How long do you fish before changing flies?

Discussion in 'Stillwater' started by sizematters, Sep 24, 2013.

  1. Starman77

    Starman77 Active Member

    Jun 28, 2004
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    Kent, WA, USA.
    Assuming that I know that I am over lots of fish and that I've had them take other fly patterns and that I know what kind of retrieve works and what depth to fish (admittedly a lot of variables), then if I don't get a hit within 3 casts I will change the fly pattern.

    However, if I am just starting out for the day and don't really know what the fish are taking, then I might stick with a proven fly pattern for much longer, trying different retrieve styles, different depths, different locations (edges, drop-offs, weed beds). You'll always do better fishing a fly you have confidence in than a fly pattern you don't have confidence in. I think we fly fishermen over-emphasize the fly pattern, when the other variables are so much more important. Proof of this assertion is that when one fisherman is catching fish right and left and he gives you that exact fly pattern, or even hands you his rod with the fly pattern that is working, and you still don't catch fish, you know it is probably something else, like the retrieve style or depth.

    Jim Wallace likes this.
  2. Red Arch

    Red Arch Active Member

    Sep 6, 2011
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    Lower Mainland or Interior of BC
    If I know that I am over fish, I will often fish through a run and then change up before heading back through a couple times. I also will fish down/up a river, then on the way back change flies.

    On the rare occasion I will actually change flies before I fish a spot along a river. That being said though I go with the fly I am most confident will catch fish, and as a result don't change until it has gone through every possible fish holding area unless under extreme circumstances.
  3. Topstoy

    Topstoy Member

    May 4, 2011
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    Tonasket, WA
    I normally fish the fly until it is so shreaded by the fish hitting it that there is not much left of it. Typically a dozen or so fish will do one in. So I would say about every hour or so.
    Irafly likes this.
  4. the central oregonian

    the central oregonian Member

    Mar 27, 2007
    Likes Received:
    spokane, washington
    I fish lakes quite a bit. And for me there is no consistant answer to this question. Most of the lakes that I fish I know where the fish generally are, I know the bug hatches etc...I'm going to run the same fly for at least 30 minutes, changing retrieve, line, location etc before fly usually....
    If I KNOW that I am fishing over fish, and not getting strikes, then retrieves, depths etc are changing quickly, and flies will start to change quickly also looking for the right combo...But after fishing lakes hard for quite a while I don't run into this situation very often.....

    Often times when fishing new water with no specific hatch going on I kind of go into steelhead mentality...I have a handful of flies that I have huge confidence of them is going on the line and I am going to move fairly quickly covering a lot of water looking for players.....
    troutpocket likes this.

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