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Fly fishing trips this year?

goodnterribles

Regulators! Let's mount up.
5 Year Member
I bought a used one-man pontoon exactly for situations like that. Virginia has a lot of rivers that have great wade fishing, but it's difficult to access without a boat. I love fishing the Rappahannock for smallmouths, and it has a lot of water like that.
Awesome! My buddy told me the fisherman he's talked to said you won't get many bites because the trout aren't as active, but there's a chance you'll get a monster.
 

CrabHusker

Shut up and color
5 Year Member
Awesome! My buddy told me the fisherman he's talked to said you won't get many bites because the trout aren't as active, but there's a chance you'll get a monster.
Some of the biggest trout I've caught were in the winter months. Ice forming in the guides and on the line. Temps so cold may fingers would freeze. Depending on the river I'd get them to bite either something ridiculously small (18-22 brassie) or a big stonefly nymph.
 

Middle-aged_Ball_Coach

Mobutu Sese Seko Kuku Ngbendu Wa Za Banga of H-Max
2 Year Member
Some of the biggest trout I've caught were in the winter months. Ice forming in the guides and on the line. Temps so cold may fingers would freeze. Depending on the river I'd get them to bite either something ridiculously small (18-22 brassie) or a big stonefly nymph.
I'm getting to the point in life where I just don't want to own, let alone fish, anything smaller than a size 18. I know they work, and there was a point when it seemed novel and cool, but I'm completely over that phase of my fly fishing life. Now if I see a trout who won't take a fly larger than a size 20, I try to kill that trout by whatever method seems most gratifying. ;)
 
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CrabHusker

Shut up and color
5 Year Member
I'm getting to the point in life where I just don't want to own, let alone fish, anything smaller than a size 18. I know they work, and there was a point when it seemed novel and cool, but I'm completely over that phase of my fly fishing life. Now if I see a trout who won't take a fly larger than a size 20, I try to kill that trout by whatever method seems most gratifying. ;)
Yeah, I hear ya.

I had a year or two where I had a lot of access to the South Platte around Deckers outside of Denver and that's where I first learned the important of small flies. When I first started fishing the river in that area, the smallest flies I had in my boxes were 18's. I tried everything I had and the fish would slide to one side or the other and let the fly drift on by. Big fish too. Lots of fish over 20" and a few I swear were pushing 30. The place was unreal. This was pre internet and I learned what was in the river and what the fish liked through mostly trial and error and a guy named Jim Poor. He owned a fly shop in Littleton and I watched him land a half dozen browns one afternoon that were all over 20". Asked him what he was fishing and he held up the leader and at the end was a brassie. 'That's what I'm fishing and I haven't gotten a bite'. Turns out it was a size 22 and I was fishing an 18. I didn't think that could possibly make a difference, but damned if it didn't. I stopped by his shop on the way home and bought a box of Mustad #22 hooks and went to tying. Next trip to the river and damned if I didn't catch some fish. Even then, the place had a fair amount of pressure and these fish were smart. I wasn't getting any virgins. I had two or three patterns in sizes 20-24 that would routinely take fish....IF my presentation was right. Now it's been years since I tied anything smaller than a 16 onto my leader and at least twenty years since I had a hook smaller than that in my fly tying vice. Every other body of water I've fished in my life, I could take fish using larger flies....thankfully. It was a fun time back then though. 6x tippets and size 24 flies with a five pound brown on the line was a rush.
 

Middle-aged_Ball_Coach

Mobutu Sese Seko Kuku Ngbendu Wa Za Banga of H-Max
2 Year Member
Yeah, I hear ya.

I had a year or two where I had a lot of access to the South Platte around Deckers outside of Denver and that's where I first learned the important of small flies. When I first started fishing the river in that area, the smallest flies I had in my boxes were 18's. I tried everything I had and the fish would slide to one side or the other and let the fly drift on by. Big fish too. Lots of fish over 20" and a few I swear were pushing 30. The place was unreal. This was pre internet and I learned what was in the river and what the fish liked through mostly trial and error and a guy named Jim Poor. He owned a fly shop in Littleton and I watched him land a half dozen browns one afternoon that were all over 20". Asked him what he was fishing and he held up the leader and at the end was a brassie. 'That's what I'm fishing and I haven't gotten a bite'. Turns out it was a size 22 and I was fishing an 18. I didn't think that could possibly make a difference, but damned if it didn't. I stopped by his shop on the way home and bought a box of Mustad #22 hooks and went to tying. Next trip to the river and damned if I didn't catch some fish. Even then, the place had a fair amount of pressure and these fish were smart. I wasn't getting any virgins. I had two or three patterns in sizes 20-24 that would routinely take fish....IF my presentation was right. Now it's been years since I tied anything smaller than a 16 onto my leader and at least twenty years since I had a hook smaller than that in my fly tying vice. Every other body of water I've fished in my life, I could take fish using larger flies....thankfully. It was a fun time back then though. 6x tippets and size 24 flies with a five pound brown on the line was a rush.
So what you're saying is either a) I shouldn't ever fish the South Platte near Deckers, or b) there are A LOT of trout there that need to meet a stick of dynamite. ;)
 
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CrabHusker

Shut up and color
5 Year Member
Is that the aquatic version of electroshock therapy?
When I was a kid I watched my uncle use an old hand crank field radio voltage generator to shock fish in a pond. He’d drop the wires over the side of the boat, start cranking and fish would start floating up to the surface. Then he’d just pick the ones he wanted to keep. West Virginia electroshock therapy.
 

Middle-aged_Ball_Coach

Mobutu Sese Seko Kuku Ngbendu Wa Za Banga of H-Max
2 Year Member
When I was a kid I watched my uncle use an old hand crank field radio voltage generator to shock fish in a pond. He’d drop the wires over the side of the boat, start cranking and fish would start floating up to the surface. Then he’d just pick the ones he wanted to keep. West Virginia electroshock therapy.
Hmm, I wonder why Outdoor Life never covered this method?
 

HuskerFaith

Recruit
Thanks for the link. You guys are great with the fly fishing advice. I’m brand new to fly fishing. (Don’t even have equipment yet). I’ve been a spinning reel fisherman for the last decade. I’m as rookie as you can get to fly fishing. Middle-aged-ballcoach and crabhusker have inspired me to no end. Since I’m retired now and I LOVE the environment that fly fishing encompasses and need new challenges going forward I think I might take up the passion.
 

Sandhills Husker

Red Shirt
5 Year Member
Thanks for the link. You guys are great with the fly fishing advice. I’m brand new to fly fishing. (Don’t even have equipment yet). I’ve been a spinning reel fisherman for the last decade. I’m as rookie as you can get to fly fishing. Middle-aged-ballcoach and crabhusker have inspired me to no end. Since I’m retired now and I LOVE the environment that fly fishing encompasses and need new challenges going forward I think I might take up the passion.
I also spin fish for trout, much to the dismay of the fly-fishermen on our stream. I would like to work on fly fishing, for my own benefit but not to appease the purists who have some quite haughty attitudes. Have limited time now to work on it as I am most decidedly not retired. Hopefully beginning in 2021 I'll have some time. Will appreciate the advice on here. Will have no issues in reading the water and knowing where the trout are. Just need to learn the techniques and presentation. Will struggle with the tying as my eyes suck.
 

Middle-aged_Ball_Coach

Mobutu Sese Seko Kuku Ngbendu Wa Za Banga of H-Max
2 Year Member
I would like to work on fly fishing, for my own benefit but not to appease the purists who have some quite haughty attitudes.
That works both ways. Yes, everybody knows somebody who fly fishes who is obnoxious about it, but what I've seen much, much, much more of, is spin fishermen who feel the need to tell off fly fishermen for being ... fly fishermen.

For my part, who cares? I've used flies on spinning equipment because it's a better way to fish deeper water, and I've used bait (and even PowerBait) on a fly rod because it's often the best way to drift bait naturally. I also have a 2-handed spey rod that I use for bluegills and tiny bass just because it's fun. I enjoy tying classic flies on black salmon spey hooks, even though I've never fished for salmon, and even though those flies haven't been particularly effective for any fish that I have tried to catch. Do you know what all of these things have in common? I enjoyed doing each.

If you have spinning gear, and you want to start fly fishing, I'd recommend starting with some nymphs and streamers on spinning gear. Do you have a long ultralight spinning rod? You can use that setup with the least split shot necessary to take a streamer to the bottom and fish the pocket water and plunge pools that are hard to fish with fly line. You can also tie as light of a jig as you can cast 25' that will get you to the bottom, then tie a nymph or two above that (if it's legal where you live to fish more than one lure at a time). A 1/100 oz black marabou jig on the end of your rig with a size 14 Gold-Ribbed Hare's Ear nymph above it about 8" and a size 18 Pheasant Tail nymph about 12" above that will cover most small streams. You can throw it upstream of where you believe fish are holding, let it sink to the bottom, then just hold enough tension to get the jig off the bottom so that the whole rig gets to drifting downstream. That's basically what Euronymphing is, which has been all the rage in fly fishing for the past decade. If you can't get close enough to fish that way, put a fly fishing float on above it and whatever weight jig you need to both get to the bottom and NOT sink the float. Fly fishing indicators are great, but ice fishing floats will probably work better with a jig. Fish it the same way by casting it upstream of the trout and let the current take the rig to them. The top of the river flows faster than the bottom of the river, so it's sometimes necessary to put the brakes on the float from upstream so that it doesn't rip the jig and flies off of the bottom.

On the other side of things, if you want to start using a fly rod, get a simple starter set and go catch some bluegills from a boat dock. A panfish popper on top and either a tiny weighted fly or even a size 8 hook with a piece of nightcrawler is a great way to be sure that you catch fish while you work on your casting.
 
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