WHEN THE TROUT WON'T RISE
Most everyone who is familiar with me knows that I'm a 'purist.' Without exception, I fish the dry fly. I just can't imagine not seeing a trout rise to a fly. Watching a trout move upward from a pool, or racing from an undercut bank to reach my floating offering is a site I'll never tire of. Fishing with the 'dry' is the ultimate experience of enjoyment on the waters.
As water temperatures rise, currents slow, water levels drop and those dog days of summer set in, other fishermen are 'streamering' through those cool, deep pools for the trout who have sought refuge from the ravages of their environment. Their success is measured with full creels of 14 to 20 inchers, while I'm still pounding the surface, fishing undercut banks and bouncing flies off rocks and logs trying to drift into feeding lanes. I fish my heart out trying pocket waters, riffles and eddies. I try all the surface techniques I know including twitching, skating and dead drifting my dry offerings. Still nothing; the trout won't rise.
If you are a devotee of the 'dry' you expect more then your share of days like this and plan ahead. What do I mean by plan ahead? I'm talking about my secret box of
'Special Flies'! That's right --- a box of flies that I carry for just such an occasion. No matter what rivers are calling to me, it's a special box of flies that never leaves my vest. It's my emergency go-to-box, when all else fails!
There are three things that are important when selecting fly patterns; size, color and silhouette. All of the patterns in the box are carried in a full spectrum of sizes. In one respect or another, they could all be considered attractor patterns. The flies represent various shapes and generalized color schemes.
So exactly what are these 'special' flies? They won't surprise you. You're already familiar with most of them:
Black Gnat - It is most important that the version of this fly carried has a tail
of red hackle fibers. I carry the pattern in sizes #10-18. The ones I carry are
of the parachute variety. This pattern covers most dark insects. The red tail
is invaluable in brook trout situations.
Royal Coachman – I don't have to explain this fly. Everyone knows that it
works. Carry it is sizes #6-16. I only carry it in parachute style. It works on
all species of trout under all circumstances.
Griffith's Gnat - This fly needs no introduction. Carry it in sizes #14-20. It
seams to work better in the smaller sizes. It represents many different insect
groups in the smaller sizes and works as a general attractor in the larger sizes.
Roberts' Yellow Drake – Created by Clarence Roberts. Carried in sizes #6-14.
This parachute pattern represents most light to medium colored drakes or
mayflies on the water, especially those of natural to yellow in coloration.
Killer – Created by Josephine Sedlecky. Carried in sizes #10-16. This is the
ultimate in caddis attractor patterns. It's a good floater and represents most
any medium to dark common caddis on the water.
So there, you have it, Tommy's Secret Fly Box for impossible situations. Does it always work? No! Does it work most of the time? Yes! Allow me to give you a couple of suggestions. If there are insects on the water, then obviously put my secret box away and match the hatch as best you can with your standard patterns. If you resort to the secret patterns; start with a size #14 of the pattern you select. Adjust up or down from there, as you feel the circumstances dictate.
These five dry flies will not disappoint you. I have used them coast to coast with a great deal of success, especially when the "Trout Won't Rise."
See you on the water…..