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.
Tags: Bead Head Zebra Nymphs