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#10954065 02/12/16
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When nothing else seems to work, what is your "go to" fly? A friend of mine calls these flies "meat flies" because when all else fails they will put food on the table. I go to a flash back hairs ear nymph with a tungsten bead head, size 16 or 18.


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I know a great fly fisherman who swears by the double bunny.


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Black bead-head Wooly Bugger.


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Assuming we are talking Trout.

Adams parachute when feeding on top (adult or emerger) and a bead head pheasant tail nymph subsurface. This assumes we are talking wild trout. For stockers substitute a prince nymph for the pheasant tail.

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Black or green bead head wooly booger will catch anything that swims. For salt I have caught a ton of species of a green clouser but I'm sure a green booger would have done the job.


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For trout on top: Parachute Adams or Usual.
For trout below: Frenchie size 14.

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Woolly buggers are hard to trump.

For top water trout, the Adams is about as good as it gets for an "all 'rounder"; or a March Brown.


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The bugger likely wins for most.

For dries the Elk Hair Caddis or an Adams

For nymphs the pheasant tail or a hairs ear


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Red micro leech or size 18 lightening bug

Top comparadun or griffiths gnat,

As mentioned salt closer olive over white

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Gold ribbed hare's ear.


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The stimulator in a larger size than you would first expect to use. Seems to work well if it splashes down hard on the surface. Sometimes they can make a trout behave like a bass and attack the splashy giant fly!

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looks like the Adams is favored as it is with me. In western MT I have had success with the Grey Hackle Yellow when everything else wouldn't work.

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Soft hackles, particularly a Grouse and Orange or Partridge and Olive as a close second. Tied very, very sparsely.

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I am an extreme rookie, so what do you guys think about the Utah killer bug or crane fly?

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What Pugs said..


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Originally Posted by troutfly
Soft hackles, particularly a Grouse and Orange or Partridge and Olive as a close second. Tied very, very sparsely.


These are my favorites, too.


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Originally Posted by Pugs
The bugger likely wins for most.

For dries the Elk Hair Caddis or an Adams

For nymphs the pheasant tail or a hairs ear


This will work for most trout waters, year round. When it gets a bit more specialized, a PMD, Caddis and a baetis in some form of a cripple will always pick up the more discriminating fish that may turn down the common flies...


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Top for trout parachute adams. Top for sunfish sponge spider
Subsurface for both trout and sunfish a Appalachian pattern called a yellahammer. Bluegills will eat a yellahammer when nothing else works.


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Originally Posted by seal_billy
...Bluegills will eat a yellahammer when nothing else works anything.


Fixed it.


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Originally Posted by Pugs
The bugger likely wins for most.

For dries the Elk Hair Caddis or an Adams

For nymphs the pheasant tail or a hairs ear


This is spot on

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Wooly buggers and gold ribbed hares ear.

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Wooly buggers....I prefer the Golden Retriever variety.


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Griffith's Gnat, or cinnamon ant- size 22-26 is at the top of my list, but then again I'm kind of a "dry fly come hell or high water" guy who thinks anything bigger than a #20 ain't fair. grin

If you turned me upside down and shook me, a few nostalgic #20 Royal Wulffs would probably fall out of my pockets too. I still like them for prospecting new water.


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Wow, 20"s!!!!! Don't think I have a fly smaller than a 14!!!


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Originally Posted by pal
Originally Posted by seal_billy
...Bluegills will eat a yellahammer when nothing else works anything.


Fixed it.


False. Pressured fish in clear water can be as finicky as a wild trout. Nip and run is the best you can get out of them when they are like that unless you use live bait. Where you live might be different but in the south we take sunfishing serious and thus they get spooky and finicky quick when they are fished hard.


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Originally Posted by WyoCoyoteHunter
Wow, 20"s!!!!! Don't think I have a fly smaller than a 14!!!


You don't need any. I certainly didn't until I moved east. Fishing some of the limestone rivers up in PA has been an education and I've been a poor student. grin

On the good side, some of those clear shallow rivers have great scenery and yield some great fish.

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No one loved to fish more than my kid brother. One day he was fishing from the rowboat and ran out of bait. He started catching bluegills on a waterlogged piece of cardboard he found in the bottom of the boat.


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Irresistible for a Dry fly in fast pocket water
Parachute adams in slower pools

Hares Ear or Pheasant Tail for nymphing

I keep Size 14-16-18 in my vest.

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Originally Posted by WyoCoyoteHunter
Wow, 20"s!!!!! Don't think I have a fly smaller than a 14!!!


Like Pugs said, the trout in the Penna and Maryland spring creeks that I have haunted for the last 30 years would laugh you off the water if you tossed them a #12 dry fly. grin Funnily though, regular sized streamers, nymphs, emergers, etc. can produce- especially for big browns. When it comes to dry flies in the meniscus you'd best be fishing pretty fine.


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Quote
waterlogged piece of cardboard he found in the bottom of the boat


On calm Yellowstone water fish can be especially tough and matching the hatch might require 3 changes in 45 minutes. Add some chop to the surface and near anything works.

Up at Fishing Bridge, however, I've watched those same cuts come up and suck down cigarette butts.


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I spent a couple alcohol infused evenings chatting with Ernie Schweibert (he dearly loved his scotch) and naturally the topic of hatch matching came up. After going back and forth on the subject he admitted that if he were stranded with just a rod and a couple of small Royal Wulffs he would merrily set about catching fish. And then Jim Bashline walked in and things went downhill from there...

(Seven Springs Resort, winter, 1991, Fly Tying Symposium)


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The Ginger Quill was always the go to fly for me on the Stillwater and Yellowstone rivers where I grew up. A Gray Hackle Yellow wasn't too shabby either.

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Originally Posted by WyoCoyoteHunter
Wow, 20"s!!!!! Don't think I have a fly smaller than a 14!!!


Nothing like small flies, 7X tippet and a 3 weight rod...

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I fished a local tailwater yesterday with a 3 weight rod throwing size 20 & 22 midge pupa and olive WD40's.

Caught 5 on a black midge and when a few BWO's came off I used the WD40 to hook two more, all on 6x flurorocarbon.

Good fun!


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Tailwater fisheries tend to proliferate tiny flies and patterns. These are Cutthroat caught on the Lamar in Yellowstone near the bank where small terrestrials are the key...

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Shrap,

That is a great Cutthroat. I have fished the Firehole, the Madison and the Yellowstone in the park but not the Lamar. Looks like I missed the best fishing.

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You likely won't find these and they are under your nose. Here's one from the Yellowstone..

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Originally Posted by seal_billy

False. Pressured fish in clear water can be as finicky as a wild trout. Nip and run is the best you can get out of them when they are like that unless you use live bait. Where you live might be different but in the south we take sunfishing serious and thus they get spooky and finicky quick when they are fished hard.


Not just the South, and not just fished hard. I swear bluegill/redear can show trout a thing or two when it comes to inhaling and exhaling a fly in the blink of an eye. I also know I'm the only fly angler targeting these fish, and yet in August/July getting them to really commit to a bite just doesn't happen. Same spot in October, and it's a good sized (relatively, right?) 'gill per cast. One thing that I found worked fairly well for me in summer, was "Czech" nymphing when the fish got picky. No line outside the rod, a tight leader and hitting any hesitation in the movement of the sighter. A-N-Y hesitation...

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Another vote for wooly boogers. I like olive the best, anywhere from size 14 up to 2/0.

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Well for me, an Adams for dry flies, a size #18 or 20 just works 98% of the time, nymphs hare's ears and Pheasant tails, then a # 8 or 10 Wooly bugger black with peacock herl for the body and a couple of strains of pearl flash a bou in the tail dose it for me! Over the years I notice that from my records on the stream, my average sized fly has gotten smaller and sparser over the years! Commercial tied flies have to much material on them! Oh Griffiths Gnat in 22-26, those are a must have in your box!


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Originally Posted by shrapnel

Tailwater fisheries tend to proliferate tiny flies and patterns. These are Cutthroat caught on the Lamar in Yellowstone near the bank where small terrestrials are the key...

[Linked Image]


Yep. Although I enjoy Slough also and same tactics work.

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Originally Posted by Pugs
Originally Posted by shrapnel

Tailwater fisheries tend to proliferate tiny flies and patterns. These are Cutthroat caught on the Lamar in Yellowstone near the bank where small terrestrials are the key...

[Linked Image]


Yep. Although I enjoy Slough also and same tactics work.

[Linked Image]


Mine's bigger...


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Originally Posted by shrapnel
Originally Posted by Pugs
Originally Posted by shrapnel

Tailwater fisheries tend to proliferate tiny flies and patterns. These are Cutthroat caught on the Lamar in Yellowstone near the bank where small terrestrials are the key...

[Linked Image]


Yep. Although I enjoy Slough also and same tactics work.

[Linked Image]


Mine's bigger...


Must be the angle. grin cry


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I tie all my own flies. I use tons of mosquitoes, black foam ants (fun after a rain shower) and anything with a small bead for a nymph.

Parachute Adams and Elk Hair Cadis are pretty popular, but sometimes the fish are used to seeing them and go for other variations.

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A few favorites? Sure. "Go to fly"? No way! You can probably cover 95% or more of Rocky Mountain fly fishing situations with a few nymphs and dries. But there are days when the fish won't touch the one fly that has always been your favorite fly for a given stream. It doesn't take THAT many flies to cover almost all the bases. Zebra Midge, Shop Vac, Pheasant Tail, Hare's Ear, Prince Nymph, Rubber Legs, Wooly Worms and Buggers for subsurface. Most should probably have bead heads. Parachute Adams, Royal Wulff, Royal Trude, Elk Hair Caddis, Stonefly, Hoppers and Ants for dries. And don't forget some soft hackles. Now you're set for most anything!

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And if the fish aren't buying what you're offering, slow down, stop and look around. Observe. Maybe the fish are trying to tell you what they want. The biggest mistake I make is fishing a fly that's not producing for too long before tying on something else. I have so much fun fishing that sometimes I have to remind myself that I'm trying to catch something! smile



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Originally Posted by pal
Originally Posted by seal_billy
...Bluegills will eat a yellahammer when nothing else works anything.


Fixed it.


^^^^^THIS^^^^^^^


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One old go to fly is the Red Disco Midge #18. One that is becoming a favorite on still waters is the All Day Midge Emerger #18.

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Any Hornberg #6 thru #12 depending on the size of the water and/or the size of the target fish.

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Originally Posted by 260Remguy
Any Hornberg #6 thru #12 depending on the size of the water and/or the size of the target fish.


I like old school, too!


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Originally Posted by Pugs
The bugger likely wins for most.

For dries the Elk Hair Caddis or an Adams

For nymphs the pheasant tail or a hairs ear


THIS!


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Originally Posted by Pugs
The bugger likely wins for most.

For dries the Elk Hair Caddis or an Adams

For nymphs the pheasant tail or a hairs ear



Exactamundo.


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Cold freshwater. #6 red WOOL bodied bugger w/soft black tail and hackle counterwraped/ribbed w/copper wire

Warm freshwater- #4 3x fat dubbing loop tied olive rabbit bodied Dragon nymph w/matching pheasant tail hackle (big fly)

Cold saltwater Trey Combs various Sea Habit 1x-4x or chartreuse over white Clouser 2x

Warm saltwater-1x-10x Sea Arrow Squid or big damn white crystal chenille Bugger.

With these I've caught everything from 4" trout (as well as several of over 6#) up to 100# sails and lost striped marlin of over 120#

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High mountain lake: Foam ant sometimes throw a San Juan off the back or a beadhead or a Mysis Shrimp

Freestone River: Mid-to-late summer: Parachute Adams as the dry with a beadhead dropper

Freestone River: Early summer with higher flows: Big Stimulator or a Madam X with a Pat's Rubberlegs dropper

Bigger river from a boat: Tandem streamers: Platte River Spider with a Thin Mint off the back. (lead core line helps)

Tailwater: Size 22 or 24 small and black/brown with plenty of weight to get it down, early spring and fall-peg an egg and put the Size 22 or 24 behind it about 9".

A couple of close friends are pros and I'm within a quick call of knowing exactly what to use and where to go. However, this is my usual play book without expert knowledge from a recent trip.

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Number 14 hairs ear nymph. Beaded, double drop or behind a hopper.

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For wild trout : Parachute Adams , soft hackle hares ear

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What about a Fan-Wing Royal Coachman tied on a 20?

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For trout something in a smaller white or black pattern. I tie my own so don’t know names.
Bass would be deer hair minnow.
Muskie a game changer.

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I’m pretty obsessed with big brook trout in Adirondack ponds. Along with the above mentioned, I’ve fished Landon Mayer’s Mini Leech pattern in #14 in ponds and was impressed. Had luck with in on freestone streams as well. Not a fly pattern but effective and worth a look if you’re in the mood to try something different.

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Egg sucking leech. (purple-red)



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For me down here in the salt it would be a clouser minnow. Color would depend on the color of the water. Clousers seem to catch about any thing. Very much a confidence fly for me. White and chartreuse or white and pink will cover about all needs. I keep two different weights and unweighted in any box I take.

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Originally Posted by Sitka deer
Originally Posted by troutfly
Soft hackles, particularly a Grouse and Orange or Partridge and Olive as a close second. Tied very, very sparsely.

These are my favorites, too.

I’d have to find some grouse hackles in order to tie a Grouse and Orange. But I use the heck out of Partridge and Olives. Partridge and Orange are in the fly box as well.

Another reliable fly for me is one I pretty much swiped from Frank Sawyer. Shetland Leprechaun wool body and a black nickel bead head. I use thread and not wire. I tie it extra extra chubby in the fall for panfish action, and normally dressed for trout. There are lots of Caddis around here, so I’m sure that’s what the trout think it is. I have no idea what the bluegill and bass think it is, other than a nice easy meal…

If it came down to just one fly. As in one particular fly, and not a pattern, it would have to be the Elk Hair Caddis tied by RickR for a campfire fly swap. I’m fairly confident in saying that one fly accounted for about a hundred fish. Sure, most were bluegill, but it also caught trout and bass. I lost it to a fish… That one fly had mojo out the wazoo. Enough that I think of it a dozen years later.



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Elk Hair Caddis is a good choice anywhere you go. I always try to have a few in various different sizes when I am unsure what's hatching as is an Adams and Royal Wuff.
Using a dropper such as a Telico nymph helps when unsure.

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Originally Posted by Kelljp
Elk Hair Caddis is a good choice anywhere you go. I always try to have a few in various different sizes when I am unsure what's hatching as is an Adams and Royal Wuff.
Using a dropper such as a Telico nymph helps when unsure.

Plus 1-----Floats great, easy to see and works great when no hatch going on---A Do All Fly!

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#12 Olive Hares Ear


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Originally Posted by Scott_Thornley
Originally Posted by Sitka deer
Originally Posted by troutfly
Soft hackles, particularly a Grouse and Orange or Partridge and Olive as a close second. Tied very, very sparsely.

These are my favorites, too.

I’d have to find some grouse hackles in order to tie a Grouse and Orange. But I use the heck out of Partridge and Olives. Partridge and Orange are in the fly box as well.

Another reliable fly for me is one I pretty much swiped from Frank Sawyer. Shetland Leprechaun wool body and a black nickel bead head. I use thread and not wire. I tie it extra extra chubby in the fall for panfish action, and normally dressed for trout. There are lots of Caddis around here, so I’m sure that’s what the trout think it is. I have no idea what the bluegill and bass think it is, other than a nice easy meal…

If it came down to just one fly. As in one particular fly, and not a pattern, it would have to be the Elk Hair Caddis tied by RickR for a campfire fly swap. I’m fairly confident in saying that one fly accounted for about a hundred fish. Sure, most were bluegill, but it also caught trout and bass. I lost it to a fish… That one fly had mojo out the wazoo. Enough that I think of it a dozen years later.

Can't go wrong using Partridge either! I'll occasionally use some crazy, speckled soft hen hackle I acquired years ago in place of Grouse. Every grouse of Hun I kill, I pluck out a Zip-lock bag full of neck and body feathers for flies. I really need to shoot a Blue grouse though. Would love to tie soft hackles with thier feathers. Very unique colouration. Great eating too!
Some very cool feathers on a Ringneck pheasant as well.
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Originally Posted by Scott_Thornley
Originally Posted by Sitka deer
Originally Posted by troutfly
Soft hackles, particularly a Grouse and Orange or Partridge and Olive as a close second. Tied very, very sparsely.

These are my favorites, too.

I’d have to find some grouse hackles in order to tie a Grouse and Orange. But I use the heck out of Partridge and Olives. Partridge and Orange are in the fly box as well.

Another reliable fly for me is one I pretty much swiped from Frank Sawyer. Shetland Leprechaun wool body and a black nickel bead head. I use thread and not wire. I tie it extra extra chubby in the fall for panfish action, and normally dressed for trout. There are lots of Caddis around here, so I’m sure that’s what the trout think it is. I have no idea what the bluegill and bass think it is, other than a nice easy meal…

If it came down to just one fly. As in one particular fly, and not a pattern, it would have to be the Elk Hair Caddis tied by RickR for a campfire fly swap. I’m fairly confident in saying that one fly accounted for about a hundred fish. Sure, most were bluegill, but it also caught trout and bass. I lost it to a fish… That one fly had mojo out the wazoo. Enough that I think of it a dozen years later.

To get the original grouse for a grouse and orange you need the red grouse of Europe... or as we call them here, willow ptarmigan. Same bird.

If you need grouse of any flavor let me know.


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Wine and brown leech here.


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Dry flies-- black tail, peacock body, and brown and grizzly hackle.


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I like the fact that people are still using the old, classic fly patterns.

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I'm in the corner of my nymphs of choice are gold ribbed hare's ear, pheasant tail and prince. My dries of choise are parachute adams and elk hair caddis. I feel if I had to pick only five flies for the rest of my life, it would be those five.

The black or olive wooly bugger are "almost" universally accepted as the "if only one" fly. However after 5 decades of fly fishing I have tried those hundreds of times. I'm sure I am the only guy never to have caught a fish on a wooly bugger. Although, based on its popularity and clear successful history, I will continue to try. I even love the book True Love and the Wooly Bugger.

Oh, I almost forgot, my "Go-to fly" is a bead head gold ribbed hare's ear nymph.


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Originally Posted by StGeorger
Renegade

I'll "double down on that! Double Renegade, out West and "trolled" with a small flasher... deadly on Lakes!!!
Big Sky, probably not traditional enough for you but the same goes for that old olive wooly worm/bugger... both will put fresh "filets" on the menu for that evening!

Rarer occasions... Royal Coachman, Polar fly, "Scuds" fished the same way.

Dry fly on the river... Adams Irresistable, Renegade, Elk Hair caddis.

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I'm not fly fishing much anymore. Mountain streams I'd always start with a yellow Humpy. More delicate waters and Adams. Pretty pedestrian, but it usually worked!

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