Tag Archives: Fly Fishing

Cwm Hedd Fly Fishing Report 13/07/14

Untitled 11 Cwm Hedd Fly Fishing Report 13/07/14

What a difficult week! Anglers have found it nigh on impossible to even tempt the rainbows in the increased water temperature, with Sally-Ann Iles being one of the few to find modest success. Sal took one on a midge tip line and a size 14 mini cat off the main island, with a very slow retrieve and lost another that snapped her line. Dean Griffiths took one on a black buzzer and a floating line, Ken Bowring took two and Mike James took one on a daddy long legs.

I am mildly cheered by reports that conditions are equally difficult in most other fisheries. Those who go fishing just to get away from it all will have a good time. Tea, bonhomie and ice cream available at the lodge. If your day will be ruined if you don’t even get a knock, then stay home and do the garden or all the other DIY jobs you’ve been promising to do on your days off!

TAPP Open day free fly fishing coaching

There has been considerable interest in the open day being organised by Torfaen Angling Participation Project at Cwm Hedd on August 2nd. Free fly fishing coaching for anglers of all ages and abilities will be available on an informal basis. To register your interest please contact Bob Mayers on bmayers@grouse.plus.com so that he can ensure that a sufficient number of coaches are available.

Poppy fish: British Legion Competition 16th November 2014. We can all look forward to good fishing weather for the November competition: £30 entry fee plus sponsorship.   Over a third of the places have already been taken, so early entry is advised. Cash prizes totalling £215.00. Entry forms available at Cwm Hedd lodge or download at   http://counties.britishlegion.org.uk/counties/wales/events

www.cwmhedd.co.uk | https://www.facebook.com/cwmheddlakes

Open Wed/Thurs 7am-5pm last admission 3pm; Fri/Sat/Sun 7 am -9.45 pm: last admission 6pm (ring if you definitely want to come but can’t make it by 6). Tel 07813 143 034 anytime, or lodge: 01633 896854 during fly fishing opening hours.

Rene Harrop – Drake Dry Fly Fishing

IMG 1828 525x350 Rene Harrop   Drake Dry Fly Fishing

Those practitioners who follow the traditional description of fly fishing understand that insects lie at the core of their sport.

While mayflies are not necessarily the most dominant attractors of trout in terms of numbers, they are easily the most recognizable. With their tall wings and almost magical tendency to appear suddenly on the water, these tall winged insects have come to symbolize what hatches are largely about both on the Henry’s Fork and worldwide.

Although mayflies occur in a variety of sizes, the average would probably not exceed size 16, and many are considerably smaller. There are times, however, when those on the upper end of the scale cause us to temporarily forget 6X leaders and tippets and squinting to follow a tiny imitation as it drifts on the surface at distances of 30 feet and beyond.

Drake is a term of European origin generally applied to a mayfly larger than size 14, and they are considered royalty by fly fishers wherever they exist.

On the Henry’s Fork, the early summer emergence of Green Drakes is an event targeted by many who will only visit the river at this time of year. Known primarily for something less than hospitable treatment of intruders, Henry’s Fork trout display uncharacteristic charity when Green Drakes begin to dominate their menu beginning in mid-June and usually lasting through early July.

At a solid size 10, Green Drakes can have the ability to sometimes erase the futility of an imperfect cast, minor drag, or an imitation that might otherwise be subject to ridicule.

The perfect habitat for Green Drakes is clean gravel, which often features rippled water that can help to mask a flawed presentation. It can be a different story on slow, shallow currents where insect numbers may be lower but trout resistance can be more typical of what anglers have come to expect on the Henry’s Fork. With this in mind, it is a good policy to carry an assortment of emerger, dun, and spinner patterns at Green Drake time. A dark nymph in the appropriate size is also effective for those who don’t mind fishing a subsurface imitation.

As the name implies, Green Drakes are a deep, almost jade green with bright yellow bands along the abdomen and legs. Wings on the spinner are transparent with distinct, dark veins while the dun and emerger wings are a dark smokey gray.

Be on the water early for a chance at a spinner fall, and expect emergence from late morning until mid-afternoon. Cool, overcast weather can delay the hatch into late afternoon or early evening.

Less known but even slightly larger than their green cousins, are Brown Drakes. With an emergence period that often begins slightly later but occasionally extending deeper into July, Brown Drakes exhibit distinct differences with respect to their appearance and behavior.

Unlike the compact, rather burly profile of Green Drakes, Brown Drakes show a more slender abdomen, and the mottled wings appear more upright. The best imitations emphasize the tannish yellow underbody of the natural, although the duns and spinners look darker when viewed from above.

Brown Drake Hackled Spinner 525x304 Rene Harrop   Drake Dry Fly Fishing

Normal time for Brown Drake emergence is at dusk and can extend into darkness on a warm evening. Cooler weather can push the hatch time to mid-morning and sometimes early afternoon.

A Brown Drake spinner fall will often overlap with emergence, which dictates close observation to determine which stage is being targeted by individual trout. Emergers and nymphs can also be the target, and the situation can be quite complex when all stages become simultaneously available.

Brown Drakes thrive in slower currents flowing over a silted or fine gravel bottom. Their distribution on the Henry’s Fork is limited mainly to the upper reaches with Harriman East generally considered the lower boundary. The strongest hatches seem to appear in areas of heavy aquatic vegetation, which makes the stretch from Bonefish Flat through Millionaire’s especially productive.

Gray Drakes are slightly smaller than the green or brown varieties but at size 12 are still capable of attracting the largest trout to the surface. Like Green Drakes, they are distributed through the first 50 miles of the Henry’s Fork, which includes the area near St. Anthony.

Gray Drakes find comfort in slower currents where they emerge at the edge of the river. Because emergence can be sporadic and spread over several hours, Gray Drake duns seldom appear in concentrated numbers, which differs from the other two drakes of the Henry’s Fork. A Gray Drake spinner fall can be a different story, however, with periodic mating flights that can put numbers of naturals on the water that are close to overwhelming.

CDC Green Drake Biot Emerger 525x304 Rene Harrop   Drake Dry Fly Fishing

On the lower Henry’s Fork where the population seems strongest, Gray Drake spinners can blanket the water in numbers that cause an imitation to be lost amid a horde of naturals. Fortunately, a Gray Drake spinner fall is typically a more restrained affair with the number of naturals at a level that can be managed with determination and sound fishing techniques.

Morning and late afternoon are good times to fish a gray body dun along the bank while either wading or floating.

A big Rusty Spinner is a reliable choice during a Gray Drake spinner fall that can arrive at dusk or earlier on a cool day.

Rusty CDC Biot Paraspinner 525x304 Rene Harrop   Drake Dry Fly Fishing

Gray Drakes are primarily a June and early July hatch at lower elevation but I have fished them into early September above 6,000 feet.

Although drakes provide a relatively small window of opportunity to fish big flies on a stout tippet, some of the largest trout of the year are landed during their respective visits. Large mayflies attract large trout wherever they exist worldwide and as kings of the order, drakes are special.

 

 

2014 Rivers International Report

Welsh Team with Trophy 525x341 2014 Rivers International ReportVenue: River Ure North Yorkshire – 27th June

With 2 gold medals from the last 2 Rivers Internationals, the Welsh Team was really hoping their winning run would continue there on the wild upland River Ure. In reality though this was never going to be an easy job! The English Team were on a real high after a Bronze World position, and a Silver in the Commonwealth. “Facebook” talk was all about England claiming the one colour missing! Making the task even more difficult was the fact that most of the English Team were local to the River Ure, with one Team member being a past Season ticket holder on the actual Competition beats! Did I have any doubts? Yes I did, I’ll be honest! This would be no walk in the park, this was going to be tough – Super tough.

We knew we would have to prepare like never before for this contest, and preparations began around Christmas Time, with Terry Bromwell (the Captain) calling the lads together for a number of training days on the Rivers Taff & later the Ebbw. The ultimate preparation we felt we needed was a visit to the actual Match venue. And so it was that over the late May Bank Holiday weekend all 6 of us travelled  North, to check out the River Ure. Dean Kibble, and I had both fished the River 12 years previously as our very first Rivers International, so we had some idea of what to expect. The commitment shown by all Team members, including the Reserve (Robert Bending) was magnificent to behold. This was the BIG one, the one we REALLY wanted to win, and even though I could see that the financial costs were soaring, no-one complained – we wanted it that bad!

Actual Match week started for us on Saturday June 21st, when we left Wales in the early hours, arriving around breakfast time ready for a full days practice. What we found when we arrived was that the River had shrunk ! it was now a fraction of the size it had been back in late May. Being low and clear, the fishing was now much more difficult, but throughout the next few days, we managed to find a few methods that would catch fish fairly consistently. We covered the entire Competition beats (more than once) and we often bumped into old friends from the other 3 Nations during our days on the River.

Eventually, Match day (Fri 27th) arrived. – We had fished, thought, fished some more, drunk a few beers, tied flies, and mulled things over among ourselves. But now this was the real thing, now was the time to finally put all our plans together. I could sense the optimism amongst the guys, they (and I) really believed we could pull this off!

And so it was that at 09:45 the first session started. The sweaty palms disappeared as soon as the first casts were made, and the guys settled into doing what they do best.

I knew I had had a fairly good morning, with a 1st and a 2nd  but how had the others done?

We met back at the 3 Horseshoes pub for lunch, and it became clear that we were right “up there”with the English. Scotland and Ireland had a few poor results and we felt must have been some way behind. We started the afternoon final 2 sessions with renewed energy, knowing that this was there for the taking! The Match ended at 17:45, and arriving back at the car, I was informed that after the morning sessions, Wales were 2 points ahead of England. This was great news indeed, but had we kept it going?

Normally, asking around, you would get a feel for how the Teams were doing before the results were calculated. This was different; this really appeared to be too close to call!

On arrival back at the teams Hotel, I was invited (with the other Managers) into the room where the final results were being computed. The Team (totally fished out) were at the bar biting their nails! The 3 rd session results were announced! Wales had slipped from being 2 points in front, to being 2 points behind! The doubts were back, had we blown it? We were so close! Then the last session results were announced ! After a good last session, we had come back and we had actually tied on points with England. This meant that now, to separate the 2 Teams, the total fish points would have to be added up. This took a little time, adding to the agony but finally we were announced the winners having beaten the “old enemy” by the smallest of margins (8 fish points) or 8 cms in other words!

In fairness the other 3 Nations warmly congratulated the Welsh Team on a fantastic performance, and we celebrated well into the early hours.

I would like to thank the Captain, Terry Bromwell, for the sterling work he did from late last year all the way through to the after dinner speech! Dean Kibble, Simon Barton, Kieron Jenkins and Robert Bending – Thanks Guys you were magnificent!

I would also like to thank the members and Committee of Islwyn & District A.C. for allowing the Welsh Team use of the River Ebbw for practice sessions – This has proved to be invaluable!

Written by Paul Jenkins – Welsh Team Manager.

Written by Kieron Jenkins

Cwm Hedd Fly Fishing Report 18/06/14

10402564 246039588921907 1347979740758432661 n 525x393 Cwm Hedd Fly Fishing Report 18/06/14

Weed cutting at Cwm Hedd

With the weather still against the angler throughout the height of the day, it seems the fish have dropped deeper and a full sinking line is proving most useful. Getting your flies down and below the direct sunlight is key when fishing through the day and the fish are probably holding three or four feet down in the sunlight. The best fishing time has been in the early morning and late evening, so for this week Cwm Hedd will be open on Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 6am – 9.45+pm.  You might find me asleep in the lodge, especially by Sunday.

Fishing until dark is still the ideal time to get the best sport, the last hour of the day is proving fruitful as caenis and buzzers start to return to the water, bringing the fish to the surface once the sun drops below the trees. Try a shipman’s buzzer tweaked across the surface to get most takes.

Top anglers this week were regulars Roger Michael and Keith Cox, who each took one; Roger released a further 6 on a black shipman’s buzzer, while Keith released another four on a cat and a black and green tadpole.  It was great to see Vern Thomas, Matthew Passmore and Clive Sedgebeer from the Fly Fishing in Wales group, who took five fish between them, with Vern taking two and releasing another 3. Clive used a buzzer and a floating line; Matthew found success with an orange blob and an Airflo Sixth Sense Di 3, landing two of his three fish haul within just a few casts once he’d dropped deeper. Vern took his first fish on a cat then 2 on an orange blob, again on a sinking line,  as well as taking a detour up a tree to retrieve a fly he was rewarded by finding someone else’s fly too, abandoned by someone less intrepid!

Regular John Belcher continues his run of success, taking 3 again this week on a light brown buzzer, a blue shrimp and a stonefly on a floating line, demonstrating the necessity to persevere and try out various flies and tactics.

A big thanks to those who have helped to pull out weed lately (see picture above) and keep the majority of the lake fishable, although work on the shallow side of the lake (wading area side) is ongoing.   Blue dye (Dyofix) is being added to the water on Wednesday evening to interrupt photosynthesis and suppress the weed without causing any harm at all.  For more information on this see http://www.dyofix.co.uk/dyofix-how-does-it-work.html  By Friday when the lake has acquired a blue tint we can all pretend we’re on holiday in the Med instead of a few miles from Newport.  Plenty of room for sun loungers.

Tag fish

The £200 tag fish prize is still evading anglers – £1 entry.  The rainbow has a distinctive blue dye mark on its underside, so don’t forget to check!

Fishery Information

Cwm Hedd fly fishing lakes

Bassaleg Newport NP10 8RW; 5 minutes from J 28 M4

www.cwmhedd.co.uk  https://www.facebook.com/cwmheddlakes

Open Wed/Thurs 7am-5pm last admission 3pm; Fri/Sat/Sun 6am -9.45 pm:  last admission 6pm. Tel 07813 143 034 anytime, or lodge:  01633 896854 during fly fishing opening hours.

Thin Water and the Super Dri Elite Trout Taper

IMG 0305 525x349 Thin Water and the Super Dri Elite Trout Taper

Entering the second full year of fishing the Airflo Elite Trout line, I had come to believe there was little more to discover with regard to conditions that would challenge the performance of this remarkable new taper. That idea changed rather abruptly when fishing one of my favorite stretches of the Henry’s Fork that opened about a week ago.

Low water typifies the condition of the river just prior to release of water for irrigation purposes from Island Park Reservoir. This year, however, I found the level to be ankle deep rather than knee deep on the shallow side of a broad flat where big rainbows leave the security of depth to feed precariously over an open gravel bottom.

With currents not yet corrupted by aquatic vegetation, the surface was mirror smooth and the difficulty was not one of managing a complicated drift but rather to avoid spooking the fish with a coarse delivery of the fly. The mixture of midges, small mayfly spinners, and a few spent caddis was sparse in number, and the trout showed no favoritism as they cruised the placid flow. This opportunistic feeding pattern placed stronger emphasis on precise accuracy rather than finding an exact imitation that the trout would find acceptable.

By preference, I would have chosen to present the little caddis I had selected from a downstream position. Working from behind the fish usually provides a better opportunity to shorten the required casting distance, but there are times when this approach is not practical. On this late spring morning, an upstream stalk would place a low angled sun at my back creating warning line shadow that even the 20 foot leader could not cancel.

Any approach from upstream would certainly be detected by a wary trout long before I could get into reasonable casting range. Even working in from the side would necessitate 40 feet of fly line and the full length of the long leader to avoid spooking an alert surface feeder, but this is the route I chose to begin the engagement.

Inching my way to a position 60 feet from a sizeable pair of impressive heads was a ten minute test of patience and discipline, but this effort paid off. A test cast deliberately placed well away from the trout’s position told me the distance needed and how current would influence the drift of the fly. Knowing that everything would have to be perfect with regard to both angler and tackle, I powered the 4 weight toward the nearest rise with a reach cast right, and waited.

IMG 0228 525x349 Thin Water and the Super Dri Elite Trout Taper

A good drift of more than 6” went untouched as the next rise appeared several feet upstream and slightly beyond the first. With no bottom cover to provide protection from overhead danger, it was clear that the trout would not relax into a fixed position, and there would be no pattern to the feeding activity. Fortunately, both fish seemed reluctant to leave a 15 foot feeding perimeter, which made it a game of successfully guessing where the nervous trout might next appear and getting the fly to that location as quickly as possible.

Perhaps 20 minutes and more than a dozen fruitless attempts had passed before everything finally came together and I tightened against the weight of a well-conditioned 20 inch hen. In little more than 12 inches of water, the fight was one of enragement rather than power as the shiny surface was shredded by the panicked trout. Successfully retraining the prize from charging into deeper water on the far side was no small accomplishment with a 6X tippet, and she slipped into my net after a spirited 5 minute battle.

IMG 0248 525x349 Thin Water and the Super Dri Elite Trout Taper

IMG 0281 525x349 Thin Water and the Super Dri Elite Trout Taper

As calm returned to the scene, I didn’t have long to wait before the companion fish reappeared a little upstream and slightly closer to my side of the river. Only about a dozen careful steps were required to bring myself into position to begin round 2.

The game remained the same on the second fish with carefully placed casts that again began to accumulate as the feeding window began to close. With noon approaching and the sun in a higher position, I was able to spot what appeared to be the twin of the earlier fish as she finned only inches beneath the surface. It had been several minutes since I had seen a rise but the cast was true and the dry fly disappeared on the first pass.

A power run directly across stream and a tall leap gave quick freedom to another splendid Henry’s Fork rainbow, but there was no sense of disappointment as I retrieved the line and 50 feet of backing.

Because I live on the river, I would return on the following day and there will be many more at this early point in the year. I am a lucky man.

Airflo Switch Black Reel Impresses at Chirk

Blog 3 Airflo Switch Black Reel Impresses at Chirk

“Tom slips a lovely bow into the net in no time!”

After a few dismal competition performances I decided to really get bet to basics in my fishing, I was totally over complicating things chopping and changing every five minutes and I was spending more time faffing out of the water than I was actually fishing.

With this in my mind I decided to venture out to a few small Stillwater fisheries situated around the North West. One of the venues I visited was a stunning fishery called Chirk Trout Fishery nestled in the heart of the north wales valleys close to Llangollen and the Welsh Dee. The fishery itself consists of two fly fishing lakes, a bait pool and also fishing rights on the river Ceiriog that runs through the fishery. One of the reasons I chose this venue was the vast variety of trout the fishery stocked. In both lakes there are Rainbow, Brown, Golden, Blue, Tiger and American brook trout all reared on site. Not a bad variety hey? The lakes are around an acre and a half in size, gin clear, with a maximum depth of 12ft. The fishery is renowned for its prolific dry fly sport, and on my arrival it didn’t fail to disappoint with fish rising everywhere. The weather was perfect with a light breeze and clear skies, so back to basics I went and dry fly fishing was the tactic for the day.

I was adamant to not over complicate things so I went for a one rod set up. I chose the 10’ Sage XP 7# a fantastic rod and great for dry fly fishing. I was also trying out the new Airflo Switch Black Cassette Reel, this reel is fantastic and truly stunning to look at. It accommodates all my lines perfectly and is very light when casting, it’s a fantastic addition to any competition angler, as the unique cassette spool is extremely easy to change lines, and save a lot of time in doing so. Now it was time for my line choice. One thing I was noticing was that a lot of the fish were rising right in the centre of the lake, and for a lot of people they would be out of casting range I had a secret weapon, the new 40+ Expert floating line now with super dri technology. This would be the difference of me catching or blanking. Not only does this line fly out but the presentation and ability to hook up at long range would inevitably help me have a fantastic days sport.

After tackling up and a short walk I started fishing on the left hand side of the main fly lake, casting straight into the wind. I had the beautiful river Ceiriog running behind me and plenty of fish rising in front of me. After just watching the water I was able to pick out a few fish that were rising confidently.

I was fishing 9ft of 6lb Airflo Sightfree G3 to my first dropper then 6ft to the point fly, on my dropper I had a big rubber legged Daddy long legs and on the point I was using a JC Diawl Bach. I would be using the daddy as a sight indicator throughout the day, but was confident that it would take fish too and I wasn’t disappointed. I cast out straight into the wind which was effortless with the 40+ line and let everything settle. After ten seconds I began to slow figure of eight, barely moving the line just staying in touch letting the wind push the line and flies towards me. There was a swirl at the daddy but no take, then the daddy shot under the water and I struck. Fish on!! The first fish of the day was a stunning 1lb rainbow trout and after an acrobatic fight the fish slid over the net with the JC Diawl Back firmly set in its top lip. I carried on fishing this method and took 6 fish within 20 minutes.

IMG 9915 Copy Airflo Switch Black Reel Impresses at Chirk

It then went quiet so I decided to change the point fly to a small immature damsel. The daddy was still acting as a sight indicator and was still attracting a lot of fish. If the fish didn’t take the daddy or got spooked it wasn’t long before the daddy shot under, as the trout had homed in on the point fly. After an hour of fishing I was on 15 stunning fully finned rainbow trout. The fishing was on fire, with trout hammering the daddy and the damsel. After 3 hours of unbelievable fishing I called it a day. The light was beginning to fade and I was overwhelmed with what can only be described as a red letter day. A short late afternoon dry fly session was exactly what I needed to restore my confidence and understand that complicating things is not necessary. I kept the same tactic throughout the day only changing the point fly when it went quiet and it worked unbelievably well, with me finishing on 28 trout returned. The fish weren’t massive but they were fantastic fighters and stunning to look at. A huge advantage was without doubt the 40+ line as a couple of anglers blanked as the fish were out of casting distance but for me casting this line was effortless and the presentation was perfect.

It was an incredible short fishing session at a truly picturesque fishery. Keeping my fishing tackle to a minimum paid off, and persistence and patience helped land a lot of fish. The main reason I was catching was that I was constantly fishing. It sounds so silly but not spending time on the bank out of the water chopping and changing helped me land a hell of a lot of fish. Something so simple but extremely effective helped contribute to a real red letter days fishing the dries and nymphs.

Fishing the Caddis Hatch at Henry’s Fork

Shayne Harrop Spring Caddis Fishing the Caddis Hatch at Henrys Fork

Shayne Harrop Spring Caddis

In recent years I have sometimes struggled to separate the personal importance of fishing hatches larger than size 18 or leaving the season of gloves, heavy fleece, and covered ears. In most years, however, both comforts tend to arrive together around early May when conditions are right for streamside willows to come into bud and the first caddis of the year to begin their emergence.

Like nearly all willows and caddis, I find it difficult to tolerate long periods of below freezing temperatures, especially while in pursuit of rising trout.  And with the sharp vision of youth now only a memory, my eyes become instantly grateful when a size 14 dry fly can attract the kind of enthusiasm from trout that only the warm season can inspire. Learn how casting and perfectly presenting a dry fly will catch you more fish.

In the U.S., the second Sunday in May is a day of honor for mothers nationwide which, by itself, is of no small significance. In much of the northern Rockies, however, Mother’s Day coincides with the appearance of a sizeable, mostly brown caddis that begins a string of like insects that will stretch into early autumn. And while not always the dominant insect of choice, caddis in a variety of sizes and colors play a substantial role in the diet of trout throughout the most comfortable months of the year.

Like mayflies, caddis provide opportunity to fish weighted imitations in their subsurface form. Cased and free living larvae are prime attractions for trout in nearly any season. Pupae, the second stage, become available just prior to and during emergence and are fished differently than the deep, dead drift method that is appropriate for the larval stage.

MY favorite pupal imitation is a weighted Ascending Caddis that is fished either upstream with a lift or across and downstream with a twitching motion applied by the rod tip. With naturals being active and often quick in their rise to the surface, the take on a tight line can be sudden and forceful as the fish rushes to engulf the fly before it can escape the water.

During emergence, an aggressive rise that moves a lot of water indicates a trout taking rising caddis pupae close to the surface. Duplicating the appearance and behavior of the natural in this situation means fishing a submerged rather than floating pattern.

A floating pupae pattern like the CDC Bubble Back Caddis will imitate the brief but often distinct period between the transition from subsurface pupa to winged adult. Fished on the surface without drag or perhaps with a slight twitch, the Bubble Back Caddis creates an illusion of vulnerability if only for a few seconds. However, this slight window of enhanced opportunity can be enough to attract a trout’s attention.

Caddis in the winged stage are known to be more active on the water than mayflies. Following a traditional approach to dealing with this mobility, I utilize a pattern featuring a dubbed body with hackle palmered along its entire length. This, combined with a wing of paired CDC feathers, provides a light foot print on the water and allows the fly to be inched across the surface when such behavior is called for. Flotation of this style is excellent on most water but I will sometimes add a small amount of elk hair to bolster performance on extra rough currents.

Brogan Harrop Spring Caddis Fishing the Caddis Hatch at Henrys Fork

Brogan Harrop Spring Caddis

The CDC Henry’s Fork Caddis was inspired by big, selective trout feeding in clear and slow moving water. Although this pattern floats quite low on the water it possesses excellent flotation and visibility when compared to most other slow water caddis patterns. I find the Henry’s Fork Caddis to be particularly effective on summer mornings and evenings when the temperatures are cooler and the naturals mostly sedate on the water.

Unlike some who tend to trivialize the value of caddis in comparison to well-known mayfly hatches, I carry a rather extensive selection of specialized caddis patterns. The following four patterns, however, comprise a sound foundation for addressing most of what will be encountered during a caddis emergence and their subsequent return to the water when eggs are deposited and the cycle ends

The following is a sampling of some of the most common colors.

Ascending Caddis Tan Fishing the Caddis Hatch at Henrys Fork

Ascending Caddis
Hook: TMC 206 BL size 12-20
Thread: Tan 8/0
Rib: Copper Wire
Back: Brown Marabou
Abdomen:  Tan Dubbing
Legs:  Brown Partridge fibers
Antennae:   2 Wood Duck fibers

CDC Bubble Back Caddis Tan Fishing the Caddis Hatch at Henrys Fork

CDC Bubble Back Caddis (Tan)

Bubble Back Caddis
Hook: TMC 206 BL size 12-20
Thread: Tan 8/0
Shuck: Sparse tuft of Tan dubbing over 3 Wood Duck fibers
Abdomen: Tan CDC feathers looped over Tan dubbing to create a humped effect.
Hackle: Brown Partridge
Thorax: Brown Dubbing

CDC Palmered Caddis Adult Brown Fishing the Caddis Hatch at Henrys Fork

CDC Palmered Caddis Adult Brown

CDC Palmered Caddis Adult
Hook: TMC 100 BL size 12-20
Thread: Brown 8/0
Hackle: Whiting Cree or Grizzly dyed brown
Body: Brown Dubbing
Wings: Paired Brown CDC feathers
Antennae: 2 Wood Duck fibers

CDC Henrys Fork Caddis Olive Fishing the Caddis Hatch at Henrys Fork

CDC Henry’s Fork Caddis Olive

CDC Henry’s Fork Caddis
Hook: TMC 100 BL size 12-20
Thread: Olive 8/0
Abdomen: Olive Goose or Turkey Biot
Wing: Paired Med. Dun CDC feathers
Over Wing: Brown Partridge fibers
Thorax: Peacock Herl
Hackle: Whiting Grizzly dyed dun trimmed on bottom

Airflo Sniper Budget Fly Reel

The Airflo Sniper Fly Reel is an incredible reel at a budget price point.

If you’re putting a fly fishing outfit together with a limited budget, you need not look further than the Airflo Sniper fly reel. At just £29.99 with a FREE Velocity fly line.

The Sniper reel has been designed by top anglers here at Fishtec, to offer fishermen on a tight budget a quality, lightweight fly reel. Boasting great looks and a superb build quality featuring a lightweight frame, the Sniper fly reel can hold up to 100 meters of 20lb backing along with a full 30 yard fly line due to a generous large arbor.

 

Wading through Sea Bass

P1000047 Copy 525x393 Wading through Sea Bass

A LONG TIME AGO, ON A SANDBAR FAR, FAR AWAY………

I was browsing photos yesterday and decided to use this one as my screensaver. It’s not a particularly brilliant or notable picture in itself, but for me it just sums up what fishing is all about these days. Saltwater Bass hunting is now just a few weeks away, and counting!

The shot was taken last summer, miles from anywhere, on one of my favourite Bass marks. It’s a remote place, somewhere that you can just get lost in the fishing, excluding the world so that nothing else matters except watching the water for the slightest sign of a fish. You can wet-wade or use chest waders, depending on the time of year. You can fish with total concentration, or you can tuck the rod under your arm and just watch the tide go by. It matters not. It’s about freedom. Out there on a sand bar with only Terns, Gannets and Gulls for company – oh, and a few Bass hunting the early sand eels.

The 2014 saltwater season is coming, and I’m ticking down the days!

The First Rise By Rene’ Harrop

Rise The First Rise By Rene’ Harrop

The First Trout Rise of 2014 – Bonnie Harrop Photos

For a fly fisher, surviving winter at high elevation is usually an arduous and inconsistent process. Snow and bitter cold temperatures can dominate the weather for months at a time and a visit to the river is often times only to watch through the months of December, January, and February.

With ice and cold winds as limiting factors, finding a window of opportunity for even a few hours of deep water nymphing or streamer fishing can be rare if human comfort assumes a role in determining whether to fish or stay indoors. Gradually, however, the daytime hours lengthen and subzero temperatures eventually become a casualty of the calendar. And as an ice bound river begins to regain its flowing character, there comes a glimmer of expectation for the first true sign of an eventual spring.

Although the timing of conditions suitable for dry fly fishing can vary from year to year, the sight of the first rise of a new season is always something to savor. And while the source of surface interest among trout in late winter is invariably of a size that dictates keen refinement in all aspects of fishing tackle and skill, nothing in the entire year is more welcome than the humble midge.

While chironomids on local still waters and elsewhere can be realistically imitated on a hook as large as size 12, the term midge is an appropriate description when they are found on moving water. Seldom larger than size 20, midges are available to trout in the Henry’s Fork and most other streams throughout the year. However, they are never more important than in cold weather conditions and are often the only hatch to be found during the longest season of the trout states of Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming.

Because of a craving for dry fly fishing after a long absence, I watch for conditions that promote surface availability of the tiny insects. Air temperatures that exceed the freezing point by 6 to 8 degrees will usually stimulate late winter and early spring emergence, and overcast skies are often a positive factor in tempting wary trout to the surface. Temperatures below 50ᵒ seem to hold the adults on the surface, and this increases the potential for finding rising trout.

Trout feed more efficiently in slower currents when floating midges are the target, but gently riffled water should not be ignored. Seeing the miniature dry flies is completely dependent upon fishing as close to a surface feeder as possible, regardless of the water type. A cast beyond 30 feet will likely put a size 22 out of view, at which time you will be required to set the hook when a rise appears in the area where you think the fly is located.

By necessity, midge patterns must be of relatively simple design, as is the case with all exceptionally small imitations. Because of its unique flotational properties, CDC works well for midge patterns that must be supported on the surface with a minimal amount of material. My favorite floating patterns also incorporate a sparse application of hackle, and stripped goose biots are a regular feature as well.

While my midge box contains an extensive assortment of patterns representing all phases of the life cycle, three distinct floating imitations have demonstrated reliable productivity on waters as distant as Japan. And I fear little shame in admitting that their favored status is also based on the relative ease in which they can be seen on the water.

CDC Biot Midge Adult 

CDC Biot Midge Adult The First Rise By Rene’ Harrop

CDC Biot Midge Adult – Bonnie Harrop Photos

This pattern rides fairly high on the water and parallel to the surface in a manner that represents a fully emerged midge adult.

Hook: TMC 100 BL size 18-24
Thread: Gray 8/0
Abdomen: Canada Goose Biot or Stripped Peacock Herl
Wing: Sparse Lt. Dun CDC
Thorax: Gray Dubbing
Hackle: 1-3 turns of Grizzly

 CDC Hanging Midge

CDC Hanging Midge The First Rise By Rene’ Harrop

CDC Hanging Midge – Bonnie Harrop Photos

This easy to see midge pattern rides partially submerged with only the wing and hackle showing above the surface.

Hook: TMC 100 BL size 18-24
Thread: Gray 8/0
Body: Canada Goose Biot or Peacock Herl
Thorax: Gray Dubbing
Wing: White CDC
Hackle:  1-3 turns of Grizzly

CDC Cluster Midge

CDC Cluster Midge The First Rise By Rene’ Harrop

CDC Cluster Midge – Bonnie Harrop Photos

In a way, this pattern allows a bit of cheating on the usually very small midge patterns by imitating a cluster of mating insects that often swarm together on the surface.

Hook: TMC 100 BL size 14-20
Thread: Gray 8/0
Body: Peacock Herl
Hackle: Grizzly palmered
Wing: Sparse White CDC