Steelhead flies: Color choice for water conditions???

Discussion in 'Spey Clave' started by unrooted, Jan 5, 2011.

  1. unrooted

    unrooted Member

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    I've been seeing contradicting info about color choices for clear water. I have been using really bright flies in clear water and high-contrast flies in dirty water (black and white). Is this right? I've seen suggestions for natural colors in clean water and bright colors in dark waters. What do you guys use??? Do steelhead actually go for flies nowadays, or just eggs???
     
  2. Nate Dutton

    Nate Dutton I'm a teacher, I fish to eat!

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    Have confidence in whatever fly you use is my best advice which i received from Dec Hogan. Make sure you brush up on your presentation before you worry too much about changing flies. Read A Passion for Steelhead by Dec Hogan.....an AMAZING read, will change you as a fisherman, it did me! :) As a guide line, if its clear low water I got to smaller darker or drab colors, muddy waters i got to bigger flies color will vary.
     
  3. stilly stalker

    stilly stalker Tuna sniffer

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    a black fly is a good bet...ANYTIME! As is purple in my opinion. The vast majority of my flies I fish use black or purple as a base color, and have accent colors like chartreuse, blue or fuschia. Orange is another great color, and I use it on brighter days. White and pink are also excellent colors, and I like to combine the two, and again use them mostly on bright days.
     
  4. unrooted

    unrooted Member

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    So black, blue, purple, orange, fuchsia, chartreuse, white and pink. SO avoid red???
     
  5. stilly stalker

    stilly stalker Tuna sniffer

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    i wouldnt avoid it at all. but after years of fishing and catching most of my fish on the colors I mentioned, I pretty much gave up tying in other colors.

    I am tying more natural colored stuff lately using more natural, instead of synthetic materials though. Ginger is a kick ass color. And Im doing a ginger/orange combo that I will fish with confidence for sure.
     
  6. speyday

    speyday Rod tubes in the overhead compartment

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    Black. Or Dark, dirty, dingy Olive.
     
  7. Salmo_g

    Salmo_g Active Member

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    Steelhead will eat cigarette butts, strike corkies and yarn of any color, so what's a fly fisherman supposed to think?

    I began by tying steelhead flies that were known to produce steelhead: bucktail royal coachman, polar shrimp, Brad's Brat, skunk, and woolly worm. Then I heard of using a black marabou streamer, and it worked well. Then I met Ed Nevens on the NF Stilly; he was using a purple marabou, and that worked too. Since then I've tied whatever I want, and they all work. For years I had one basic winter fly that is red and orange. I never used pink flies until about 5 years ago, when a friend was using a pink GP style pattern. I started tying my basic red/orange in pink for variation, and it works fine.

    Like Stilly Stalker said, black is always a good choice. There's a saying, "any fly is good, as long as it's black." For some reason I like an orange and chartruse combo when the river is turning from brown toward "steelhead green," although other colors have worked for me then as well. I generally use larger flies when the water is discolored and smaller ones when it gets clear. I don't often use dark flies for winter fishing, although they are popular and work just fine. I use black almost exclusively in the summer, with an occasional neutral or brownish fly for something different.

    If it ever seems confusing or overly complicated, just remember that they'll eat cigarette butts, and that should simplify it a lot for you.

    Sg
     
  8. stilly stalker

    stilly stalker Tuna sniffer

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    I tie orange/chartreuse combos too. Great mix of colors
     
  9. JS

    JS Active Member

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    I fish black and purple 75% of the time. For me it depends on the watershed, I have colors that I feel more confident in on specific rivers. Nate hit it on the head though, it doesnt make two sh@ts worth of difference usually.
     
  10. Red Shed

    Red Shed "junkyard spey"

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    Summer, Winter, Spring, or Fall, a Green Butt Skunk will do it all.

    Low clear water=small sparse tie. High water with/without low vis make it BIGGER.

    If you don't like my game plan Riveraddict has a pretty good color choice idea in the Spey Basics section of Spey Pages.
    http://www.speypages.com/speyclave/showthread.php?t=45149
     
  11. unrooted

    unrooted Member

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    This one says to stick to three flies, black purple and orange Egg Sucking leaches. I guess I'll go with that advice, since it keeps things simple.
     
  12. Grayone

    Grayone Fishin' to the end, Oc.P

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    corrected and deleted.......I was just a dumbass..... (just me being a little pissy, I need to fish, just ignore)
     
  13. Red Shed

    Red Shed "junkyard spey"

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    I don't think unrooted is a troll. There is a great deal of info out there. Ask 6 guys on any of the forums for advice and you will get 16 answers, anyone of which could be right or wrong depending on who was asking and who was answering.

    My advice is to keep it simple. As has been pointed out many times steelies will sometimes hit anything. Winter fishing can be on the slow side when it comes to tugs on one's string and it can be hard to keep one's confidence so it is natural to start second guessing one's methods.

    I think size is more important then color but all that really matters is what the OP believes. Find a fly that one likes and fish it and nothing else in a couple of sizes. Concentrate on the casting/fishing and not the fly. I believe that is also what Riveraddict is saying as well.
     
  14. Grayone

    Grayone Fishin' to the end, Oc.P

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    Poppy.............It was just my dumbass not reading things correctly............oops
     
  15. stilly stalker

    stilly stalker Tuna sniffer

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    Its hard to go wrong with those, and you can easily tie them big, small, weighted or not to cover all the fishing conditions you'll encounter
     
  16. Red Shed

    Red Shed "junkyard spey"

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    That's the kind of a day I'm having as well so I can totally relate.
     
  17. SPEYBUM

    SPEYBUM Member

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    I picked up a nice Wild Hen last week on the Snoqualmie with a size 8 Woven Case Caddis while swinging for Whitefish.
    "Who would have thunk"

    The Air Temp was in the 20's.

    Just go with what you have faith in and the fish will come.
    :confused:
     
  18. unrooted

    unrooted Member

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    Thanks, I'm not sure why anyone thought I was trolling, just trying to find a reason to keep going out, this is more of a mental game than anything else I do.
     
  19. stilly stalker

    stilly stalker Tuna sniffer

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    Don't give up!!! When deciding on colors, I look at the popular colors of blue fox vibrax spinners, kwikfish, and micro jigs used by gear heads. I model many of my color combos after these lures. Does it mean anything? probably not, but they are certainly tried and true fish catching colors
     
  20. golfman65

    golfman65 Guest

    I'm going to say something here...and while going "against the grain"..(sorry listening to Dan Patrick show and that song is stuck in my head now)....I think you have to ask yourself this question...

    Are you fishing for numbers or for the fish? If it's numbers then stick with gear...I caught a lot more steelhead using bait, jensen eggs, wool etc. then on the fly...I haven't picked my pin up in a few years now because it bored me after awhile and the "journey" of trying to catch them on the fly began for me...

    Part of that is learning to tie and part of it is building your very own selection in what you tie. ESL is one of my all time favorites but if I had to tie that fly all the time I would lose my appreciation for what tying and fishing flies is all about....I don't know if that makes sense to anyone or not? For me, one of joys of this game is looking in other peoples boxes, tying flies that challenge me for their beauty and deciding which flies I like to fish and what ones I like to tie just for my own pleasure...

    After all that I fish flies that give me confidence but am always trying new patterns and colors to explore both how they look and move in the water and what gives me pleasure to fish...Sometimes the two are not the same as with the ESL. Great movement and a steelhead favorite...but I find myself fishing it less and less as I learn to tie other patterns and explore how to make materials work that are both traditional and cutting edge in their use..

    Maybe I'm going over yours and everyone's head on this...but for me a big part of doing what I'm doing is trying to develop a pattern that I've worked on from various aspects, i.e. material versus movement to color...that when done makes me feel excited about fishing it, as well as feeling more of a connection to the fish because of the time and thought process that went into it..

    I somehow think all this gets lost on the "Lets just fish some basic animal strips and it's all good mentality" I somehow feel there is much lost in that approach...strictly my humble opinion on that...but it's the never ending journey in the sport that makes it so rewarding...not the numbers IMHO

    rollralfroll......
     

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