Big "Y" Flies

Big "Y" Flies
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Discussing fishing flies, trout flies, salmon flies, fly fishing gear and equipment, Idaho and Montana fishing rivers, NW rivers, fly tying and fly fishing trips. Over 50 years experience in fly fishing, best flies, fly tying, fly fishing techniques, fish stories, directions to rivers and lakes and great fly fishing tall tales with special communications from area guides.

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Here is the scoop. We will also be going on some shorter side trips this summer as well. They will be posted here. If you live in Montana, Idaho or Washington state, you may want to contact IdahoAngler@live.com for details. You'll meet some really great fellow fishers!
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Friday, September 30, 2011

Slow Dries? Try Clipping!

YellowStoneFly of the Idaho Fly Fishers Blog always tries to give to you useful suggestions and techniques about our passion-Idaho fly fishing. One day while fishing on the Norfork River in north central Arkansas with friends we found the dry fly fishing quite slow. The trout were only interested in pheasant tail nymph patterns of specific sizes. I found fishing for them was quite easy. We simply threw the fly across stream, let it sink a foot or two directly next to the rock ledges and strip. Pop! A fish almost every single cast. These were not generally large fish, but they did average 12” – 14” and ooh were they feisty. A cool, sunny spring day made them quite hungry with water temperature in this amazing tail water at about 60 degrees. And it was crystal clear.

Well, a close friend (not an IDFFA member yet) did not have any pheasant tails, and he is not one to stand right next to you and fish, so he couldn’t use mine. He likes to wander and cover as much water as he can each day. He did have in his fly box however, some brown dries (not exactly sure what they were nor where he got them) of the correct size and color. They could have been parachute mahoganies or parachute pheasant tails. So we took some snips and cut off the wings and hackle and instant pheasant tail nymphs appeared. The trout adored them and ate these as ravenously as the real thing.

I have actually done the same thing with Quill Gordons, Adams and PMD's. Floating them under the film just below the surface is also often a good technique for getting fish when you see them exploding from the water and pounding emergers. So, think outside the box when the fishing is really slow. If you are not catching fish anyway, what do you have to lose? You may actually find the ticket which makes a slow day into an unforgettable one. Of course if you are going to fly fish Idaho, there is never a slow day. Right? Wrong. The problem is the next day you find similar conditions and water temperatures in the same stream, the fish will be hitting something entirely different. Go figure.

Send us your experiences and fishing techniques. We would love to hear about them and others would love to try them. But by all means, come and fly fish Idaho as soon and as often as you can.

PS – Just thought of one other small thing if you are not a nymph fisher. Use a little split shot (or two) when fishing this way. You need to get that fly down just a bit. The other option is coating about 6” of your distal tippet with “Xink” and no split shot, particularly if you are fishing in the surface film. A strike indicator is really not necessary when fishing this way unless you feel the need. Just watch the end of the line and you'll see the twitch when the take occurs.

          A Jack Daniels Fishing Story 
          Big Wood River - Idaho

Monday, September 26, 2011

"YSF Stinger" Perfected

YellowStoneFly of the Idaho Fly Fishers Blog was recently fishing a river in south central Montana and it was a great hopper day. I was fishing one of my YSF Stinger Foam Terrestrials and my guide Wayne suggested twitching the fly occasionally to mimic a hopper when it is still alive in the water. Wham! Oh what a strike! After landing a nice 17 incher, I began to get more aggressive with my twitches. The results were the same.

After a full day of throwing large hopper patterns onto the water, my arm can get sort of tired. So I admit I do get lazy by 4 or 5 PM. This particular trip, I got so lazy that I sort of quit hopper fishing altogether. One of the other IDFFA members in another boat was streamer fishing with some success. So, again in my lazy mode, rather than change my fly, I began stripping the YSF Stinger with varying strips and intervals. Wham again! Could it be the fly or just one of those days where the trout would eat everything you’d throw at them?

Thinking back to a small stream I used to fish in the mountains of North Carolina years ago, I vividly remember one day, again at the day’s end, when I began stripping a hare’s ear rather than trying to “dead drift” the nymph the way it should be fished. Actually, I caught more large browns (over 18”) that day than the entire four years I consistently fished this stream. Again, was it just “that day” or did the flies action really make the difference?

If you really take a good look at the YSF Stinger, it does somewhat resemble a Marabou Muddler to some extent. So, maybe fishing it as one could make a difference. I have subsequently fished this fly on other waters as a streamer with like results. Another technique with this fly is stripping it for a few times, then letting it float on the surface and drifting it for a few seconds before continuing to strip. It will not sink unless you forcibly retrieve it.  Browns love this! They may even think it is a darting sculpin. Browns will notoriously come up, pound a sculpin with their snouts in an attempt to stun it, and return within seconds to eat. The trick is to leave the fly where it lays without getting the almost overwhelming urge to make another cast to the fish. Actually, smallmouth bass will do exactly the same thing.

My point is, occasionally be a lazy Idaho fly fisher and stray from your classic fishing techniques for more unorthodox methods. You may be surprised at the results. Fly fishing Idaho will get really great now that fall has arrived. Come and fly fish with us at the Idaho Fly Fishers Association. We would love to have the company, and don’t forget to leave us comments about this or any of our articles. We are always looking for good technique ideas to pass along to our other Idaho fly fishing friends.

Tags: "Fishing Trip Up Lightning Creek" 1921
            The Clark Fork River - Montana/Idaho 
            US Departments of Gaame & Fish (Links)

PS - Check out related posts @ YSF Stinger (tying instructions) and Hopper / Hopper Tandem Secrets (fishing techniques).

Friday, September 9, 2011

Hopper / Hopper - Tandem Secrets

Even YellowStoneFly editor from the Idaho Fly Fishers blog learns new things every time he goes fly fishing. On a recent trip to the Big Horn River in south central Montana, only a stone's throw from Wyoming, I learned that in the dog days of summer trout are not leader shy even in extremely low and clear water. In late afternoon here, and in many western waters, hoppers fly off the banks in droves particularly when winds pick up. Fly fishing Idaho and Montana river banks can produce some explosive strikes and very large fish. Fish your hopper right on the bank, but I must say I have even caught some lunkers in the middle of large waters this time of year.

Permanent colored marking pens.
Do not forget, hoppers come in all sizes and colors, so really LOOK at what's on the water. Unlike the proverbial midge, they are easy to see. Many will fall right onto your vest, pants or hat. Do take a minute to check them out up close and personal. It is well worth the few seconds to do so. I will frequently take one of my YSF Stinger Foam Terrestrials in tan or white and color (with a permanent marker) the fly's underside with the prevailing color of the day. That's right, they may be green one day, yellow the next and orange the next. Sometimes they even have a pink hue. So be sure to check them out closely every day when they begin to hit the water. Be aware though, even though the prevailing color may be yellow, occasionally you will catch more fish by contrasting a pink or orange.

Color the underside - YSF Stinger
Now the biggie! As I stated  above, when there are large volumes of hoppers on the water, the trout are definitely not leader shy. If you have fished a tandem rig in the past, one of the problems you have is the hoppers run together. Try using a 1-0, 10-13 pound piece of monofilament tippet when tying them in tandem. A simple clinch knot will secure them. This prevents the flies from floating together and makes them easier to cast and prevents tangles. It's a great trick and I guarantee you'll have more strikes. I would like to say this is an Idaho fly fishing trick, but it actually does belong to Montana.

Thanks for looking and remember to fly fish Idaho this year if possible. It truly is worth the trip to our beautiful country. The Idaho Fly Fishers Association is waiting for you.


Super Tags: YellowStoneFly.com
                     Idaho Fly Fishers.com
                    The Bull River in Montana  

PS - Check out related posts @ YSF Stinger Perfected (fishing techniques) and YSF Stinger Foam Terrestrial (fly tying).