Sometimes I’ve been refused by trout actively feeding on emergers. Seems the fish wanted the imitation mostly right on the surface and not in the film or shallow water column. My solution was this pattern with a foam cut out pushed onto the shank. I used a paper punch from the craft store to create the round 2mm thick foam circle.
Just a general size 18 emerger imitation for anything in the golden brown color family.
I like the tie Bill. I have a few similar to your pattern. I have had a hard time keeping them a float after treating the fly. I started using water shed from hairline dubbing around the foam and a small amount on the CDC to help out.
Thanks for the advice @Scarpino
I’m always grateful when you share your experiences with me.
What I wanted from this fly was the ability to have the area closest to the eye to ride on the surface while the rest of the pattern rode in or slightly below the film. I wanted the hook point to be down and the hook eye to be up.
I use the shuck material and hook weight to get the point down and then I use a super dry dubbing for the rear of the fly forward to the foam mini disc. I tie in a cdc puff behind the foam by the stem. Then I fold it over the disc and tie it down behind the eye. The foam and extending cdc have been enough to keep the fly riding as I want. Maybe I should say as the fish want.
My initial thoughts on this included adding an underbody of 0.5 mm foam to the 1/3 of the hook shank directly below the foam disc. This made the fly too bulky for my tastes so I stopped adding it. This idea might work better on flies in the 14 range but I didn’t like the look on smaller sizes.
Again, thanks so much for the suggestions and the sharing of experiences.
What colors do you favor for your similar fly Michael? Do you prefer a white color foam or some other color? Do you also fish your imitation in slack water? I’m hoping you don’t mind all the questions. I do appreciate your commenting on this one and sharing your expertise.
No problem Bill! I have much respect for you and your wisdom. I use white foam of choice and or packing foam like envelope foam. White foam for the float and the envelope foam would be for the air bubble look in a trailing fly that will sit in a few inches of water. I’ll fish these in slack water or a pool of slow water behind a boulder also. I can post the packing foam I use.
If you would post that packing foam @Scarpino , I’d like to see the exact thing you use.
I was interested in body color variations especially Michael. Then the color of the emerging wing. Most of the naturals I try to imitate have gray or gray brown emerging wings, a few have white, and some have a very pale yellow. See below for more on body color please.
I honestly don’t pay too much attention to wing (foam) color but wondered if you have a different thought. Sometime back I had an interesting conversation about post color on parachute flies. The gist of all that was, at times, pink posting material would actually attract a strike when white didn’t. I never saw this myself on my waters. How about you? Post color ever make them bite?
Most of my emergers tend to be a similar color (a golden brown) until the abdomen is fully released from the nymphal shuck. As the insects wait to escape from the water, the bodies harden off and change color depending on species.
Thanks for your thoughts, hope I’m not boring you with all my posts.
Hi Bill! In a perfect world and time, I would love to sit with you and tie some flies and some time on the water with you.
Sorry about not writing about color. I was going to, my time yesterday got a little short. From what I have learned is that you can need a few variations of color and even a split color variations. Like going gray at the tail to golden brown midway on the body of the fly. In my waters unless I’m venturing off, it would be the right color of the hatch with the size of hatch then the size tippet to drift. You are correct when it comes to having gray to gray brown emerging wings. I’ve never seen white has the color.... I go with natural dun CDC mostly.
Michael, I can’t think of anything that would please me more than tying and then fishing those ties together.
I have learned so much from you and others here.
The best is when we confirm ideas or beliefs from different perspectives. Your comment about “split color” surprised me quite a bit. I’d have sworn no one else￼ ever had this experience.
Learned the hard way on this notion. Kept getting rises and even follows but no takes. Had me talking to myself. Finally did what we all know is the “right” thing. Put down the rod and go catch bugs.
Sure enough, the picky little buggers had keyed in on a stage of emergence to eat. I learned that sometimes the change from nymph to adult coloration happens during emergence. Previously, I’d have bet the farm this switch only occurred after the little (expletive deleted) had fully emerged. Haven’t seen this sort of selectivity but a few times, but it did/does happen.
I’m still not a “true believer” that color maters most times, just the opposite in fact. Your comments about split coloration is the first time anyone has spoken about this notion to me. I thought I was the odd man out to have ever seen it. They must have to get really, really selective for this to matter. Geez, don’t we have enough issues already.
One of my favorite little jokes on myself concerns the number of flies to carry on the water. Colors, sizes, hi or low float, surface, film, under, well you know what I’m saying. I often get asked about how many fly boxes I carry when I start instructing novices in the intricacies of our addiction. My joke and standard answer for years has been:
“I’ve had to cut back on the numbers, I can’t stand to watch the pack horse die from being overloaded”. LOL
Yesterday I had a conversation with a couple of friends that I fly fish with. One has been euro nymphing for about a year now and the other one hasn’t yet started. The colors on some of the euro flies are vibrant in color like hot spots that don’t even look like a bug in water. I’ve fished next to him euro nymphing and he landed more fish with those style of flies. I believe with everything that we were taught and learned that it’s all about the presentation and what we can control with and without a strike indicator. I’m starting to wonder if it’s also the way you tie on a fly euro nymphing. I do have about 10 or so fly boxes full of flies and so much tying materials that I’m wondering if the trout are smarter than us all that we give them credit for. Lol. At the same time with things I’ve learned nymphing with a strike indicator and euro nymphing, I also have a friend that was a youth euro nymphing champion that can land fish just using techniques that he has learned and doesn’t know how to really teach it to me. It comes to him in nature.
Yes Michael, I have a slightly different slant on “fish being smarter”. They should be. Realistically, we are the “intruders” in their world. We haven’t lived in water and haven’t had to learn what is edible versus not as it drifts by. We can only guess at what they see and what they believe it is with regards to prey or not. Maybe I’m foolish with the notion that I’ve ever really “learned” anything about the fish’s world.
I have (very few LOL) non-fishing friends who like to question my enthusiasm and excitement when, as they say, “I outsmart a dumb fish”. The fish are the “masters of their universe” and when I have success in fooling them, I feel I’ve crossed over just a tiny bit into their world.
More ramblings from the mind of a covid-19 imprisoned person.
Way back when I was about 12 or so and was trying to become a more successful fly fisherman, I decided to spend as much time on the water “studying” as I did fishing. No Internet back then, had to learn it all by first hand experiences (and many failures). Used a snorkel and spent time underwater watching mostly trout go about their usual routines. Did all the reading I could from the “experts”. Confirmed some of their ideas but also found lots of BS in some of those written opinions.
This led me to the conclusion that most of a trout’s diet consisted of the larval or nymphal form of insects. Spent the next decade or so fishing nothing but nymphs or larva. Not just a switch to a fly “type” but also a methodology. All the more modern names such as high sticking or euro (Czech) nymphing were my “learned” methods of fishing. Never had a name associated with how I fished but did have older, more experienced folks follow me around as I caught fish and they didn’t.
This isn’t bragging Michael, I was simply following the “rules” the fish set down. Nothing earth shaking or clever about it, simple “monkey see, monkey do”.
If I’m not boring you to tears already, let me know as I’d like to continue sharing my thoughts and experiences that have led me to theories about “strike inducing” factors. I’ll not be upset if you tell me to “just shut up already”. 🤪🤪🤪
No way Bill! I’m enjoying all of this. Here is another thing I have learned just recently and kind of a shocker. I ask one of my Marine brothers I fish with to fish with 2x tippet. I asked him to keep the strike indicator all the way up with 2 AB weights about 20 inches above the first fly and use a golden stone fly for the first fly followed by a San Juan worm and his choice of the third fly spaced about 16 inches apart. Here in Colorado we can fish up to 3 flies. His thought was that I was crazy. I told him to drag the line through. Needless to say he landed all 20 plus inch browns yesterday and one brown actually broke him off on a rock that would have been his biggest brown yet to land. With that said, I knew that the browns sit lower and in deeper pockets than the rainbows. I haven’t fished this section of water yet because there isn’t to much room to work with. 3 people is a crowd. I have listened to those that have fished it and pictures of people landing some big fish in there. My thoughts were to see if tippet size would really matter. I figure spaced right it shouldn’t.
I love experiments like this one. Now I have to know what that third fly was and did it get the most strikes? I’ve already formed a “half-baked” theory about your test results but need to know about that last fly.
I don’t have waters (except for hatchery stockings) that have populations of mixed (browns & rainbows) trout. Here it’s pretty much one or the other on each stream. Brook trout have to be chased on small clear mountain streams and are not usually found in other waters.
I agree with your original hypothesis about the heavier tippet not making all that much of a difference except on really heavily pressured waters. Sadly, most of the local waters I fish get exactly that sort of pressure. The trout here are more than leader shy. Also sadly, this has a cause that drives me insane. Namely, foul- hooking /snagging by the so called sportsmen. 🤬🤬
Seems I share my local waters with some less skilled folks who, having spent $ for a fishing license, will do almost anything to insure a return for their dollars. I’ve had the great pleasure of turning in a few to the Waterways Patrolmen. These a-holes aren’t even subtle about it. They actually use weighted treble hooks in large sizes. Nothing like living near a large urban area to concentrate the jerks.
Can’t wait to hear about that 3rd fly choice. The older, larger brown trout hereabouts are really cannibals. They eat anything they can swallow by way of other fish or their own kin. One of the favorite prey items besides smaller versions of themselves are large sculpins. Since these are bottom dwellers , fishing deep in the few spots that go deeper than 2-3 ft on my streams is a proven way for me to catch brown trout of decent size. My only other frequent (and not all that frequent either due to limited numbers of trophy fish) success method has been dusk or dark fishing with mouse imitations or some other type of “wake-maker” fly. Keep me posted.
Still want to have that discussion on color too. Some interesting tales to share with you about this.
Hi Bill. The third fly used was an egg pattern. Most fly fisherman would say it’s cheating by using all three flies that are considered attractors. My thought for golden stone isn’t an attractor unless it’s a Pats rubber legs. Browns here in Colorado are just finishing their spawning. The river they fished has a lot of private sections you can’t fish on but can float down and fish. It’s the lower Blue River. It’s a tail water that flows to the Colorado River. There are some stocked rainbows near the dam. The browns come into the Blue River from the Colorado River and are big. I do agree that heavier fished waters need to have smaller tippet and also more fly selection to match a hatch almost if not to the size that is in the water.
Bill I think color can be a test in less fished areas. The most fished or heavy fished areas have to be close to spot on. There is a tail water here that turns into the Yampa river into Steamboat Springs that this time of year the rainbows are purple in color and the few browns have a purple tint to them. I tend to throw on an egg, hares ear nymph to a size 20 purple midge. I keep the hares ear at a size 16 in this part of the tail water. Might even put on a wine color San Juan worm.
Thanks for the info @Scarpino
Well, did the egg pattern out fish the other flies Michael? If the browns were targeting eggs, in my mind that answers the bottom feeding question. Still, it sounds as if the approaches to our two waters need to be examined from another perspective. My opinions (and that’s all they are) are based on a whole lot of years but hearing your comments makes me realize there could be huge differences in what methods spell success.
Do you use a “glow bug yarn” for your egg patterns? How about crystal meth spawn flies? Ever tried building eggs with Estaz or cactus chenille? Ever tried Pom-Pom eggs? What works best there? Here, the egg pattern that kills on all the waters is a sucker spawn imitation. When fishing these, color seems to be the critical issue. This is the one notable exception to my thinking that color is a less important detail than most any other.
Wanted to comment on the stonefly. Not an attractor pattern on my waters. Most eastern stones are nocturnal hatches and I mean dark. Not a lot of call for dry patterns. One thing about stonefly nymphs, they can be any size you like given the long nymphal stage of the naturals and the numerous instars. Except when they are emerging, you can fish any rough imitation of any species and catch trout down deep on the dead drift. I meant that the trout seem to key on silhouette/profile and species specific coloration seems to not matter. As always though, presentation is key.
I’d like to share some stories from my earlier days regarding my color experiments. Are you interested in this conversation thread? Your comment about heavily fished areas and colors needing to be “spot on” leads me to ask you to relate your experiences since mine are somewhat different.
By the way Michael, thank you for indulging me and passing on your knowledge. I’m betting we could talk “experiences/experiments” together for ages.
Bill I’m in all the way. I enjoy all of this. Sometimes color in flies have driven me in many ways. We have this stretch of river called the south platte. Cheesman canyon is one of the most fished areas near me. It is also the most technical. With it being technical that it is with flies and hatches, I believe color to size is a key to that part of river along with tippet size. I am curious to hear what you have learned and your thoughts.
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