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Wet flies and Soft Hackle fished during evening hatch
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  1. #1
    *TPO Rockstar* wwelz's Avatar
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    Wet flies and Soft Hackle fished during evening hatch

    I am working hard on my wet fly and soft hackle fishing. One challenge I have is fishing during evening hatch activity. I believe trout feed on many stages of insect life simultaneously. So when there are fish rising for dry flies some fish must be feeding below the surface. I catch fish on wet flies before the peak of a hatch but I have been striking out on wet flies at the peak of the hatch.I have tied my wet flies and soft hackles on dry fly hooks and I am using hackled wet flies like Wickhams fancy.I hoped that would get my presentation higher up in the film but so far no luck. Last night I caved in and fished dry dropper and caught a few on the dry. My question is am a doing something wrong or is it very difficult to catch fish on wets when the fish are keyed in on surface food.

  2. #2
    I'm a noob, the this makes sense to me -

    "As the midge larva begins the hatch cycle they morph into the pupa stage and this is when the midge fishing generally is at its best as far as most anglers are concerned. The pupa will make several trips from the bottom of the river towards the surface before they finally gain a foothold in the surface film and during that time the trout will be actively feeding on the pupa as they rise and fall. The angler will observe, often large numbers of trout, feeding mid-column in the flows as they will be intercepting the pupa as it rises and fall. The real trick here is to accept that the trout may key to one particular color phase of pupa at this point and ignore flies that donít meet their standards, but in all reality even an off color, off sized pupa pattern will probably draw a few takes. [My emphasis]

    The Midge Manifesto: Why The Emphasis On Midge Patterns

  3. #3
    There is an Article coming in American Angler that will really break it down into sections and teach you how to fish each one.

  4. #4
    World Record Trout
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    I am by no means an expert but I do have good success with wet flys during hatches. Part of the riddle is knowing where your flies are. I manage that by using colored mono on my leader to help with location. I use the sparsest flies I can manage...like one turn of hackle and a few wisps of fur for a soft hackle. Lastly-I think you just have to do it...like spend hours and days fishing nothing but wets, you will find your way. It is kind of how I learned and believe me I have a lot left to learn. I think you can be successful swinging wets during most hatches, however if you take the opportunity to also try some upstream(dead drift) casts you will figure out how to incorporate that type of presentation as well and really increase your catch rate...wet flys are funny because they fall into a grey area and there is no right or wrong way to do it other than adapt your style and your rig to the conditions. I am looking forward to the American Angler article as well-maybe AJ and DW can tag team on a wetfly book or video. That would be something to see.

  5. #5
    We use small (14-18) half hogs in Scotland as a very easy way of fishing a wet fly when a buzzer hatch is going on. Fished on an intermediate line and figure of 8 retrieved, they can be deadly! Spider wet patters can also be a great option but the colour has to be right to get many takes. Did you ever try a sparsely tied black pennel? That also takes some beating.....

  6. #6
    *TPO Rockstar* wwelz's Avatar
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    Thanks for the replies. I did better last night. I tried applying mucilin to the first 8ft of my leader. I banged the fish one after another for about a half hour. The fish I caught were all on dead drift presentations. Then the fish seemed to be on another insect and I stuck out. I did feel pretty good about that half hour though.I am putting a lot of time into wet fly fishing. I fish eu style in the am and switch to wet flies for the evening. I ry to foish every day.

  7. #7
    World Record Trout
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    Good to hear! There is no one right answer or right way with this or most other types of fly rodding IMO. You can use the same rig/methods etc every time and sometimes it will work out great, at other times you will feel like the fish left the stream...just keep modifying rigs and techniques to suit conditions.

  8. #8
    Andrew.

    I can tell you that in most cases here anglers fish river systems and not lakes, also we deal with many species not found in UK, (many if which are way smaller) more so the majority of waters here hold large numbers of Bows compared to brown trout numbers, also cutthroat and in some cases Brook trout.
    Fishing pressure is here is way greater than UK river systems are subject too, it is a world of difference. You do not see rivers in the UK subject to 100s of daily boat drift guide trips for one.
    If you subscribed to FFFT in the past then you would have read many of my articles as for Trout Fisherman from the 70s to the 90s.

    There are 4 golden rules for fishing soft hackles to surface feeding fish.

    1. Long leaders. Tapered to fly size, 6x is my norm for mayfly and midge
    2. Correct choice of flies
    3. In the case of mayfly/midge perfect good dead drifts.
    4. Choice of filament used, mono, copolymer or FCarbon, all of which present the flies differently.

    So far as the fishing is concerned, I do not have enough space here to write all l know other than this.
    The question of selectivity is a very debatable issue. Do l believe a trout determines that in order for the fly to be taken there needs to be a exact period of the transistion, no l do not, for every milisecond as the hatch is taking place there will be a difference for each natural during the process.
    What l do believe is it is the relative position of the emerger in the meniscus that matters. In other words where the fish choose to see the naturals, point of focus.

    Next your visual point of focus to know exactly where your flies are. Unlike a dry fly which you can see, fishing subsurface requires way more attention to detail.
    Often as not the only clue is a bulge from the fish or a slow down of the leader, waiting for pulls is not the answer, often as not takes are very subtle indeed.
    Relative angle of the fly line in relation to your leader, cast of flies is number one priority.

    I also have my flies well spaced apart 3 to 4ft at times and often as not only two flies. Sizes may range from 14s to 22s, in the case of soft hackles, and in the case of fishing mayfly and midge they need to be very sparse dressed flies to lightweight dry fly hooks.

    Sherpa, have you fished the dream stream this year. l should be out there August time myself. My guide season slows down then before the fall period.

    Bill, what are the bugs hatching on the BKill right now.

    Davy.

  9. #9
    *TPO Rockstar* wwelz's Avatar
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    Davy- There are some sulphurs and a few Cahills and Isos. I have not seen much caddis activity. Last night I fished late. I hit a very shallow riffle maybe six inches deep. I used an upstream presentation because it was just about dark I occasionally stripped my soft hackles downstream to remain in contact with my flies as I could not see my line. . I rocked for a half an hour. I had very hard strikes on every cast. I have caught a lot o fish out west during the day in very skinny water but I have never done well here in the east. I wonder if the fish in the east wait until dark to go into the really skinny water. The pattern that did the trick was a very sparsely tied sulfur soft hackle tied on a dry fly hook fished with 6x tippet. I keep going back and forth on tippet size because I get break offs on downstream preentations.

  10. #10
    Bill, seems you are figuring out ok.
    In so far as break offs when downstream, other than a too severe hook set, its mainly due to the fact that the fish turn downstream away from you and they also have the force of current to work with. The answer is to learn not to hold on too tight, its a slow rod raise with allowance of slack line to absorb the take/hook set.
    Upstream and across are different situations, a fish running upstream creates a very different pressure to one downstream.

    Regarding why there may be a difference from western to eastern fish behaviour. I am not sure of the exact answer to this but one l would argue is the difference between stream born fish and hatchery fish. No doubt in my mind that they differ so far as feeding habits.
    Bear in mind that as juveniles natural stream born fish are used to feeding in shallow water on natural food sources, not so the case of hatchery fish.

    We have big water at the dam, awesome fishing for big bows and browns Bill.

    Davy.


 

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