Thursday, June 18, 2009

Calling All Those Who Fly Fish Trout--Please Respond!!

Last weekend, I embarked on another visit to the Iowa trout streams in Delaware County. I was surprised at my enthusiasm towards this trip--the last trip I only caught two fish, while my friend caught well over a dozen. Not to mention, I probably lost over 20 flies the last time I was there. I prepared this trip with roughly 60 new flies I tied earlier in the week. I was definitely excited to try a few new patterns. I was also anxious to get out and do a little camping.

When the first day was over, I had a grand total of zero fish and zero bites. I wasn't too surprised or disappointed by the outcome...I was more or less expecting it. Later on, we got to our camping site just in time for a large thunderstorm to start rolling in. We hadn't built a fire yet, and we were getting worried we wouldn't be able to cook our deer-cheeseburgers. We finally got the fire started and created a canopy out of branches and leaves. This kept the fire dry enough to stay burning during the rain. With no grill to cook the burgers on, we found a nice and flat piece of sandstone from the stream behind our campsite and put it right on the coals. The burgers cooked up very well, and we had a delicious supper--minus the soaking downpour.

The rain had passed by morning, but the streams went from crystal clear water to the color of chocolate milk. I would say this made the fishing worse, but I actually managed to catch a nice little Rainbow Trout and had a few bites that morning. Later in the afternoon, we couldn't even get a bite. Feeling defeated, we came back to our neck of the woods in Central Iowa to catch some bluegill.

So here is the big question I have for those who flyfish trout: What kind of technique do you use to catch trout? Do you cast upstream and let the fly float to you, or do you cast down stream and pull back towards you? What types of flies/size of flies do you have the best luck on? Do you give the fly action, or do you let the stream just take it? I started flyfishing for bluegill on a decent sized lake with poorly made foam spiders. For the past ten years, I have honed my skills and have become great at catching bluegills, but when I get to a stream with moving water and rather picky fish, all those years of bluegill fishing seem to be useless. Please leave some feedback on what catches you fish. I'll take any tip you can possibly give.


  1. I can't give you any fishing advice since I'm not having a great deal of success when we go fishing either.

    What I would like to do is offer you some support - a cheering section. Keep trying your different baits etc...Something will work for you. ;)

  2. Like you, I can put a hurting on the Bluegills and Bass in a pond or lake. I have had some decent luck with trout, but I am not nearly as consistant as I would like to be. I fish tiny mountain streams with native Brook Trout in them. I cast upstream and keep tension on the line as it floats back to me. I have good success with Gold Ribbed Hares Ears and various black nymphs. Whenever I fish stocked streams, big bright nymphs seem to do the trick, and I usually put a fair amount of action into the fly.

  3. CDGardens: Your support is very much appreciated!! It has certainly been an odd year for fishing--I've done much better in previous years.

    Tom: I can't thank you enough for your insight. I actually just started tying Hare's Ear Nymphs for the first time this week, and I think they might do the trick. I used one for bluegill this evening and was beyond impressed on how well it worked on them.

  4. Well I've good luck with Red Humpys for Bluegill and crappie. It's a great attracter fly and floats high and is easily seen. As for streams and trout that's a lot to cover. In a nutshell though here are a few of my favorites. When the grasshoppers get going in July the meadow creeks and small streams with high cut banks prove very productive. Sofa Pillows, variations of grasshoppers and Ants work well drifted next to the cut banks. Also I love fishing Salmon fly hatches. The fish gorge themselves and that is a blast! When I use dry flies for trout I fish them upstream and let them float down to me as naturally as possible. That's the trick, a free float with no indication that you're at the other end.
    As you can probably figure I love to fish dry flies or swing streamers and Steelhead patterns. It takes a lot to get me to fish below the surface. When I do though the Hare's Ear and Pheasant Tail Nymphs are good as are Dark Cahills and Leech patterns. Perhaps the best advice I can offer is that that was given to me many years ago: Fish with the fly, lure etc. that you have the most confidence in. Cause you'll fish it harder and be more attentive and learn more.
    It's all about a jerk on one end, waiting for a jerk on the other end. Or so I've been told.
    Good Luck!

  5. Terry: Thanks a TON for your advice!! The little success I've had has been beneath the surface, but I'd definitely be willing to give the top-water another try. I'll have to look into the grasshopper patterns.