trout flies - Spey Pages
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-24-2008, 08:17 PM Thread Starter
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trout flies

I'm a complete spey rookie with some general questions regarding designing trout spey flies:

1. Do you swing standard nymphs like princes and copper johns or do you focus on adding a lot of motion and attention-grabbing color to your flies?

2. Do you match the size of naturals or oversize your flies?

3. Do you build weight into your flies (i.e. beads, wire) or rely on tips?

I will be targeting browns and bows and the prevailing naturals will be #8-10 stonefly nymphs, #14-16 caddis pupae, and fingerling trout.

I know that only "time on the water" will provide the definitive answers but I would value any insights/experiences you could offer.

Thanks in advance.
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-24-2008, 10:23 PM
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My rough answers, since I do swing with a two-hander for trout....

You're primarily trying to imitate some kind of swimming creature, which for trout are primarily insects on their way to hatching at the surface (caddis and mayflies, etc.), or food fish (fingerlings, minnows, sculpins, etc.)

Therefore, a collection of soft-hackled flies to imitate insects: Partridge and Yellow (or Orange or Green or Olive... you get the idea), soft hackles specific to the insect specie (like the March Brown Spider, or Fall Caddis Pupa); attractors like Grizzlies and Professors, Woolly Buggers, Egg Sucking Leaches (and many many others, with the Partridge and Color in this category, too)...

And my favorite: the bait fish category. I've caught most of my trout on sculpin patterns of one kind or another (Conehead Zuddlers, Zoo Cougars, Muddler Minnow and all its variations). Double-bunnies, Zonkers, Clousers, etc. are all known to be effective.

I tie my sculpins to match the local color and size. I like a rabbit-strip overwing for all that great movement, and I add lead or tungsten wire, as well as beads or cones if applicable.

I pretty much always use a tip or sinking polyleader.

When you swing, swim the fly--short tugs, pump your rod tip--think like a scared bait fish and a hungry trout at the same time!

The standard nymphs you mention are more of a dead-drift kind of fly, which can be done (awkwardly, in my experience) with a two-hander--save that for your 9' 5-weight.

A bushy Fall Caddis skated can work (so I've heard!).

What area are you fishing in?

Good luck and have fun!

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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-24-2008, 11:25 PM
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Swing the nymphs

Bruce Kruk

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Columbia river guide,
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-24-2008, 11:43 PM
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Tie in the round. Soft hackle all your nymphs
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-25-2008, 09:34 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks all, in particular Tom for the detailed response--exactly what I was looking for.

I am in northern Colorado and will try a two-hander next spring during the high flows just before/after peak run-off. Until now, I have been stuck along the banks lobbing heavy stones in the soft water, effective but boring. There are plenty of broad runs and pools that look perfect for swinging so I am starting to draw up my winter tying plans. I've had some luck with zoo cougars and soft hackles in the past so I was glad to see those on your list. Soft hackling nymphs and tying them in the round make a lot of sense so I will do that as well.

I am still kind of wondering about sizing for nymphs and soft hackles. Would you throw #16s (matching the naturals) or step it up a bit?

Thanks again.
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-26-2008, 06:11 AM
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I fish exclusively trout with the twohander and have had succes with speyflies. I tie them in size 12 to 1/0. Also muddlers and zonkers work well.
Just search some speypatterns on the net and tie them on different sized hooks.
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-26-2008, 04:52 PM
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I have had sucess with a number of persentations for trout:

1. Traditional steelhead presentations with steelhead flies. You will probably want to tie your files slightly smaller.

2. Traditional steelhead presentations with a platt river special type fly in various colors. This may not need to be in its own category.

3. Swinging streamers. I usually cast out at about 70 degrees and throw a down stream mend and use a series of short strips at various intervals. I like very heavy tips for this presentation so rather than cone heads I like barbel eyes to make the hook point ride up.

4. High stick nymphing. The extra length on a DH rod allows you to cover quite a bit more water on a single cast. Althouhg a true spey may ware you out. A switch may be a better choice here.

5. Indicator nymphing - I know this is sacrilege but, in the rockies its the only game in town for quite a few months. What are ya going to do? Stay home? The DH rod will vastly improve the amount of water you can cover in a single drift. *One note on this topic- I've found that if you are trying to do this w/ shooting heads its a good idea to take off the running line and replace it w/ a cheap double taper with the front taper cut off. This will cost you some distance but, its tough to fish an indicator when you can't mend.

6. Caddis flies. I have not tried any of this stuff yet but after reading LaFontain's Caddisflies I have big plans for next summer. I think Tom already talked about a few of these.
a. Caddis pupa - Many caddis flies fill thier shuck with air and rise to the surface fairly quickly so I'm thinking that a weighted fly and a slight down stream belly in the line would emulate this pretty well. This should bring the fly up the water column as it goes through the swing. LaFontain's sparkle caddis or any other caddis emerger should work for this.
b. Egg laying caddis - Many species return to the water to lay thier eggs. These fall into two categories surface egg layers and divers. For the surface egg layers I'm thinking basicaly an elk hair caddis w/ a foam or a slim spun deer hair body and an egg sack tail. For the divers a slim no hackle caddis fly on a sink tip again w/ a slight down stream mend. This presentation will be fishing the second it hits the water. This should emulate the diving action pretty well

That being said this last section is all untested theory at this point take it or leave it. Also, clearly I have had way too much time to think about. I hope summer gets here soon before I go completely insane.

Just my 2 cents.
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