size of flies?

Discussion in 'Spey Clave' started by kimosabe, Jul 1, 2007.

  1. fredaevans Active Member

    Posts: 3,123
    White City, Oregon, USA.
    Ratings: +123 / 0
    There are times ......

    Question was asked above 'what doesn't work.' I have the answer ........ (at times) ANY fly I happen to choose for the end my leader!:rofl: :beathead:
  2. o mykiss Active Member

    Posts: 1,306
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    This is one of the more interesting threads here in a long time. I've got a question for Poppy and Inland about fishing a floating line and smaller flies. How would you characterize the water where you have the most success fishing this way (depth, current speed, etc.)? I would love to experience some success with a floating line but it has basically eluded me. I wonder if I'm just not fishing the right kind of water. Is the water you fish with a dry line and small fly any different than what those of us who tend towards sink tips and larger flies would fish? Or do you have success with your methods in all different types of water?
  3. Panhandle Active Member

    Posts: 4,103
    Selkirk Mountains, Idaho Panhandle
    Ratings: +23 / 0
    Though I'm nowhere in the realm of Inland, I can answer this question from my own experience having grown up in the PNW and fishing tips and large profile flies in contrast to living here now. All the water I would fish with tips in Oregon I now fish over here with floaters or an intermediate. I use the intermediate just to get more line control when I want the fly a little deeper in the water column faster. The difference is that the fish tend to suspend further up in the water column, move further, and look up. To me that's really it--- fish the same water.
  4. Red Shed "junkyard spey"

    Posts: 517
    Peck, ID
    Ratings: +7 / 0
    Before I answer I must clear up one point. My friend Obiwan called me a "jedi", and while I appreciate his confidence I will say I am not a "jedi", steelheader nor caster. While I catch my share I do not consider myself to be a great steelhead fly fisherman. My connection to steelheading is my love for chrome bright fish and visiting with all those that chase them.

    When I started fishing the Clearwater I used an 8'6" rod and a type 4 shooting head with a #4-4X long purple woolly worm on the swing. I didn't think of the water as being good for a sinktip or floating line. I just read steelheaders used fast sinking shooting heads and that's what I used as well. The water I fished just looked "fishy".

    Then I read Trey's book Steelhead Fly Fishing and Flies. He talked about "greased line fishing". I also heard about guys named Mark Noble, Bill McMillan, and some of the other greats. I read everything I could get my hands on pretaining to steelhead fly fishing. I started trying my floating line in the same spots I fished before. It never occurred to me to think about the water depth. The water was "fishy" and I saw no reason to think a steelhead would not rise up to my fly and some did. That is pretty much my same criteria today. I don't know how deep it is. I can't wade across most of it but none of it strikes me as being to deep for a fish to rise to my fly. I might be just to dumb to know any better but if it looks "fishy" I will fish there.
  5. FT Active Member

    Posts: 1,242
    Burlington, WA
    Ratings: +102 / 0
    TallFlyGuy,

    I've tried to stay out of this because many times people misunderstand what I write when I disagree with someone due to my proclivity of attempting to both teach something and provide an explanation of my rationale. But here goes.

    A long-belly line has a belly length of 75' to 105'. The Delta Long has a belly 65' long, which puts it in the mid-belly category (just like the RIO Midspey and SA Mastery spey lines). There is a huge difference between casting the mid-belly lines with their 65' belly and casting a long-belly, especially those that have bellies of 85' and longer. How do I know this, simple, I fish long-bellies on all my rods of 14' and longer both summer and winter. I use everything from floating tips to type 8 sink tips to 12' sections of 700 gr Deep Water Express, and I fish rods of 13', 14', 15', 16', and 18'.

    Put another way, I can fish 90' to 100' without shooting any line with the long-belly lines, and if I have a need to cast beyond 100' to reach a distant lie, all I need to do is shoot 10' to 20' of line to hit lies at 110' to 120' out, which opens up some water to me not available to those who don't cast that far. However, most of my fishing is done between 60' and 80'.

    Once the rivers drop to their normal summer low, I use floating lines exclusively with small wets and skated dries. I live on the wet side and fish the "S" rivers most of the time because they are my local waters and I've caught my share of steelhead on skated dries or small wets (including true low-water wets tied with the tail not protruding more than half way along the shank (i.e. the tail ends before reaching the hook point).

    This discussion reminds me of when I first moved to Port Angeles and became close friends with Manuel (he used to own the Quality Fly Shop, which he closed after retiring a few years ago). Manuel is a very good steelheader, but he used sinking shooting heads exclusively when I met him and got to know him regardless of winter of summer. This is how he learned to fly fish for steelhead when he grew up in Fortuna, CA and how he used to fish in summer/fall. He thought I was nuts fishing with floating line and skated dries or small wets on the OP rivers around Forks until he and I started to go fishing together and he saw me catching fish with the floating line and skated dries or small wets. He decided to try floating lines, gave up his beloved sinking shooting heads, and ended up catching more fish.

    After retiring, closing the shop, and moving back to Fortuna, CA, he took to using floating lines and skated dries or small wets on the rivers of Northern CA and found he was having more fun and many times outfishing his friends there who used sinking shooting heads.

    I should tell you that Manuel was 51 years old when he first tried a floating line for steelhead. He began fly fishing for steelhead when he was 11 years old. In other words, for 40 years he never fished a floating line for steelhead because he thought that you had to use #4 or larger flies (unless fishing for the Klamath's half-pounders, when he used sinking shooting heads and #6 or #8 flies) to hook steelhead in summer and winter. After he found you can hook coastal steelhead on floating lines and skated dries or small wets (#6-#10), that is what he exclusively fishes with after the rivers drop to their summer low.

    My very good friend Bob Arnold (yes, the one who wrote STEELHEAD WATER and DRY LINE STEELHEAD), Geroge McLeod (who I see every summer and share the run with in front of his place on the Stilly), and others I know but who will not be named all switch to floating lines and small wets or dries after the rivers drop to their summer lows. There must be something to using floating lines and skated dries or small wets for summer fishing after the rivers drop, or these well-known and very experienced steelheaders would not use them.
  6. inland Active Member

    Posts: 599
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    Ratings: +50 / 0
    O mykis,

    In all seriousness all the same water. From my experience it depends on where the fish are that day. Slow to fast with whitewater they lay in there. Head east and stick with the floater and you will be rewarded for your efforts. Don't for one second think that just because you aren't catching anything it is due to your fly not being deep enough. Blasphemy. The inland summer runs are the most free rising of all races of steelhead. Fished for during (usually anyway) optimum conditions. Using a method that can't be any simpler...it's as easy as steelheading gets. And, IMO, perfectly compliments the winter tactics and chrome bullets.

    If you are seeking your first on a floater why not just get one a dry? Tie on a #4 mooseturd and riffle hitch it to make it wake. Cast and mend to keep it swinging a moderate to slow speed towards shore and pay attention. Usually works better (like most tactics) when the light is off the water but NOT ALWAYS. I carry a loop and when a fish boils or slams the waker I 'instinctively' drop the loop and reach towards the fish (rod flat to the water). Most guys keep a high rod and/or loop and drop both when they see the rise.

    I honestly believe a waker is every bit as effective as wets (on a floater) throughout the premium times. Basically now until around mid Oct (and mid Oct is highly subjective to too many things we can't control or understand so take it as a poor guideline) on these inland fish. Don't get discouraged if you see others catching fish on wets while you go without. Your time is coming. Tomorrow they might be keyed in on wakers and you will get 5 or more while they go without.

    William
  7. fredaevans Active Member

    Posts: 3,123
    White City, Oregon, USA.
    Ratings: +123 / 0
    My fav. time for a full floater is water at/under 3' in depth or fishing through shallow 'white water' riffles. The first will be (appears anyway) to be 'holding water' of some sort and the takes can be pretty darned soft at the end of a 15' leader. The 'fast water' .... BANG! No fooling around by Mr. Fish there!:eek:
  8. Smalma Active Member

    Posts: 2,831
    Marysville, Washington
    Ratings: +707 / 0
    An interesting discussion!

    The key to the what approach to take for steelhead really depends on the conditions and fish you are fishing for. Those fishing the wet side of the State do so vitually 12 months a year under a very wide range of water conditions and fish of different attitudes.

    I absolutely love skating a small (#8) fly for summer steelhead - a late July morning or evening skating such bugs over our wild Deer Creek summer steelhead is what immediately comes to my mind/memory when talking about steelhead on the fly. As much fun as that is the same approach in mid-February on the middle Skagit during a cold snap is only going to yield castng practice.

    Coach did ask the more interesting question - "What will a steelhead not take?"

    As some may know one of my fishing passions is fishing streamers for our Skagit bull trout. In doing so I fish some pretty large flies. Part of the bull trout game is that I have to put up with a bycatch that includes a surprising number of steelhead. My accident catch rate of steelhead on bull trout streamers approaches what that when I targeted steelhead with more convential flies -supporting the argument that they will take almost anything. However what is important for this discussion is that steelhead are caught on the smaller streamers and my steelhead catch rates drop rapidly once I step up in fly size (length) and drops to near zero with the largest flies. My experience seem to show that moderate size flies are money for steelhead while the effectiveness of the larger flies drops sharply as size increases.

    For me the upper size threshold between being effective or not for steelhead is a fly with at total length of 5/6 inches depending on conditions. At times steelhead could be pests with 3 and 4 inch flies but were hardly ever a problem with flies 8 inches and up.

    Tight lines
    Curt
  9. obiwankanobi Active Member

    Posts: 1,312
    Ratings: +98 / 0
    Curt,

    Very great analysis!!! I am a bullie hunter as well and have never had the accidental steelie hookup, but were fishing rivers that have little to no steelie activity. I personally only fish spey and dee flies, which are far less smaller than the leech patterns, even on the largest of POR spey hooks.
  10. Red Shed "junkyard spey"

    Posts: 517
    Peck, ID
    Ratings: +7 / 0
    Nice post Mr. Curt. I always enjoy reading your info.
  11. TallFlyGuy Adipossessed!

    Posts: 870
    Vancouver, WA.
    Ratings: +45 / 0
    FT, Bummer man, you had to tell me that the delta long was only 65'. hehe, Back to the drawing board I guess.

    I'm glad all on here have come to the agreement that larger flies are more effective than those dang hair wing flies:rofl: :beer2:

    Caught this fish this morning on the dangle. Caught on a 3.5" tube fly.
    [IMG]
  12. luckybalbowa Member

    Posts: 325
    Kamas, Utah
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    nice fish justin! good thing i wasnt following behind you using hairwings though, I would have cleaned up! ;)
  13. Red Shed "junkyard spey"

    Posts: 517
    Peck, ID
    Ratings: +7 / 0
    Hmmm???? I must have missed that part. NIce fish Tall!
  14. TallFlyGuy Adipossessed!

    Posts: 870
    Vancouver, WA.
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    that was a joke Poppy. you crack me up.
  15. obiwankanobi Active Member

    Posts: 1,312
    Ratings: +98 / 0
    It is great to at least see a picture of some chrome, good job!!

    I'm just glad that everyone realizes that steelheading is about traditon and that they are best caught on SPEY'S AND DEE'S.:clown: :clown: :clown:
  16. Red Shed "junkyard spey"

    Posts: 517
    Peck, ID
    Ratings: +7 / 0
    Yes, I knew you were just funnin us. In my minds eye I could see the smile on your face when you posted that, thinking to yourself "watch me hook one of those guys with this statment".
  17. TallFlyGuy Adipossessed!

    Posts: 870
    Vancouver, WA.
    Ratings: +45 / 0

    It worked, caught me a big old one :D :beer2:
  18. TallFlyGuy Adipossessed!

    Posts: 870
    Vancouver, WA.
    Ratings: +45 / 0
    Post some pics of those flies Obi.
  19. obiwankanobi Active Member

    Posts: 1,312
    Ratings: +98 / 0
    I definitely will....By the way, electronics and water are bad, very bad. Digital cameras for some reason don't react well to an unplanned dunk in the Cedar.
  20. chromeseeker Where's the Bucket?

    Posts: 132
    Your City ,State Vancouver, WA
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    I totally agree it's about the fly you are confident in and how one fishes it.

    Time and again I've had my buddy fish behind me with a fly similar to the one I was using and hook up and other times, I've hooked up behind him. It's all about confidence, pure and simple.

    Just last summer I watched a guy land a 30lb. chinook on the Cowlitz with a dry line and a fly that was little more than gold tinsel and very sparse squirrel hair, light wire hook, size 4. The fish rose and anihilated the fly. He'd already hooked two steelies earlier in the day on the same fly---in bright sunlight, no less.

    What's his "go to fly" on the Cowlitz in the summer? You guessed it, that little "nothing" fly, the guy cleans up on that river with that thing, with a run that's pretty much 100% hatchery fish.

    It's all about feeling the mojo in the fluff and feathers that's attached to your leader, nothing more, nothing less. The rest is all about reading water and presentation and CONFIDENCE.

    But it's cool to have so many choices in flies!

    CS