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Do you think it is productive to move the fly during the swing or during the hang down? If so, what kind of movement -- pump, twich, strip, etc. How much movement? How frequent of movement? Does it matter summer vs. winter runs?

My buddies typically pump the bigger winter run flies (intruderesque) slowly near the end of the swing. I usually just swing it through. Though I do remember one distinct day when I caught three fish in a row stripping the fly slowly through some medium speed current.
 

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Rob,

For what its worth, here are my thoughts regarding your question as it applies to PNW steelhead.

Winter fish:

I don't usually strip, bump, wiggle at all during the swing. I will take a few short slow strips on the hangdown though. I have been rewarded in the past with this method although more often than not, it is with a dolly/bull trout. The one exception to this is if I have had a pluck or pull and the fish does not come back, I will sometimes twitch the fly through on the follow-up cast.

Summer fish:

I also will do the hangdown strip as a matter of standard course for summer-runs. For summer fish though, I am less concerned with spooking a fish so I will often repeat a cast and twitch or drop the rod to stall the fly over a lie and then raise it to skitter the fly. It has been my experience that summer fish looking up are often teased into rising by eratic actions like this.

None of it is very scientific but it does seem to work from time to time.
 

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dangelwiggle

When I am ready to pick it up, I give the rod a good wiggle. Like the meaningless wiggle we all have given a rod in a flyshop, but harder, and faster, a small strip then let it sit for a second or two. It really took me a while to get used to letting the fly dangle at the end. Its seems like instinct for me to just pick it up and go into a cast. I had to start thinking about it as it was a sort of second cast or second chance, and it really took some conditioning. I fish through the swing(no wiggle, strip, anything, just swing), then put the action on at the dangle. In the winter I tone down the wiggle a bit, and extend the dangle. I have never documented the numbers, but I think its safe to say I get twice as many takes when I let it dangle with some action.
 

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Fly Movement

I will definitely move the fly during the swing as well as at the end. Usually I will hit the same exact spot twice before moving down the run a couple 3-4 steps. By this I mean one cast will be a traditional cast and swing through the whole run. Then same cast but I will strip it here and there during the swing. Also I will pause for 10-20 seconds on the hang down and strip/twitch it in for about 5-10 ft. Then move on. Some days they want it swung and slow moving. Other days they seem to crush it with the unusual movement during the swing and or the hang down. The fish knows better than I do what they want. So I give them as many options as possible.... :D
 

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`i give them as many options as possible'

well said!,i twitch the fly with my righthandfingers a bit as it swings and allow line out,hold,drop back,hold with my left hand,it's `emerger tactics',,,unless i'm just absolutely dying to hit bottom then it's all about letting it dive,i always watch the fly when i drop it in the water under drag to see the reaction then trim the throat or the knot or whatever to ensure the fly's keeled under tension,i remember a noted tyer `polly Rosburough' stating something about fish feeding on living bugs not dead,,,and we are talking about swinging,,,not nymphing over holding fish,,,i feel if the fish is facing upriver,and i'm swinging/probing,,,make it look like it's alive!,,,
 
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