Our fishing tactics should change a bit as we move into summer conditions. This week, Jim Kukorlo, our head guide, gives us some pointers on how to be more effective anglers at this time of year.
Fishing the Dry Fly Dropper
Cathy asked me to write something on summertime fly fishing tactics. Which is usually perfect timing since July usually means lower water conditions and hot weather conditions. Well, almost perfect timing expect with all of the recent heavy rains Fishing Creek looks more like May then July. Which is good for the fish and it keeps us fishing longer into the summer.
The dry drop is simply tying a piece of tippet material 18 to 30 inches long to the bend of your dry fly hook and then tying a nymph to the tippet as your drop fly. The dry fly now becomes your strike indicator if a trout takes your nymph. Just remember if your dry fly goes under the water set the hook! The trout took the nymph.
Well nothing is that simple, so what dry fly do you use, what nymph, what size, how long and what size of tippet for the flies you’re fishing.
Dry Fly/Emerger Drop
If you are a dry fly fanatic you are missing the boat if you don't attach a trailing fly off of your dry fly. If you are fishing during a hatch with rising fish and the fish are taking the dun and the emerger, or you don't know what they are taking, it's the perfect time to trail an emerger or nymph behind your dry fly. If there are multiple hatches on, then I like to trail a smaller size dry fly. A trout will often look at the larger fly and take the smaller trailing fly. Keep your tippet about 18” long so you can better control the drift of the trailing fly.
I really like fishing a dry fly and trailing an emerger to cover all of my bases just in case the trout are focused on the emerger or smaller fly. Because both flies are about the same weight you can get a good drift with this method on both the dry and the emerger. Switch up the drop fly to include soft hackles, pheasant tails (PTs), and other nymphs.
Hopper/Dry Fly Drop
When I use this method my primary focus is fishing the nymph. Select a hopper or dry fly that will float well enough not to sink from the weight of the nymph. I'm basically using the hopper as my strike indicator and searching to see if the trout are looking up. If I have more strikes on the hopper I will take the nymph off and just fish the hopper. It's almost impossible to get a good drift on the hopper because of the trailing nymph. The primarily focus is on the nymph. If the trout are taking the nymph and not the hopper/dry I will switch to a two fly nymph rig with a Dorsey indicator.
Several years ago I was guiding a client who was fishing a big hopper with a copper john nymph as a trailing fly and he hooked a large brown on the nymph. As he was fighting the trout the hopper was just touching the surface of the water and another large brown hit the hopper. Two big browns on at the same time didn't last very long but it was really cool to watch it happen.
Large Cathy’s super beetles, hoppers, and large stimulators and are my go-to choices when I'm using the hopper/dry drop. Match the size of your tippet to the fly size. Using too small a tippet on a large foam hopper will twist you leader. A 4x tippet or even a 3x with prevent that from happening.
Nymphs like copper johns, PTs, green inch worms and even an ugg bug can produce some good bows and browns in the early morning or late evening.
When using a smaller hopper/dry such as a smaller Cathy’s beetle, foam ant or hopper pattern I use size 16 to 20 nymphs like a green inch worm, rainbow warrior, copper johns, PTs, or lighting bugs. Using flies this small requires your tippet to be 5, 6 or 7x. This a great way to float small nymphs through a run or quite pool without hanging up or spooking the fish.
Anytime you start adding flies, split shot, strike indicators or trailing flies it affects how you cast the fly line. If you are new to using this method try fishing a small riffle where you are casting a shorter distance so you can learn how to adjust your casting stroke. Open up your back cast and keep the line tight in your back and forward cast to help prevent the flies from tangling.
In summertime conditions you need to have more stealth as you are approaching the stream. Keeping a low profile and wearing earthy colors is very important. Start early in the morning when the water is the coolest and fish the shaded pools and riffles. Don't stay too long in one pool. Pools and runs are only good for a few fish and you are limited on the number of casts per pool.
June, July, August and even into September trout can be feeding off the top as well as anywhere in the water column. With not many mayflies this time of year a hungry trout will eagerly take a juicy terrestrial floating down the stream so why not have the best of both worlds by fishing the hopper drop method.
We are already four months into the season. Time does fly when you're having fun. Here on Fishing Creek water conditions are great and guiding has picked up a bit. I hope to have a few photos for the blog next week.
RIO's Viewer's Choice Awards
The 2019 RIO Amateur Fly Fishing Film Awards is now over. With 41 great entries, more than 32,000 views, and over 5,000 votes it has been the most successful RAFFFA year ever.
Now RIO needs your help in selecting the overall “Viewer's Choice Award” winner. Follow the link, watch the Grand Final films, and vote for your favorite overall film! The winning film maker will win $1,000 worth of RIO, Sage and Redington gear of their choice.
You only get a single vote from each IP address so use your vote wisely! We'll announce the winner.
Have fun viewing and voting!
Tying the Crackleback by Tim Flagler
What Jim didn't tell us in his story above is that one of his favorite summer flies is the Crackleback (I have the inside scoop). Watch as Tim Flagler takes us through tying it and then make sure you have a few in your summer fly box!
How to Tie the Crackleback with Tim Flagler. Midcurrent & Marshall Cutchin