Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Fall Trout Is Here!! (Delayed Harvest Open and Ready)

Hey Y’all!!

            Three weeks into North Carolina’s Delayed Harvest Season and finally the fishing is red hot and upon us. All the invested hours of tying flies, prepping gear, and studying the water is paying off with overwhelming success. The stocked trout are a joy to catch and the released Rainbow, Brown, and Brook Trout that are in the waters right now are biting very well and offer a great day of fishing to even the most inexperienced of fly fisherman. While they do offer a mild challenge, it is a great time to take your not so “fish-wise” friend, child, or better half to the river to get a very enjoyable fly fishing experience without having to hire a guide. A common misconception though, is that the Delayed Harvest is only for novice fisherman and offers no challenge to the experienced angler. This could not be farther from the truth. In my opinion, the most significant and yet overlooked appeal of the Delayed Harvest is that it creates food scarcity on the rivers. When the rivers and streams are stocked to the gills with thousands of trout, wild trout are unable to find the readily available food sources that they have been gorging on all summer. This is a very important phenomenon, especially when it comes to the waters that are highly overfished. Even if the waters are “catch and release” year-round, you can just about count on the fact that a large trout in these areas as seen just about every fly imaginable. Many fisherman talk about the challenge of catching wild trout, but that challenge pales in comparison to the difficulty of trying to catch highly pressured trout. This is what you run into at places like the Davidson River. Matching the hatch is easy, putting a fly right in front of a fish is easy, but getting that fish to bite when he is scared is almost impossible. During the DH there is a time when this fish just can’t take the hunger anymore and when that time comes they will be looking for the first fly that matches what they are looked for. I wouldn’t call these fish desperate, but I would go as far to say that they resort back to their natural predator instincts.

            This weekend I was on Wilson Creek, my favorite Delayed Harvest stream in the entire state hands down. My lovely FiancĂ© and I went up to the stream and camped out for the weekend and we had great luck on the streams. I caught a great number of trout and she captured some great pictures. Most of the pictures were of my furry fishing buddy Coal but there were a few good shots of me with a rod in my hand. I enjoyed the company, especially when trout missed my dry flies. I was able to haul in many trout of all three species but the biggest fish of the trip was a 23” Rainbow on a #20 Blood Midge tied on 7x Tippet. It was a fantastic trip and I am really looking forward to getting back up there. So by now I hope you realize how good the fishing is at the moment, just to give you a heads up like always I am going to post my patterns used below:

Friday 10/18:  Mild Overcast 
  High 75 Degrees
                          Water Temp: 52 Degrees
                         No Wind

Saturday 10/19: Heavy Overcast w/ Short Patches of Sun
                              High 67 Low 42
                              Water Temp: 45

Sunday 10/20:   No Clouds w/ Full Sun
                             High 65 Low 35
                             Water Temp 47

FLIES USED (Listed in Order of Importance)

#20 Red Blood Midge
#22 Zebra Midge
#18 Beaded UV Quilled Buzzer/Midge
#18 Midge-decator Dry Fly
#14 Green Prince
#12 Carolina Adams
#12 Orange / Olive Stimulator
#12 Thunderhead Adams
#14 Red Copper John
#14 Green Bean
#16 Black Elk Hair Caddis

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Flies Tied From This Month's Fly Tyer Magazine

This is a fly I found in Fly Tyer Magazine. I always enjoy picking up a copy of Fly Tyer and reading it while drinking some tea at the local Barnes & Noble. I enjoy reading this particular publication because often they exploit a certain category of flies that may often be overlooked and apply these techniques to more traditional patterns. I know I talk about this often but as a fly tier, I cannot stress enough the importance of altering flies to make them stand out, and some of the techniques in this magazine allow you to do just that. This fly is known as the Fan Winged Cow Dun. This is a variant that essentially uses the wide soft-hackle feathers to create a wing shadow on the water in an effort to imitate a mayfly's wings. Try it out, I know it will be in my fly box this season and more then anything I really want to create a pattern like this to imitate a sulfur dun.

This stonefly pattern originates from the Catskill region of Southern New York. This is another one of the flies that I plan on using this upcoming season. I rarely even use stonefly patterns when I am fishing in NC due to the fact that we don't have as many stonefly hatches in NC during trout season. We are in caddis country for the most part. Now if you fish the rivers on the TN/NC border it is a whole different story but for most of the rivers and steams in the Grandfather Mountain area then stonefly patterns aren't something you need to worry about. For the most part, stonefly patterns that you pick up in fly shops tend to be way to big. I have seen stoneflies as large as a size 6 in fly shops. I have seen people catch trout on them too, but the larger smart trout know that a large pattern like that isn't natural. This pattern that I am tying can act as a stonefly, or it can act as an attractor that can imitate many mayfly or small stonefly species. Give it a try and let me know what you think...

his is by far the weirdest nymph pattern I have ever tied.... I am just trying to mix things up a bit to be perfectly honest. I have a bunch of new fly tying books on the way and I am just hungry for some new patterns. These patterns are in Fly Tyer Magazine for a reason and that js the fact that the have caught fish somewhere, so why not tie them and see if they work on your local stream. What do you have to lose? a hook and a little bit of supplies? Who knows? There is always the possibility that it could cause trout to go nuts. Take it easy Tight Lines……..

Monday, August 26, 2013

Early Delayed Harvest Soft Hackles

Hey Y'all,

        Mike here, I don't know about the rest of you but I always find the first few weeks of the delayed harvest to be a bit slow. Trout get stressed from the stockings and its just not quite as cold as I needs to be. I also believe that it takes trout a week or two just to get into the swing of foraging for food because they aren't used to seeking out flies yet. These pellet fed river hogs need to relearn what it means to be a wild trout and until they do it may not be easy to get them to strike flies that accurately match the hatch. This is just my experience but it really varies year to year.  Regardless, I have always found that these trout are impervious to soft hackles. Wooly buggers work well too but they can also spook trout that are stressed. Often times I will trail soft hackles behind a wooly bugger using tippet material using the wooly bugger as more of an attractor. Whatever type of hackle you want to use, soft hackles just seem to have the perfect type of subtle movement that trout love. So what I wanted to do is just give you a few patterns that I have been tying recently to give you some ideas to get started. Check them out and let me know what you think.

Take it easy and Tight Lines,

This fly is the essence of simplicity and versatility. It doesn't get better then a three material fly that is known to bring up good fish. I really like these simple and traditional flies because they offer unlimited versatility when it comes to customization. Traditionally this fly is tied in orange but I have tied this fly in a number of different colors. You can mix up the hackle, add in a herl collar, you can even bulk this pattern up with lead to where it bounces along the bottom as it drifts. Mix it up some and give it a try...

This is my favorite caddis emerged pattern. Typically I use this fly as a last resort because sometimes trout can sip an emerger without you ever knowing he was there due to the fact that emerger patterns are designed to sink down just below the water film. Plus, I don't know about you but when I am in the middle of a large hatch I want some dry fly action! Every now and again though it is important to but wishful thinking aside and remember that the goal is to catch fish. Not wait to a lucky break....although, those are nice too!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

New Flies!!!

Hey Everybody,

          Get out of your normal fly tying box and try out some new patterns. I picked out a few patterns I thought y'all would like and made a few videos on how to tie them. I have been in a fly tying frenzy with this colder weather we have had over the weekend. It almost made me feel like trout season is right around the corner!!!!

This is a new Attractor Dry Fly that I want to try out this upcoming fall season. Like I have talked about before, I really believe in mixing things up and looking around for out of the box flies to use, especially attractor patterns. Big trout don't get big by eating every fly that floats right over them. These big fish are used to seeing Parachute Adams, Hare's Ears, Pheasant Tails, and a lot of other flies that can be found at just about every fly shop in the country. Sometimes it just takes a different profile or pattern to set them off. All fish adapt, and this is why we can't use many of the old fishing methods used back in the day of Hemingway. Fish have adapted to basically avoid being caught. As a fly fisherman and fly tier, you have the ability to adapt your methods very quickly by varying the way you tie flies.

This is a wet fly I came across at a fly shop here in Charlotte. I thought it looked pretty interesting and so I decided to copy it. The only thing I do different to this fly that wasn't on the original is the ostrich herl under the hackle. I like the look and the ostrich helps puff out the soft hackle a little bit more when it gets wet. I use this fly both as an attractor nymph and a wet fly. Sometimes I will even trail this fly behind a heavier wet fly like a soft hackle wooly bugger or a big leech on about a foot and a half of tippet.

Ok to be honest I made a slight yet embarrassing error in this fly. While I did forget to use Golden Pheasant Tippets for the tail to make it a true Royal Coachman, I did purposely use the moose main fibers. I like the way this type of tail looks on attractor dry flies for the reason that it tends to splay out more. This gives the fly the more natural appearance of a mayfly. I was tying a bunch of these to stock the fly box and forgot to mention in the video that this was my own variant that I do different just to mix things up a bit.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Summer Heat Fly Tying...

All throughout the Tarheel State we are seeing temperatures peek in the 90's. Even the rivers and streams seem to be close to boiling which are driving all the trout down deep. This is the time of year where trout must fight to survive to the next year. Smart trout that end up as big carry-overs find a deep hole to hide out until they can get some cold water come fall. Trout that can't seem to find a spot to call home end up suffocating in the warm oxygen starved water. While the water isn't really near the boiling temp, it isn't nowhere near the colder temps that trout prefer and this causes trout to die off. Not to mention the large amount of rain that we have seen in the foothills this year. While a big storm every now and then is something that trout are built to withstand, 17 straight days of rain will test the will of any river dwelling fish. This year alone we have seen record deaths in the streams and rivers famous for lazy rafting. Some people do not understand the dangers of a flooding river. Even if it is not raining at that particular moment, storms in the upper mountains can cause flood buildups of debris that form a wall of water, logs, and mud that rush ahead of the storm and cause massive damage. So what do you do when all this is going on? Your starved of fishing.... You can't go outside without filling your waders with a gallon of sweat.... And on top of all that your wife wants you to cut the grass this weekend so you can't drive to Tennessee!!! I tell you what to do... Go ahead and stock your fly box with some new patterns for fall!!!! The delayed harvest and fall season is almost upon us. We are less then two months away from the DH opening and the cooler temperatures that follow. If your like me then you enjoy fishing in cold weather. Nothing makes you feel like apart of the river then having a mile long section of water to yourself with snow falling. So what I have for all yall today is a few of the fly patterns that I have been tying in preparation for what I have come to call Fly Fisherman's Christmas Season.. The Fall!!

This is my own variant on the Delaware Adams. I call it the Carolina Adams. In the NC Mountain Streams I can't even begin to count the amount of big trout I have caught using big whulff patterns as dry flies/ strike indicators on dropper style rigging. Trout just can't seem to resist a large fly in certain situations. On top of that it pays off to use patterns that large trout aren't used to seeing. In many rivers known to hold large fish, big trout may see a hare's ear or a parachute adams float by them many times. Displaying a different type of fly can pay off big time...

This is my own spin on a prince nymph. I created this fly to be an attractor pattern to use above a midge. A lot of times when the trout aren't biting like you thing they should, they will usually bite very detailed midges, but they aren't the easiest things for trout to see. I use colorful attractor nymphs to lure trout in closer. They will see the colorful nymph and most of the time it will bring them in just close enough to see the midge.

This is the Royal Humpy. What makes this fly a Royal Humpy rather then the traditional Humpy is the fact that it boasts a calf hair wing and a moose main or dark long elk hair tail. This is an easier version to tie verse the traditional humpy due to the fact that you do not have to tie the but ends of the elk at the base of the fly, fold the elk over the back to create the hump, then use the tips of the elk to create the wing. This method requires much more measuring then the way I tie the Royal Humpy. This variation of the Humpy also has more features of a mayfly then its attractor counterpart.

This is a traditional Copper John tied in red. Being that this fly is one of those traditional mayfly attractor patterns, it can really pay off to tie this fly in multiple colors. It is a great fly in both shape, size, and overall fishability. This is such a popular fly that some fish will have seen it multiple times in their life. Sometimes all it takes is a change of color to make it seem like something different to a fish. A big trout didn't get big because it was stupid. It has the ability to detect the simple imperfections or perfections in some cases that separate real insects from flies. Fly tiers tend to do all sorts of things to make their flies look different from the rest. Some fishermen will even go as far as to tie on very wacky uneven wings on flies such as an elk hair caddis. I watched one tier who refused to use a hair stacker for his hair wings. He just kept saying "I've never seen a caddis with a perfectly even wing". The point being is that it really helps to step outside the norm when it comes to tying your own flies. Take traditional patterns and make your own variant or do as I did in this video and just change the color. I know that you can pick up a Red Copper John in just about any fly shop. I just used red because I felt like it would be something that people would search, but feel free to tie this fly in any color you wish. Personally I have it stocked in my fly box from every color from brown to pink.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Tarpon Fly Pattern

In my fishing adventures I have had mild experience with Tarpon. These prehistoric beasts with a resemblance of the jurassic era, boast a skin made of armor and a mouth that would test of hardness of granite. There is a reason they call these fish Silver Kings. On a fishing trip to the Southern Keys of Florida, I had the opurtunity to catch a few Tarpon in their home waters. I wouldn't say that these fish are hard to hook. They do not require near the amount of searching as species such as bass. A good sized mullet with a large circle hook will test the will of any Tarpon's appetite. In my opinion it is the fight these fish pose that makes them the gamefish that they are. Their granite mouth, power, and ability to leap out of the water with stunning aerobatics tests the skill of any true angler. With all this in mind I wanted to come up with a fly pattern that incorporated two iconic traits of classic Tarpon Patterns as well as the durability to stand up to multiple fish. Chances are you will lose more Tarpon then you land and this poses a problem to any fly tier. My idea was to use the rabbit zonker strip tail of the Tarpon bunny with the thick and webby hackle collar of the Classic Tarpon Fly. I increased the durability of this fly and gave it a thicker collar by doubling the amount of hackle feathers on the collar and using them to form a dubbing brush. For those who are unfamiliar with the concept of a dubbing brush, let me explain how they work. Using a rotary vise with a secured hook, you are able to lay hackle feathers, dubbing materials, or furs between to pieces of heavier gauge wire. When the vise is rotated a few dozen times while holding the two pieces of wire the materials are twisted together within the wire to essentially form a wire reenforced dubbing loop that resembles a small pipe cleaner. This method, which was brought to America by fly fisherman from Czech Republic, allows you as tier to pack on more material when you need it most. Try it out and see if you can come up with some patterns that could benefit. You may even discover that this method is a replacement for chinnel.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Tying The Redfish Bug

This is a redfish fly that I have copied off a bass pattern. It is based on a deciever fly made of deer belly hair and saddle hackle feathers. The colors are based on those which I had success with in the Florida Pan Handle fishing for redfish and speckled trout. Let me know what you think.