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I can't catch a thing if it aint got a wing
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  1. #1
    *TPO Rockstar* wwelz's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008

    I can't catch a thing if it aint got a wing

    I am on the Bighorn . My fishing plan was as follows. Improve my nymph fishing skills and learn more about fishing soft hackles. I got a big surprise in the soft hackle department. The hatches seemed ok for my plan. Plenty of black caddis some baetis and midges every morning. The surprise was my inability to catch fish in any decent numbers on soft hackles. I tied them all in the right colors and sizes (18 to 22) (olive,black pheasant tail). I tried fishing dries (not my favorite way to fish) and I caught a few . The breakthrough came when I put on one of Davy's caddis dry fly patterns .

    I accidentally fished this fly underwater during a caddis hatch . I caught fish or had fish on every cast. I decided to fish these little caddis using the tactics and presentations described in "Wet Fly Ways " Davy's video. The results were amazing. I used 5.5x Trout Hunter fluro for the tippet tied a dropper with a surgeons not and I was good to go. There were some baetis mixed in at times so I made these flies using the folded wing technique and I tied a few with CDC.

    I am not very good at tying these flies but the fish did not seem to care. I tied these guys in 18 ,20 and 22. I used the caddis pattern and the little wet flies on the dropper with great effect. I caught fish across stream dead drift,upstream dead drift and a bunch on the dangle. I would let my leader straighten out directly downstream and use a very slow hand twist retrieve. This produced a lot of good fish and a huge number of breakoffs. I concentrated on very slow water where the current pushed the insects into the frogwater.

    The water under the bush in the above picture was a good spot. I would float down the river during a hatch ,locate a pod of fish and catch or hook almost every fish in the pod before I moved downstream. The challenge for me was to decide on the best way to present my cast of flies in each location. The currents usually wreaked my drift due to my inexperience but I got a little better each time. I hit a midge hatch in this water and enjoyed a hour or so of fun fishing.

    The water looks easy until your line starts to find all the small tricky currents. Part of the fun is figuring the currents out. This is the midge pattern used. I am not sure anyone would call it a wet fly but I will because that is how I fished it.

    The midges are tied on a size 22 tmc 2488 hook with a thread body and a fluro fiber wing. I may move up to the Missouri and give these flies a try . I am not trashing soft hackles as I have had very good luck with soft hackles on the White and in the Catskills. The mystery is what made the fish on the Bighorn prefer the winged flies. Maybe I need more time on the water with soft hackles and winged flies to figure this all out.

  2. #2
    Really great report!!! Thanks for sharing!!! I only fished the bighorn once in the mid 90's and although it is nothing now compared to what it was then, I still can't wait to go back....
    Don't rattle ur brain on the whys too much...Do ya know why they preffered the winged flies?? Because, thats why....Those kind of whys have sooo many variables that its almost not worth trying to figure out....The important thing to remember is that you have to be versital at all times and apparantly you did'nt frget that....You made te proper changes and were rewared for it... Gr8 job...Sometimes the fish need a different look than what you think they would want...Which is exactly why we let the fishes clues dictate our tactics and or patterns...The same rule aplies for many diff types of fishing...Keep an open mind and when something is not working to your liking , change it up....Again gr8 report...Any fish pics???
    I fish therefor i am !!!

  3. #3
    Thank you for a great report with excellent pictures. What a cool reminder of the many varied presentations we fly fishers have, especially when incorporating the wet fly ways into our quiver of techniques! I won't walk away from an "unproductive" stretch of water without changing up my approach, and will keep this example in mind the next time the fish ignore my first few offerings.

  4. #4

    Pleased you got it figured out, that little micro caddis pattern of mine as you found out can be a killer at times.
    In many repects fishing dead drift soft hackles is no different from nymph imitations, in both cases you are not looking at the fly as you would a dry. There are other senses required, mainly sight of the furthermost part of your leader/fly line.
    My only comment regarding the non interest with the SH would be the type of fly, l know from my own experience that at times that is what will make the difference, including the hook size. Often as not the majority of anglers use flies that are way to large.
    Bill were you fishing a single fly or a two fly rig, just interested.

    In the case of loosing many fish when you flies were more downstream, almost always due to having a tight line, not enough hang and reaction to feeling the take. Thats a hard one for many to get over, as the instint is to raise the rod.
    These are my suggestions Bill.

    Change you relative position and angle of presentation, shorten the the amount of line (distance) from rod tip to the water surface, have a higher rod hold position to increase your angle of hang.That gives the fish a little more lien movement before it tightens up, more time to turn before they feel resistance.

    Where the fish taking the flies as they moved across and down or when you were drawing them back upstream, if this was the case what l will do is to use a raise and lower rod angle, ( but keep the rod high 10.30 no lower ) in otherwords l am always building elements of slack line by raising the rod and then to lower, which causes the flies to zig zag, often as not the fish will take as the tension from leader to flies is backed off, this will give you plenty of time after the fish has taken and turned to just raise the rod without a tight direct contact to the fish.
    Use of a light line is also a issue 3 or maybe a 4wt DT, when fishing ligth leaders and smaller wets, soft hackles and spider. Personally l dislike a WF profile as line forward weight and drag can be a issue.

    Wish l was out there with you, that water looks awesome. White is doing well with the now min flow, both wet fly and nymph fishing as good as you can get.
    Hoppers were also the hot ticket recently when we had some higher water flows, all be it we whacked em with mudd daddies and other muddler style wets.


  5. #5
    *TPO Rockstar* wwelz's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Davy - I was fishing a two fly rig . The soft hackles were size 20 tied in olive,brown and black. I will try your suggestions on the rod angle and amount of line on the water. I think part of the problem is I react to the strike when I should just let the fish hook themselves. I have fast reflexes due to a lot of nymph fishing . I have to learn to turn them on and off .I rarely loose fish after the initial strike so I know I am the problem.I am using the 11foot Hardy Marksmen Drifter with a weight 5 double taper line.Maybe I should try the streamflex four weight 11 footer. I caught fish dead drift across ,upstream and downstream. I got strikes when the fly was at the end of the drift just hanging downstream and sometimes as they moved across and on the hand twist line recovery. Yesterday I landed a Brown that was over twenty inches while fishing across stream dead drift . The fish were very selective. The only fly that worked was a size 22 black midge with a little wing. I am gaining confidence in my presentation even though I have a lot of work to do in that department. The selectivity of trout is amazing to to me when you fish for them just under the surface. This is a very subtle and rewarding type of fishing. I like the control I have over the fly . I get strikes on almost every presentation when I get the right fly and a proper presentation. The Big horn is a wonderful teacher . The hatches are reliable and the fish get on them very well. The Bighorn and the White have taught me a lot. I can learn more in one month on the Bighorn or the White than I can learn in an entire season in the Northeast.Reliable hatches that repeat everyday at the same time are very helpful add to that the fact that all the fish in the river are streamborn. The proliferation of stocked trout in the east give the angler a false sense of accomplishment. I must be a slow learner who needs a lot of repetition. The baetis have been good at times. I frequently add a baetis to my cast of flies to test if they are hatching. The baetis hatch is a challenge for me . I do not see them until the hatch is all over so I keep one on just in case.I am heading your way. I will contact you when I get to the White. Thanks for the help.

  6. #6

    Your comment regarding stock fish giving the angler a false sense of accomplishment is very true. Stocked fish unless they have been in the system for a long time never really adapt same as true wild streamborn fish, all be it they can be difficult to catch, mainly due to other reasons other than natural food and habitat awarness.
    Of the two primary species stocked browns will adapt much faster, by and large bows due to hatchery genetics never do.
    I fished my customers at Rim shoals today, awesome fishing both very small nymphs as wet fly.
    There are some real good fish at the dam also right now.

    I will be over to visit with you soon, what number are you at.


  7. #7
    Hatchery Fingerling
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    SW Arkansas
    Interesting that a problem swinging wet flies can be reacting too early to a take. I hadn't thought of that. I'd kind of figured that out while fishing dries, pulling the fly out of a fish's mouth. I think I realized that was happening because of experience with surface baits with bass. You have to wait to feel the tug, not hit when you see the fish take the bait. This takes a little practice. Next time I'm swinging a soft hackle I'll try to "one Mississippi" before I raise the rod tip.

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  10. #10

    xnxx sony lion


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