You know, I can't quite tell what that little guy is doing.
That is a GOOD question. cantcatchem is right; everybody does it (including me). Of course, isn't that what Nixon said? I was troubled by the same question when I used to do all my fishing at Rocky Ford. There, everybody uses a dropper nymph to get around the proscription against lead addded to the line (That's right; flyfishing-only rules specifically say no lead). It seemed to me a wieghted hare's ear was lead added to the line, not to mention a second hook (also against the rules, if that's how you read them). Most folks I talked to gave the same everybody-does-it rationale, and I couldn't figure any other way to get those #22 midge larvae down to the bottom, so I went along.
One day I was fishing the creek with my standard rig, a #16 weighted hare's ear and a #22 red midge larva on a short dropper, doing not half bad I might add. As I was playing a fish, the WDFW enforcement officer walked up. Well, I thought, you're about to get the clarification you've been seeking smarty pants. The fish, bless his soul, broke me off. As it turned out, he had taken the larva (as they all did), which was now long gone.
The officer offered his condolences. After he checked my license, I asked him the $64 question, hypothetically, of course. He said, and I quote, that's a GOOD question. We puzzled it out toghether and he decided you'd be legal if you took the point off the harre's ear.
Now of course on the Yak the dropper is doing a whole 'nother thang, so it wouldn't make much sense to cut the point off either you're stimi or your prince. However, I do want to emphasise that this chap was clearly winging it, his state pension notwithstanding, and I've had plenty of guides and other pros say to me they've checked into it and it's kosher.
Depends on what you mean by traditional. 15-20 years ago, droppers were frowned on a little, probably. But look at an Orvis logo: two crossed fly rods, with lines and leaders looping around the pair; three, count them, three flies on each leader. I have an old flyfishing "how-to" book from the 19th century. It talks very matter of factly about the pros and cons of double, triple, and QUADRUPLE rigs, firmly advocting for the triple. It also talks a little about the "new technique" of dry-fly fishing, noting that under some circumstances it can be effective, but predicting that it will never replace the wet fly (not to be confused by us moderns with a nymph or streamer).
The other thing to consider is that the single-barbless hook rule is designed to make release of fish on special-reg waters easier, less damaging, and less traumatic on the fish than it might be with a trble hook, barbless or not. It's not really intended to make the fish any harder to hook. Presumably a meps spinner or a tiny frog-pattern flatfish works as well with a treble or a siwash hook. I have yet to hook a trout on the Yakima or anywhere else that was big or ferocious enough to take both my stimulator and my prince in his mouth at the same time, so the releasing is not terribly affected by the second hook (though the loose one has wound up in my thumb. Penance, perhaps?)
It is hard for me to imagine getting a citation for fishing on the yak with a dropper set up provided your barbs were clipped. I think that the rule is intended to prevent people from using multiple hooked plugs/flatfish etc. thus reducing the chance of a safe release. Also, most special regs waters including the yak are not flyfishing only. Actually the selective gear regs read as follows: "Only unscented flies or lures with one barbless hook are allowed" One could surmise that you are permitted to use multiple flies/ lures as long as they have no more than one barbless hook each. The General rules state that "you may use one line with up to three hooks". That said, you do have the possibility of hooking two fish at once...I have had simultaneous strikes on dry flies but never a multiple hookup.
Fish till ya drop.
Then suck it up
and fish the evening hatch.
The single barbless hook language is much misunderstood. It refers to using lures in special regulation waters. The lures must have a single barbless hook. It was never meant to prohibit use of a double fly setup of single barbless hook flies.
The WFWD has proposed changing the Fly Fishing Only and Selective Gear Regualtions for the 2002-2003 season. The flyfishing only reg. would change to "allow anglers to use up to two flies, each with a single barbless hook which measures 1/2" or smaller from point to shank, and mono fillament leaders of any length or breaking strength in "Fly Fishing Only" waters". All other requirements would remain the same.
For selective gear they have proposed changing the reg. to "...unsented artificial flies or lures with one barbless single hook are allowed, up to three flies or lures may be used..."
These changes were proposed in October, 2001, and from what I understand the Commission is going to act on the proposed changes in the February, 2002 meeting.
The complete proposed change package can be reviewed on the WDFW page.