How long do you fish before changing flies?

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

  1. Jaydub

    Jaydub Active Member

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    Apparently he has changed his mind. In his seminar last year he said to change after 30 minutes. Right after he told us that none of us knew anything about stillwater fishing and if we ever caught a fish is was just by luck and in spite of everything we were doing wrong. (sorry for the rant)
     
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  2. NW_flyfisher

    NW_flyfisher if it's not this, then what?

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    on average 30 minutes, but I am always moving around, shoreline, deeper water, depends on the time of day. If absolutely no strikes in an hour I change lines. Sometimes I use the same pattern but different color, bead or no bead. If I really get frustrated I will even put on a streamer.
     
  3. sizematters

    sizematters New Member

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    This is one of the many things I really enjoy about the fly fishing community - there is a wide spectrum of advice from which to choose. I do appreciate all the suggestions offered on this thread. I guess the best approach is to synthesize the all recommendations into one overall plan of action: 1. Don't make any changes until you have finished your first six pack (or equivalent). 2. By the time you have finished your first six pack your spidey sense (or bladder) should be tingling. 3) If your motor skills allow it change to a smaller tippet - particularly if your fishing buddy has caught at least three to your zero. 4. Depending on your point of view, either embrace Mr. Rickard's view that those of us who fish stillwater don't know squat and catch a few fish only due to dumb luck or embrace his view that the key to stillwater fishing is to fish the shallows with streamers of his design. 5. If you still aren't catching anything after following steps 1 through 4, just say to Hell with it and start on your second six pack.
    I will take your recommendations to heart. Thanks. Sizematters
     
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  4. Irafly

    Irafly Indi "Ira" Jones

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    Please also consider growler or a flask versus a six pack. Granted the flask is much better for hike in adventures.
     
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  5. Jim Wallace

    Jim Wallace Smells like low tide.

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    I usually try to fish (lake fishing) the same fly for as long as it lasts, as long as the fly is drawing strikes. I just assume that it should work if I get it in front of a trout. (Usually one of my Halloween buggers, a Sixpack, or a Dragon nymph, if I'm fishing sub-surface). This has only failed me a couple of times, when I just could not get a hit. Then I was forced to switch up. Still didn't get hits on those days. I blamed it on the atmospheric pressure, or something.

    I will break a fly off and re-tie it if I see that my tippet has a nick or is getting frayed. I'll periodically inspect and sharpen the hook point, too. I fished the same "Failure Lake Special" about 8 or 10 trips in a row one year. Fooled over a hundred stocker 'bows and several native cutts before it got chewed down to a non-descript skinny scraggly nymph, which might have caused me to lose confidence in it and finally switch up, except that the lakes were warming up and it was time to switch over to searun cutthroat fishing mode in the tidal creeks here. So my local lake fishing time ran out before I was forced into action. I think I must have used only that one fly for all my lake fishing that Spring.

    I have used one streamer for an entire Summer and Fall when trolling for searun cutts paddling in the estuaries and tidal flux here, too. It just worked too well to want to change to anything else. It finally got chewed down the following year, but continued to draw strikes, and eventually the hook rusted and broke at the bend and I was forced to retire it. (Of course, I also had a couple of other rigged rods along...one with a floating line for dries (possibly with a # 12 Montana Bucktail already tied on), and another with a clear-intermediate sinktip and a Reversed Spider.

    The joys and advantages of being a simpleton are not to be under-rated!

    I will try to match the hatch if I see surface activity, though.
     
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  6. Starman77

    Starman77 Active Member

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    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.

    Rex
     
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  7. Red Arch

    Red Arch Active Member

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    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.
     
  8. Topstoy

    Topstoy In search of Trout

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    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.
     
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  9. the central oregonian

    the central oregonian Member

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    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 in...one of them is going on the line and I am going to move fairly quickly covering a lot of water looking for players.....
     
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