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Going buggy

Notes from the North Woods

This football shaped, brook trout measured only 6 1/2 inches in length, but it weighed nearly the same as the much longer fish above it.

This football shaped, brook trout measured only 6 1/2 inches in length, but it weighed nearly the same as the much longer fish above it. Photo by Joe Hackett.

Fishing a fly like a living insect

On the ponds, surface water temperatures are already in the high 40’s to low 50’s and they remain considerably colder in the depths, however the water temperature on the streams and rivers is currently running a bit warmer.

As a result, flyfishermen seeking surface action will find more activity on the streams and rivers while a sinking or sink tip line is best suited for anglers on the ponds.

Easily accessible underwater meals such as nymphs, larvae, or leeches, salamanders, crayfish and minnows will provide fish with high protein food sources that they can obtain safely below the surface, and out of the reach of predators.

However, for those anglers that simply must fish a dry fly, I recommend attaching a nymph or emerger pattern directly to the hook shank of the dry fly. This tandem combination of a wet and a dry fly can produce fish when nothing else will do.

In low, clear water conditions, trout can become very cautious and nervous. Often, they will simply refuse to feed on the surface. In such conditions, I have discovered a small nymph or a wet fly will often provoke fish to feed, even when they refuse to rise to a dry.

With the dropper pattern method, anglers can satisfy their desire to watch a surface fly, while increasing their odds with a subsurface offering. In addition, when a fish takes the nymph or an emerger below the surface; the dry fly can serve as a visible strike indicator.

On several occasions, I have witnessed anglers land two fish on one line. It has been proven that a fish in distress will often attract other fish, which will also feed aggressively.

If fish are slow to take, it often helps to impart action to the offering. The successful angler will often skitter or skate a dry fly in order to entice a fish to strike.

Joe Hackett is a guide and sportsman residing in Ray Brook. Contact him at brookside18@adelphia.net.

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