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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm fairly new to dedicated fly-fishing for trout and at this point in my tying experience I lean towards soft hackled-flies and some of the basic nymphs - like the Prince and Pheasant-Tailed, etc. Frankly, the dries are just a little tougher for me, too.
Any suggestions for searching patterns that are geared towards simplicity and readily tied with basic materials? I've got a reasonable selection of basic materials including various hackles, beads, tying thread down to 8/0, fine copper wire, hooks up to size 16, etc, but of course willing to get other items if they can lead me into patterns I can handle and which will work on freestone mountain streams and smaller rivers here in western North Carolina this fall and beyond.
Any general or specific questions and guidance welcomed. References to patterns on line and from other sources will work too. What really helps me is experience-based input.
Thanks.
 

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I live in Oregon now but fished for years in Colorado mountain creeks and streams. You're on the right track...90% of what a trout eats are sub-surface insects. Try flipping over some rocks and look at the little crawlies that call it home, you'll find that your PTs and Princes are where you need to be. Basic stonefly nymph patterns tied heavy in size 8, fished in deep holes will produce. These can be simple (merely suggestive).

The sub-surface list...
Wooly Bugger:
(big, small, light, bright, dark), this pattern has caught more trout in more conditions than any other pattern
Nymphs:
pheasant tails, prince nymph, stonefly nymphs all in sizes 4-16 (these will all cross over to dragon and damsel fly nymphs as well)
Larva:
caddis (google Mop Fly) with bright green body and black head, my buddy catches trout, salmon, steelhead, LM and SM bass and CATFISH...all on the same fly!!
Soft Hackles:
simple thread or floss body (ANY color), soft hackle feather, small thread dam or dubbing ball for a hackle prop

Quicky Stonefly Nymph pattern:
Hook: nymph or streamer hook sized to your local bugs (size 4-12 will cover most)
Thread: your 8/0 in black or brown
Bead: brass or black sized to the hook
Body: poly yarn (normal cheap yarn in black, brown, tan, or yellow) or dubbing of similar color
Rib: your copper wire is perfect
Legs: hackle in a similar color
Tails: 2-4 pheasant tail fibers or 2 rubber legs

1. Start by putting your bead on the hook and clamping hook in vise
2. Start your thread behind the bead and lay a thread base back to even with the barb
3. Tie in your tail material, forked horizontally
4. Tie in wire and yarn at the back of the hook with the wire and yarn along the shank up to the bead and advance thread forward with touching turns
5. While at the thorax area tie in a hackle behind the bead
6. Untwist your yarn and wrap tightly forward to form a body tapered from skinny at the rear to fatter at the front and secure with 2-3 thread wraps
7. Wrap your wire around the yarn body to suggest a segmented body and secure behind the bead
8. Wrap your hackle 3-5 times behind the bead (to suggest moving/wiggling legs) and secure
9. Whip finish and a touch of cement

This is a Brooks' Montana Stone I have a whole box of these in various sizes, colors, variations, etc. The pattern I described is a variant that has worked everywhere I fish... rivers, lakes, creeks, Colorado, Texas, Oregon, Wyoming, etc. I can be scaled up or down, colors changed, etc. to mimic local fare
Insect Pollinator Arthropod Liquid Twig


With trout there are 2 games....#1 is matching the hatch (feed them a fly that closely mimics what they are eating) and #2 is blowing their minds (ex: fishing a big bushy dry fly in winter, streamer at mid-day, etc.). It's the old attractor vs. mimicry debate. My best advice is to get a few hatch charts for your area, see what's popping during a particular season and tie a couple versions of hatch matchers and some attractors in that realm as well. Independant reaearch has always served me well, I don't go to fly shops with questions...I go to the river for answers

If you want some dry fly guidance, I can help there too!

Post some of what you tie and we can help you sort it out

Tight lines!

Dutch
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Wow - I hardly expected this much information and totally appreciate what you've shared. A few quick reactions:

Woolly buggers I've got a lot of and have fished some, but never very successfully. Probably a lack of confidence on my part; maybe I need to scale them down a little for the local creeks and rivers here. I've also stuck with the muted colors (olive, tan, brown, etc).

(Skipping nymphs for the moment...)

Larva patterns have been a blind spot in my collection but I will start researching.

Stoneflies - I've been intrigued but tied very few (may have actually purchased a few in the past) but what a great pattern to start with. I'll be on it.

Last night after I posted this I recalled the Teeny Nymph from my Pacific NW days, which I saw Jim demonstrate at a show I attended somewhere long ago. I figure you must know of it. What a simple pattern - and insofar as I can tell, open to variation. So I've been experimenting with them for part of the day, which has been rainy here. I have to believe they'll be effective.

Soft-Hackles I just love, and they sure worked well for sea-run cutthroat off the beaches near my old stomping grounds. They also allow for experimentation, and I've probably tied more of them than any other style.

Information on hatches for this region - western NC and the Smoky Mountains - are readily in many forms available and I have one I picked up in Cherokee about 10 days ago.

I'll send a few pics along in time, hopefully get out tomorrow for some in-the-water exploration. Again, thanks for all of this.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Wow - I hardly expected this much information and totally appreciate what you've shared. A few quick reactions:

Woolly buggers I've got a lot of and have fished some, but never very successfully. Probably a lack of confidence on my part; maybe I need to scale them down a little for the local creeks and rivers here. I've also stuck with the muted colors (olive, tan, brown, etc).

(Skipping nymphs for the moment...)

Larva patterns have been a blind spot in my collection but I will start researching.

Stoneflies - I've been intrigued but tied very few (may have actually purchased a few in the past) but what a great pattern to start with. I'll be on it.

Last night after I posted this I recalled the Teeny Nymph from my Pacific NW days, which I saw Jim demonstrate at a show I attended somewhere long ago. I figure you must know of it. What a simple pattern - and insofar as I can tell, open to variation. So I've been experimenting with them for part of the day, which has been rainy here. I have to believe they'll be effective.

Soft-Hackles I just love, and they sure worked well for sea-run cutthroat off the beaches near my old stomping grounds. They also allow for experimentation, and I've probably tied more of them than any other style.

Information on hatches for this region - western NC and the Smoky Mountains - are readily in many forms available and I have one I picked up in Cherokee about 10 days ago.

I'll send a few pics along in time, hopefully get out tomorrow for some in-the-water exploration. Again, thanks for all of this.
 

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You're welcome!! Those sea-runs and winter steelies are my new unicorns!!
On the buggers....I had big predatory trout in mind...I'm assuming you're targeting smallish native brookies....keep your bugger at a size 10 down to 16 streamer hook...olive, brown, black...swing 'em, strip 'em, drift 'em, dope 'em & float 'em (probably a regional term for applying floatant to a fly that is meant for sub-surface fishing, bugger looks like a hairy caterpillar!)

Can't wait for the report!
 

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You're welcome!! Those sea-runs and winter steelies are my new unicorns!!
On the buggers....I had big predatory trout in mind...I'm assuming you're targeting smallish native brookies....keep your bugger at a size 10 down to 16 streamer hook...olive, brown, black...swing 'em, strip 'em, drift 'em, dope 'em & float 'em (probably a regional term for applying floatant to a fly that is meant for sub-surface fishing, bugger looks like a hairy caterpillar!)

Can't wait for the report!
Nomad is right. Go smaller and also try some flash.
 
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