What A Fish Sees

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Entomology' started by Old Man, Mar 31, 2012.

  1. Old Man Just an Old Man

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    I asked this on the main forum, but with my memory it probably won't come out the same. What does the fly, a Royal Wulff look like to a feeding trout. I fish a high mountain lake here in Montana. It takes a 4X4 to get in there. it's about 14 miles off the beaten path.

    I started out fishing with this fly and it just killed them. I tried several other flies, but the Royal Wulff was the ticket. I now have plenty of those flies in one of my many fly boxes.
  2. Olive bugger Active Member

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    Maybe John Haily knew something the rest of us didn't. Most likely that is a true statement. With the silhouette it has, I had thought it might be a flying ant, but I have never heard of a flying ant hatch. Apparently Theodore Gordon agrees with me. That said, I have a hard time explaining the profile of the wing. Flying ants do not have a wing silhouette, do they?
    I was under the impression that the wing case was low along the back of a flying ant. Much like a stone fly. Could I be wrong?

    I suspect that the colors of the fly are more of an attraction to the fish than the profile.
  3. Taxon Moderator

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    Hi there, OMJ. Thanks for making the effort to restate your question here. Although I've probably never used it on lakes, a Royal Wulff in size #14 or #16 has long been my favorite searching pattern on skinny water in W. Washington. No one knows for sure what they take it for, but I've always suspected that it simply looks like a juicy morsel, and they're attracted to its combination of peacock, red, and white.

    However, others may have an entirely different take on your question, so I'll be extremely interested to hear what they have to say about it.
  4. Daryle Holmstrom retiredfishak

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    I have the same experience, but with the royal coachman buctail, but instead of bucktail I use marabou, it slays them on top as a searching pattern.
  5. Old Man Just an Old Man

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    When I first came to Montana I wondered what to use on these trout. Not wanting to spend a lot I started using what I had in my fly boxes. I had good luck with a White wing black Stimulator. Then I ran out of them. My catching rate went down. I tried the Yellow Humpy which somebody said worked well. it didn't for me.

    They all say these are attractor flies. From what I have read about these trout, is that they don't see like we do. Everything is blurry to them. So if it looks good they will eat it. But I've used flies that don't catch fish. They all have the same body but don't work as well. Is it the colors that do it.

    I have so many questions but don't really know how to ask them. I'm not the smartest rock on the beach.
  6. Taxon Moderator

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    I hear you, Jim. Just ask the next question that comes to mind, and I will do my best to answer it. My answer may lead you to ask another question. And, this might surprise you, but for every question you have, there are probably a bunch of fly fishers out there who are puzzled about the same thing, but have been afraid to ask the question, for fear someone will put them down for having asked it. Someone has to break the ice, so it might as well be you. You may not hear from the others, but they are quite likely to be grateful that you had the courage to ask the question.
  7. Old Man Just an Old Man

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    I'm not one who tries to match the hatch. While my short time here in Montana, the bug hatches are very extreme. Like the Mother's day Caddis Hatch. I was lead to believe that they were Caddis flies hatching. Well wrong again it was a May Fly hatch. I think that saying Caddis would mean more to all. It's seems easier to throw out a caddis fly that try to match what May Fly is coming off.

    Also the coming off of the Salmon flies. That is one huge bug. The ones I saw were over 2 inches long. I hope my flies work and that the Big Hole is fishable when that happens.

    For one who has plied the rivers for as long as I have, you would think that I would know something about bugs. Well I don't. I just carry around enough flies that I can somewhat match the hatch
  8. Taxon Moderator

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    Hi OMJ-

    Is there a question in there somewhere, or are you just warming up to ask it? ;)
  9. Old Man Just an Old Man

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    I might of asked it and then answered it . I just like to talk. I live with a house full of females.They don't fish so I have to talk to somebody or else I will explode.
  10. Olive bugger Active Member

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    Living with a house full of non fishing females is not the best of things. I know from first hand experience.

    To join in the fray here, I have a problem not only with fly selection, but hatches in general. Some live in fast water, some in slow. For a lot of years now it has been throw it out there and wait and see. I have learned how to fish some bodies of water but I have zero idea of why I am doing what I am doing. I have come to the conclusion that the fish do not really care as long as they think it is food they will take it. Getting them to think that it is food is the hard part.

    My take is that fish are not very smart. They are smart enough to try to survive, however. In order to satisfy the third instinct, food, they will key in on a hatch that is about to begin or is in progress. If your fly looks like that, you are golden. If it makes the hungry, you are also golden.
    If not, go home or to the bar.
  11. Drifter Active Member

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    I have read that fish do see colors so tie flies the same color of hatches, like the blue wing olive being a olive body and bluish white wings or gray wings. Also after watching you-tube videos of nymph's I see a lot of them have lighter under bodies so I have started tying two tone nymph, it only makes since that they're under bodies would be lighter since that part is on the bottom and the backs are mostly colored to match surrounding vegetation. If you pick them off the rocks check this out.

    I guess what I'm saying is from what I've read they do see in colors. I have fished the beaver head and know those fish below the dam can be very selective, it's fish like these where I believe it counts. If you look at a salmon fly the backs are pretty dark but the under bodies have a lot of orange in them or are much lighter, looking up the fish see the under bellies-legs-profile - size also matters a lot on pressured spring creeks.

    just my thoughts on the subject.
  12. Olive bugger Active Member

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    Charlie Brooks, Rest His Soul, noted in his book that he liked to tie his flies in the round because it presented the same silhouette to the fish, no matter what position the fly was in. I believe there is a lot of knowledge in that statement. I believe he was talking about fast water at the time. I am not so sure that it would not also apply in still water under some circumstances.
  13. dfl Active Member

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    It looks like food.
  14. Panheadsully Member

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    I have found that both size and color are critical on Spring Creeks. The problem is trying to figure it out. For Instance, why would I be throwing scuds when I'm swatting tons of midges out of my face. I have drifted tan midges in one spot for 15 min, then threw a lighter tan color and bam!

    Question:
    How do I match the size and color of a midge pupa consistently? When I do, it's fish after fish.
  15. zen leecher aka bill w born to work, forced to fish

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    I thought it was darn near impossible to tie these below size 16 as they are so busy.

    I was going thru Livingston on a hunting trip a decade or two ago and stopped at Dan Bailey's to stretch my legs. I asked them if they had any in a size 18 and they replied 20's also. Said the tyers in the side area tied them for the store.

    Never used them as they are in a display in my fly tying area.
  16. Olive bugger Active Member

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    I presume that you are talking midges here? Anything size 20 is too tiny for these old eyes. I can't see the eye of the hook nor the end of the leader.
    Heck of a tough tie. Faster, broken water is batterer for me. :)
  17. zen leecher aka bill w born to work, forced to fish

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    Nope. Size 18 and 20 Royal Wulffs.
  18. Olive bugger Active Member

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    Well, I still could not see the eye of the hook or the tip of the leader to fish the fast water anyway. Besides, it is hard to find fast water in a lake. :D
  19. Old Man Just an Old Man

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    I thought that also. but the size 18 and 20's eyes are just, just. You need a lighter leader as 5x doesn't fit the eyes to good. And if you get some that small, cut your tippet on the bias, slant. It will fit in the eye better. The sharp side will go into the eye easier. Found that out when my 5X didn't want to go in the eye.