"Sometimes, you just need to go downstairs and waggle a rod..." - Scott Hanson

"Write what you know. If you don't know, make it up..." - Scott Hanson

"A dude can't live on just two fly rods alone..." - Scott Hanson

Man, I have some deep thoughts...

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Trouts On Top...

I used to be a dry fly dude. I only fished dry flies for trout, not because I was a snob, or a purist, or an elitist. I fished dry flies because that's the only way I knew how to fish. When I taught myself how to fly fish for trout, fishing with dry flies seemed like the easiest way to do it. I could see the flies. I could see the fish take the flies. I instantly knew when to set the hook. Everything was visual. No knowledge of zen was required. Dry fly fishing was made for me. Or maybe I was made for dry fly fishing... Whatever the case, I fished with dry flies, pretty much exclusively, and I always caught fish. Sometimes even some big ones.

That was back when I fished a lot, if you could call 200+ days a year a lot. Now I am married and have four small children, so I fish about 5-10 days a year. And I can't schedule my life around hatches anymore. When I get a chance to fish, I have to go, whether there will be bugs on the water or not. Which means that, over the past few years, I have taught myself how to fish nymphs and streamers, almost exclusively. And I still usually catch fish, only now there seems to be a larger percentage of big fish, which I am not complaining about.
Some beautiful dry fly water

But, sometimes it's just nice to go out and fish with dry flies, which was exactly my plan when my buddy, Bryon, and I went out this past Saturday. This time of year I figured there would be a good caddis hatch on one of my favorite streams, and if we stayed in to the evening, we might even hit some sulphur mayflies. That was the plan, at least, and I was stoked!
That speck down by the bend in the river is Bryon

It was a bright, sunny, hot day when we got on the water in mid-afternoon. We could see fish rising sporadically up and down the stream. With enthusiasm that belied our advanced years, we jumped into our waders and bounded down to the river. Or at least that's how I remember it now. I let Bryon have the first good pool we came to, and I went upstream to a lovely looking riffle. We both were using some newly-tied Elk Hair Caddis that I had whipped up the night before. It was Game On!
I started the day with my newly acquired vintage Winston glass rod. I was super excited about it, but it wasn't quite the magical wand I was expecting it to be. I will give it a couple more chances before I break it over my knee in disgust...

I finished up the day with my 8' 6wt Berkley Para/metric glass rod. Talk about a magic wand, this rod is Sweet! Did you notice the capital "S" in sweet? That means I really meant it...
Except, we didn't really catch that many. Sure, we both got a few here and there. Being the incessant fly-changer that I am, I would catch a fish or two on one pattern before switching to something else, which would also catch a fish every once in a while. But things weren't happening as fast and furious as I was hoping. There wasn't an obvious hatch going on, just a few random bugs of various species flying around, so it was hard to know what fly to use. I tried caddis flies, crane flies, mayfly duns and emergers. Finally I eschewed my dry flies and tied on a nymph, catching a nice brook trout on my first cast. But even that didn't get many fish excited.

I finished up the day catching my biggest fish on a silver wooly bugger, which was fun. So, I'm not a dry fly purist anymore, who cares?
While not huge, this was the biggest fish of the day. Whaddya think, 11 inches? Maybe 12... so I will say it was 14.


  1. Is silver one of your go to colors for Woolly Buggers? I've never tried silver. Is it more of a pale grey or a shiny silver? Please add photo of Bugger to this entry if possible. Keep up the good work! Eddie

    1. Yup, silver, as in silver tinsel chenille for the body. Then I usually use grey marabou and grizzly-dyed-dun hackle. I always use a bead on my buggers, and this one had a red one. I will do a tying video of it soon.

    2. Thanks. It's always fun to learn what works for others.