Readers Cast


John Scott - May 6, 2013

I fly fish a lot. Twelve months of the year and well over 100 days a year on freestone streams and rivers in the Intermountain West and Northern Rockies. Virtually all the trout I fish for are wild and many are native. The Montana trout are wild, if not native, since Montana has not stocked trout in its streams and rivers for a long time. The Idaho trout where I fish are mostly native and wild, although in a lot of places in Idaho there are introduced species and even some stocked fish.

For the past few years I've been developing my own flies to fish the hatches and the conditions that I encounter. The result is that I now fish only my original patterns. Most of them have been discussed on the FAOL Bulletin Board, many during the process of developing them, and most are in the FAOL Fly of the Week archives. So perhaps some other folks are tying and fishing some of these patterns on their local waters.

There is a range of patterns to cover the stages of several stonefly hatches, a number of mayfly hatches, a couple caddis hatches, a midge larva, plus a terrestrial (hopper). Just one simple baitfish style streamer, which is all I need for where I fish.

These flies consistently attract the attention of and hook up with good numbers of trout. Sometimes the catching is slow, but just as often it is fast enough to get a bit boring and cause me to move along to fresh water to see what's happening there.

And none of these flies are Relevant. Because the universe of fly angling got along quite nicely without any of them up until a few years ago, and on a day to day basis, I am probably the only person in the fly angling community actually fishing them. So they are not relevant.

The same can be said of every other individual fly ever presented to a trout, or any other species as far as that goes. No individual fly in the history of fly angling is Relevant. If there had not been an Adams, there would have been an Eve. No elk hair caddis?? No problem. No Clouser?? Big deal. No Muddler - don't be muddled. You name the fly, and a great number of fly anglers will not have heard of it let alone tied it or fished it. You name a famous fly tier or angler and most of the world will wonder what he / she does, let alone the dedicated fly tyers and anglers who don't know the name or who could care less.

The fact that you all get along nicely without the flies that I fish exclusively and the fact that I get along nicely without all the flies that you use, whether your own original patterns or the classic, famous, latest and greatest whatever, flies that are well known or the hot new sellers for the season just underscore the truth of the matter.

Now what is relevant is that folks go about tying stuff on hooks and chasing fish and having fun. How you go about it is relevant to you, and that's what counts. Keep sight of that and you are on a good path. Lose sight of that and you'll likely be on a path to irrelevance.

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