notice this is a flyfishing site. I am not sure whether I "hate the mention" more or you "love to bring it up" more. I am leaning toward the latter looking at your posts. }>

As far as your affinity for bobber and jig fishermen, whatever floats your boat! Or should I say float ;-) Personally I don't tell people how to fish or not to fish, but catching a steelhead on gear does absolutely nothing for me. On the other hand, getting a steelhead on a fly... now you've accomplished something.

I'll admit that if I had to fish for food to feed my starving family, I'd fish with roe. It would be work, not pleasure. But I don't fish for food, I fish for satisfaction and a sense of accomplishment. I pursue steelhead with flies because I love to and it gives me great satisfaction unlike other methods.

Once again, to each his or her own.
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