Thursday, July 11, 2013

Four Favorite Wet Flies for Trout

Four Best Wet Fly Patterns for Trout

I first learned wet fly fishing from a modern master on the Peshtigo River while I was in college.  Since then, wet flies have been one of my favorite ways to catch trout when I am prospecting.   I have found that four flies have accounted for most of the trout I have caught.  These include two hand flies (sometimes called the dropper flies), and two point flies (flies furthest from the flyline).

I choose the largest and heaviest hand fly I can get away with depending on the water clarity and depth.  I look at these flies as a sinker with a hook.  Trout will take this fly but really I think it is just a way to get the point fly down to the fish.  The point fly selection is more based on what is hatching.  If light mayflies are hatching, I would select the properly sized Light Hendrickson, if darker mayflies like blue wing olives then go with the dark.  If caddis are hatching, or any other small insect is present then I would tie on a Starling and Herl.

Two Hand Flies

Pass Lake 
Ah the pass lake.  It must have been two months since we mentioned this fly.  I don't think of this fly as an imitation of anything specific, it is just a great pattern, especially for brook trout who can not resist it.

March Brown Spider
A classic English wet fly pattern from at least as early as 1880, we moderns now think of this fly as a soft-hackle or a flymph.  This is a great fly I could not do without.   It looks like a lot of things trout eat, whether it is a caddis or a march brown mayfly.  Best part, you can wrap a hell of a lot of lead around the hook shank when tying.

Two Point Flies

Starling and Herl
At one time I thought that this fly would replace my favorite zug bug.  It still has a body of peacock herl and is a hell of alot easier to tie, but the zug bug is an old friend that catches too many trout for it to ever leave my box. Still the Starling and Herl is great on the swing, imitating a number of small caddis and other insects, and fished upstream as a nymph it can imitate small ants and beetles that are plentiful in the summer when not much else in hatching in the middle of the day.

Dark/Light Hendrickson
One of those classic Eastern wet fly patterns that I could not do without. The light is great in the early spring size 12 or 14 during the Hendrickson hatch, and the dark I fish later in the year in a smaller size say 14 or 16. These two flies are also great fished greased directly upstream imitating a drowned or emerging dun.

For a more detailed look into Wet Flies i would highly recommend Dave Hughes' Wet Flies.  I buy all of his books because I like his informal and entertaining writing style, and this book has to be one of the most comprehensive on the subject published in the past 20 years.