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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have learned that you should carry flies in different sizes but how do you know what sizes you should have in your fly box? And how many flies of that kind should you take? I know it is different with different people but I have no clue where to start.
 

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Googlemeister
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most fly pattern recipes will have the size specified. eg: tiemco 101 size 16-26

somebody figured them out so i dont need to reinvent the wheel :)

i usually tie 3-4 flies of each size. depends on the pattern also.

for instance, if i were tying pheasant tail nymphs, i would tie a few in size 16,18, 20. similar with hares ears.
 

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19D
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many books and recipes also detail what size hooks you should have... when in doubt you can always give a call to your local fly shop and ask what sizes work best for your area... Norm is right on about the number of flies per size... it sucks when you only have one fly of a specific size that the fish are keying in on and you just happen to lose it to the overly friendly tree on the bank... also, tying 3-4 flies per size really helps you remember how to tie a pattern... I find that I don't remember a pattern well until I have tied it about half a dozen times
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the helpful advise. When I was fishing last weekend, I was given three flies on one size. On my first cast, I lost the first fly and I was thinking "crap..... what happenes if I loose the second and third one".

Guess I need to tie more!
 

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Experience will also help. Some patterns may say 12-16's, but then you will see 18's or even 20's on your local river. I agree to call or visit your local fly shop.
 

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Sculpin Enterprises
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Good question for beginners. Generally, for trout, most of my flies will be in the 12 to 18 range. For general attractors, like an elk hair caddis, I will have flies across that range. If I am imitating specific bugs, such as a Callibaetis mayfly, most of my flies will be in sweet spot for that fly, with a few larger and a few smaller. I generally shoot to tie 10 flies at each size for a specific pattern. After all, I've gone to the trouble of digging out all the material and threading my bobbin with the right color. Why tie up just enough for a single day (if you are lucky)? If I'm tying several sizes of a pattern, I will start with the largest size first and then work my way down. My first fly usually looks pretty good, but my second and third are usually worse (lack of attention to detail). After six, my tying is pretty consistent.

As you indicate, it wouldn't be unusual to lose just the right fly in a fish, and then lose another in a tree or a snag. If all you have are three copies, the pressure is on. I prefer to have a minimum of 6 flies with me for patterns that I anticipate will be productive.

Steve
 

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Aid's rule of three: "The first fly is going to get stuck in a tree, the second will be lost to the biggest fish you ever saw, so you'd better have a third to go back after that fish." -- Bob Aid, Kaufmann's Streamborn. I took a steelhead fishing class from Bob years ago and always remember what he said. When I tie, I always make three of a fly in each size I tie. And I have lost a lot of flies throughout the years.
 

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BigDog
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When you are on the water and you see bugs in the air or floating on the surface, take a close look at what size they are. A landing net can make a decent bug net, if you are quick and agile enough (heck, I've caught plenty of bugs with my baseball cap). Take a close look at color, too. Nothing better than some personal knowledge of the bugs themselves for knowing what size and color to tie.

Another tip is to take a look at "hatch charts" for rivers/regions you want to fish. Popular rivers usually will have such a chart for those unfamiliar with the river. Here's an example that popped up when I did a google search for "Yakima river hatch chart": http://www.worleybuggerflyco.com/professionalgu/hatch_chart.htm
Hatch charts usually will list the insect species, the time of year that they are emerging, and what hook size they should be imitated by and sometimes specific patterns for each insect.

So, for example if you want to fish the Yakima river this spring, you will want some dry flies to imitate the Skwala stonefly (size 10-12), March brown mayflies (#12-14), and Mothers day caddis (#14-16), among others. Stonefly and mayfly nymphs, and caddis puppae in the same sizes should also be in your fly box.

When I fish mountain streams and lakes, I tend to carry a lot of 'attractor' patterns in size 10-14 that don't represent anything specifically, but that float well on faster water. Parachute Adams, Elk hair caddis, stimulators, and Royal Wulffs all will work on such streams.

Steelhead and salmon fishing is another thing entirely; I'll leave that to others to expound upon.

Dick
 

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Sculpin Enterprises
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Hi Chef,

Yes, it is easier for me to get the motions and process down on a larger fly than on a smaller fly. Once I have worked out whatever solution I need to get past the tricky parts (and there are always tricky parts), I can apply that solution at a smaller size where more precise movements are required.

Steve
 
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