Saturday, December 11, 2010

Dry flies in PA in mid-December?! Oh yes. It happens.

I was psyched to hit the water this morning after a long week at work. I had a bunch of new patterns, I cleaned out my fly boxes, had a fresh leader, and brand new spools of tippet.

I tied up some BWOs just in case the rare hatch happened this time of year. I got to the Little Lehigh just before 11am. I started off by hiking half a mile downstream and didn't see one rise. A few small trout were feeding on midges, but that's it. Fishing was tough for the first 45 minutes. I took a break and hit the Fly Shop for some more tungsten beads and then got back on the water.

After that, it turned out to be a damn good day. I still didnt see any rises, so I started to fish midges. Turned out to be a good idea and I found myself in a nice 5 minute fight with this 18-19 inch rainbow in some fast water.

But what's that bright colored thing in his mouth you ask?

That would be a hot spot Zebra midge. (I apologize in advance for the quality of the fly in this picture. This is the exact one that caught the fish and it is mangled.

Orvis size 20 emerger hook
Uni-thread black 6/0
UTC Ultra Wire XS in silver
Glass bead from Michael's arts and crafts store
Hot Spot - Danville 70 denier 6/0 in hot orange
Coat the whole thing in Sally Hansen Hard as Nails

With no more luck on midges, I turned to a two fly rig with an egg up front and an orange flashback pheasant tail behind it. I literally watched this small brown move about 6 feet across the stream, scoop up the pheasant tail, and then he grabbed the egg before I even had time to set the hook. Even though he was hooked twice, he was released unharmed.

Here's the fly. Again, I apologize for the condition of it. This is the same fly that caught the fish.

Orvis 3x nymph hook size 20
Pheasant tail dyed orange
Krystal Flash
UTC Ultra Wire XS in gold
peacock herl

You are probably asking yourself, "I thought he said they were dry flies?" Relax, I'm getting there. After I released the brown, I saw one rise. Two minutes later..another. I then saw a baetis land on my hand. I immediately tied on some 8x tippet and threw on a size 20 BWO. I made a cast and was connected almost instantly to a brown that had to have been 20 inches plus. He broke me off in about 30 seconds by jumping. Damn 8X. Rerigged and connected a few casts later to a small brown who was landed with a quickness. Then after losing two more and missing a few strikes, I landed a 12 inch bow. I love fishing dry flies, and I usually miss it all winter, so I love when I come across a cold weather olive hatch.

I mentioned in an earlier post that I would post the BWO pattern I use so here it is. This is the easiest fly to tie and it can be done in like a minute. Thanks to Rod at LL Fly Shop for offering to show me this one.

You'll need
Size 18-22 dry fly hook 2XL
Olive thread - I use Sheer 14/0 but you can use whatever you want
Dun microfibbets (synthetic mayfly tails)-If you cant find dun, the black works just fine. I've used it.
CDC Puffs - dark dun

Build up a thread body about halfway back the hook. Tie in 4 microfibbets for the tail. Length should be 3/4 of the hook length. Work your way forward and build a tapered thread body until you hit 2 eyes lengths away from the top of the hook. Tie in a cdc puff with the feather shaft facing the eye of the hook using only 2 loose wraps. Pull the CDC towards the eye until you get the wing length you want and tie off. Wrap around the CDC to get it to stand up. Whip finish.

I've caught at least 50 fish on this fly this year. It's so easy to tie. It will sink after about 5 casts since there's no hackle but a few false casts dries it off instantly.

I also hate to admit it, but I caught a sucker using the new worm pattern I mentioned earlier this week.

My bro-in-law and I got drunk one night and made a fishing show video of us targeting dogfish at the NJ shore with bunker. Maybe I'll be an asshole some day and make a fishing show on sucker hunting. I know exactly what to call it.

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