Thursday, August 18, 2016

Why I Gave Up Dry Fly Fishing

The sparkling clear bluish green McKenzie water was in view as I reached for a rod outfitted with a large Stimulator dry fly pattern holding a small dropper pheasant tail nymph off the bend of the hook. As I made my first cast, I confessed to my bud Gary that I am not a dry fly fisherman while fighting a brisk wind with probably a way too long leader.  Unfortunately, the large fly seemed to be absorbing water as we reached faster currents and eventually sank subsurface without stimulating anything but my nerves.

Sparkling McKenzie

 As I reached for the small plastic bottle of Gink fly floatant in my vest, I experienced a bit of nostalgia relative to the great success I have had in the past fishing nymphs subsurface; great quotes about the advantages of using nymphs over dry flies by such fly fishing greats as Gary Borger flowed through my head. I could not take it anymore...I finally reached for my 10 foot 4wt, which was loaded with a long french style leader, a curly-q indicator, 3lb, fluorocarbon tippet and two Prince Nymph Jigs in #10 and #14.

The boat now anchored upon a good flowing riffle, I lobbed the flies a few feet from the stern and not far from the side of the boat. I could tell that Gary was new to the method as his eyes fixated on the bright chartreuse colored slinky that drifted just about the surface. "What do you call that thing?" Trying to explain, I was still getting use to straight-lining from a boat. Thus, I could not help but wonder if there is a visual advantage compared to when your body is sunk in the water. Nonetheless, after only a couple casts, my reel's drag gave a scream and thereafter I landed my first fish!

I had continued success throughout the day as we jockeyed around fast water, in which the method works best.  As I swung my arm from East to West, I felt that the weight of my jigs were just right, pulling and bouncing off the rocky bottom -  I felt like I was in total control. Throughout the day, I thought about all the dry fly fisherman who may have passed up the same spots, since the rough water has the capability to sink the most floatable of flies. I thought about the river guides and how they feel about 40 feet of fly line whizzing past their ear connected to a size #6 barbed hook! I thought about all the energy that goes into a long dry fly cast compared to a short lob of leader and tippet.

One of Many

Thinking back, for some reason, I thought I would give my dry fly rod another chance to prove me wrong and it failed miserably.  As I type this sentence, I see it, my first rod, sitting lonely in the corner probably not to be finessed in any sort of way in the near future. Sure...I may use it for the occasional casual jaunt down to the nearby creek. However, when it comes to getting down to business, I will with no hesitation grab the nymphing rod. So to the dry fly purists, the long casters and the fisherman wearing out their copies of "A River Runs Through It": This is why I gave up dry fly fishing.

Trails End

P.S. Thanks Gary for the great trip! I hope to row a boat like you someday. Regards ~ D2

Monday, August 8, 2016

Double D's Late Summer Fly Fishing Tips

Late Summer Row River Oregon

Are your late summer fly fishing trips nothing more than frustrating attempts that leave you nothing but an appreciation for mother nature and all her beauty. Have you ever felt as if your prospected trout were swimming freely about, ignoring your offering and enjoying your inner pain? O.k...we've all heard it before, "a bad day fishing is better than a good day at work". Yep, the frustration can be so profound that you'd rather zombie out to ole' Wolfie with a bowl of ice cream placed mid-lap. Fortunately, Double D's here to save your arse with some hot summer fly fishing tips!

1. Fish Early or Late

Ultimately, lots of bright piercing light is detrimental to trout feeding. During heavy light hours, trout typically inhabit deeper or turbid waters to find cooler water and hide from predators. Boat and people traffic during these times only drives the fish to more secure locations. Not to mention, warmer waters during the afternoon can make trout lethargic and less likely to feed. Use the hot afternoons for a cool-off or nap and find solitude on the water in the early mornings and into the evenings.

A Row River Morning Surprise

2. Nymph the Afternoon

If you must fish the afternoon hours, hit fast water sections with a nymph or two. During hot days, faster riffle - like water provides a cool refuge for snacking trout. In a river system, trout hold in slower water and feed in the faster water. The fish will likely we close to the bottom, so rig up heavy enough to bounce off the bottom.

4. Ditch that Indicator

I see it too often and can't find a reason for casting a round bright object without a hook at a trout in clear as gin me to drink'in! Straight-line your nymph with a colored line indicator or implement a French Nymph method with long leader and curly q indicator for longer casts.

3. Light on the Leader & Tippet

Late summer waters are generally gin clear here in the west so a very light leader and tippet are beneficial. Don't be scared to go 6x or 7x to fool them. I love 3 lb Maxima Fluoro Carbon for nymphing.

4. Shade, Shade, Shade Shade...

Need I say more?

5. Gain some Altitude

If you live in a mountainous region, seek the upper reaches of your favorite river. The gain in altitude will likely garnish cooler water temps and lively trout ready to take your fly.

6. Terrific Terrestrial 

Don't be surprised if you can't find a hatch in the late summer. Try a hopper or beetle dry pattern and tie a small nymph of the bend of the hook to improve your chances.

7. Limit your Visibility

Trout live in water, but they are not blind to your trout-wheelin' tactics. Wear clothing colors that tend to blend in with your surroundings. Try to keep a low profile and stand in a way to not cast a shadow on the water. The French Fly fishing team can be often seen wearing shin or knee pads, which enable them to keep an extremely low position to the water.

Upper McKenzie River Bow