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Experiences  and observations of the TrueFly Supply Guides, Staff and Guest Contributors. Colorado fly fishing, Custom flies, Fly Tying, Fly Rods, Custom fly rods, fly fishing Guides, Colorado Tout fishing, Carp fishing

 

Fish Don't Hibernate During Winter Why Should Your Fly Rod?

Dan Edwards

Don't put the fly rod up for winter!  Fish activity does dwindle a lot during winter but they of course do not Hibernate.  Those cold streams with snow on the banks and yes occasional ice and slush floating on top do make it look impossible to net a fish from.  However, winter fishing can be quite productive if you understand how fish activity changes, know where to look, and of course have the right flies.  You may even find a hatch in the right conditions!

Fish activity changes a lot during winter.  Their food supply has decreased, they are worried about predators and shelter more than feeding in the winter, and they won't expend a lot of energy.  Explosive takes will be fewer than during the warmer months.  Fish won't be everywhere like they were when it was warmer.  They will congregate in pools with a slow moving current and deeper water.  They will be deep and they won't be in stagnant water because they need a current to bring their food supply to them.  They want to conserve as much energy as possible and look for areas with low turbulent.  They won't chase food like would in August and wait for food to come to them.  Steamer fishing will take more skill than in summer.

Flies are smaller in the winter, don't be afraid of midges in the 22 to 24 range.  Big fish will eat tiny flies!  TrueFly Supply's Guides do a fantastic job putting together our winter selections.  Watch for hatches on the warmer afternoons and look for rising fish in the middle of those slower currents.  Springs flowing into rivers are sometimes warmer and fish find them.  Look for hatches there as well.  

So to sum it up, fish are lazy, stay deep, and the bugs are smaller!  Look for warmer afternoons, slower currents, and use small flies.  Don't get discouraged by the snow and put your fly rod up.  Keep it ready and those fly boxes organized.

took a size 22  rs2

took a size 22  rs2

cold days can be productive with a little patience and the right flies... think small

cold days can be productive with a little patience and the right flies... think small

Fly Selection! My Struggle and Solution!

Ed Weston

Sixteen years ago I picked up my first trout fly rod and tried to cast it.  I was terrible!  However, I was recently engaged and my future wife's Grandpa was an amazing fisherman and we happened to get along fantastically.  He was more than happy to give me some tips.  He was 74 years old and had almost 7 decades of experience to share with me.  I also met a friend at work who was willing to take me out and teach me a few things as well.  I was lucky to have such experienced people I felt comfortable talking to and who were extremely happy to teach me.  However, I knew nothing about flies, their names, what they were supposed to represent or the life cycle of aquatic insects (which turns out can be useful in fly fishing).  They answered my questions and gave me a lot of information.  Here's a story that beginners and even expert fisherman can probably relate to or has even had happen at some point:

I was a new fisherman and had a fly rod and even though I was incredibly lucky to have great people share so much knowledge with me I was still very intimidated at the fly counter.  I would see a few patterns I had heard in my conversations with my Grandpa and friend but many were acronyms which made no sense to me.  The guys in the fly shop were sometimes helpful and rarely I would find someone who had patience for my questions. But many times these guys made me feel like an idiot and sometimes the suggestions they were giving me felt more like they were getting rid of inventory that had been sitting around a while and not because they actually wanted to help me catch fish. 

Fast forward a few years and now I have flies I'm excited to get to the river to use. My casts are improving but I'm still not 100% sure about what flies I should use, or how to fish the fly when I do tie one on.  I spent a lot of time purely with trial and error not caring about an aquatic insects’ life cycle.  I had no clue about what a hatch meant, but thought that the idea of one sounded cool.  I didn't know what insects were on the rivers I fished or that sometimes during the year you can find different insects and in different sizes.  I had about 5 patterns in different sizes that worked somewhat consistently for me.   I knew I needed to expand and eventually did, but it took me a long time to learn what I know today.

TureFly Supply was an idea of two guys who have been fishing buddies for 16 years.  My friend at work who I started fishing with 16 years ago wanted to help people like I was when we met.  We were thinking of beginning fly fisherman standing at a fly counter in a fly shop looking at the overwhelming selection of patterns, and seemingly endless variations of size and color.  Most beginners, if they are lucky, have heard of the word entomology, but have little to no clue of a bugs’ life cycle and especially the complex life cycle of aquatic insects.  This is who we had in mind when we started to develop the goals of TrueFly Supply

We knew we wanted to help beginners have the right flies that would catch fish, but we didn't just want to sell flies like those intimidating fly shop guys.  We wanted to provide something else as well, knowledge.  Knowledge is key to everything.  We want to help answer those questions about life cycles of bugs, and how to fish the flies we sell.  We want to shorten the learning curve and add some confidence to every fisherman we can to make sure you keep catching fish. 

TureFly Supply has worked with our guides to find patterns every month that they would use if they were out guiding.  We will only use patterns that our guides would use and patterns that we know will catch fish.  Along with each months fly selections, you will also receive an info card written by our guides with instructions on fishing each fly as well as information on what type of insect each fly represents and how that pattern fits in the bugs life cycle.

TrueFly Supply is fantastic for beginners, but also great for you experienced fisherman as well.  The flies are premium quality and at an amazing price.  We sell flies that every fisherman should have in their box, and there is always more to learn!

Fly Selection! Who, What, When, Why, Where!

Nick Adler

Why? Great question, right? The question of "why" can be applied to SO many aspects of fly selection.  There are tons of different fly patterns out there, and why you select the flies you do can be narrowed using a few easy tips.

Tip #1

Pick Flies for how you plan to fish.  Are you heading out to cast dry flies, maybe you want to work on getting the best drift possible with your "Euro" nymphing set up, or are you just simple going out to catch fish?

Now that you know what type of fishing you plan to do, why are you going to pick a certain fly?

Tip #2

Look for hatches, look for feeding patterns.  Again, we are pounding home the need to take some time and observe what's happening

Tip #3

Run a river seine.  This kinda ties into Tip #2, but running a river seine is such a useful tool, and one that should be in every anglers arsenal.  Not only is this an extremely simple tool to use and make yourself, it's a much more ethical way to see what a fish is eating when you compare to other options, like a stomach pump...which I personally hate

Using these simple tips in combination with our other Fly Selection blogs, you should have a good idea of the who, what, when, and why of fly selection.  Stay tuned as we wrap up our Fly Selection segment and bring it all together.  

Fly Selection! Who, What, When, Why, Where!

Nick Adler

When!? When do you throw this pattern, when do you cast those dries, when do you reach deep for those bottom dwelling Czech patterns?  Experience is key when trying to decide WHEN to throw what flies, experience and common sense.  Look at the water you plan to fish (can you see the theme we try to push the most) and take your time, observe what is happen both on the surface and with what the fish are doing.  Are the fish actually feeding?  So again, let's talk about trout since FlyGear.Co is a Colorado company.

If you see a trout hanging out, dodging occasionally out of the feeding lane or sipping the surface, then you know they are feeding.  Can you see the white of the mouth when a trout opens up to feed?  These are tell tale signs that it's a good idea to try to mimic natural presentations, and depending on where they are feeding (surface, mid-column, or bottom) throw flies that are appropriate.

So throwing flies, you need to pay attention to your drifts.  When you recast is very important.  Whatever I'm using, I like to let my drifts go as long as possible, especially if I can't see the trout I'm targeting.  I do this because I believe that the more my flies are in the water, the more fish I'll catch, if my flies aren't in the water, I know I'm not catching anything.  

Hopefully we have covered the WHEN for you a little bit.  Stay tuned as we begin to put the who/what/when in practice as we talk about our last two segments, Why and Where!

Fly Selection! Who, What, When, Why, and Where!

Nick Adler

So now that we've talked a little about who can help with our fly selection, let's move to WHAT flies we need to get.  This can be a touchy subject for a lot of people, there are millions of flies out there!  What flies you pick can make the difference between a great day of fishing and getting completely skunked.  

Obviously, our location and what fish we are targeting is a direct reflection of the flies we are going to use.  Since FlyGear.Co is a Colorado company, we mainly focus on trout, but we also have great carp, pike, and bass fishing.  Now a trout might eat a foam popper designed for bass, but it's a lot more likely that a trout will take a pheasant tail.  So think about your targets diet and pick something as close to what they eat as possible.  In our Ninja Tips 101 post, we discussed taking time to observe what's happen on the water, and IN the water.  Collect insect samples from the river, look to see what (if anything) is hatching.  Once you're armed with a little knowledge of what's on the menu, pick flies from your box that are as close to a match as possible.  Many people get so discouraged when they blindly through flies at fish with no results, so let's open our eyes and pick flies that make sense!!  

Happy clients with the right flies, and some beautiful fish!

Happy clients with the right flies, and some beautiful fish!

Fly Selection! Who, what, when, why, and where!

Nick Adler

There is a science to fly selection.  As we walk through our next blog installment we'll discuss some of the things that come to mind when talking and thinking about picking out flies, both for your fly box and when riverside. 

Colorado Flies

The Who

Walking into a any fly shop can sometimes be intimidating, especially when you're just starting your journey into fly fishing, and when you look at fly selection it can be enough to make the room spin.  When I ran a shop I liked to have my fly selection organized a certain way, so they would break down into the species of insect they were, and this became easier to explain to new anglers about beginning fly selection.  I had caddis dries on top of caddis wet flies, mayfly dries on top of mayfly wet flies, and so on.  I loved explaining what each fly did and why there are so many patterns to choose from.  There are flies for almost every situation.  My biggest advice to selecting flies is this: Pick a shop that you like (better yet, FlyGear.Co) with someone you trust as your sales-man or sales-woman, and listen to their advice.  Your return input will show that you listened to them and came back to shop with them again.  Not that I played favorites, but I was a lot more inclined to reach into my personal "special" flies for customers I knew where loyal.  Now not every fly shop carries every fly, but they should be willing to get you whatever fly you want, within reason.  Being a loyal customer can greatly aid you in for hunt for fish.  Fly selection matters, so listen to what your fly shop is telling you, and hopefully your fishing will improve!

Colorado Fly fishing

Gear Organization 101

Nick Adler

Organize your gear!  Sounds simple, right?  You'd be surprised at how quickly your gear can turn into a complete mess with just a few fishing trips.  We have talked about your flies and boxes, and what to keep them in, but what about your waders and boots?  

For me, having my feet comfortable in any outdoor activity makes or breaks the experience, for fishing especially.  It's not really a comfort factor with having your boots dry since your waders take care of that, but drying your boots is important.  The seams, the laces, the soles, every part of your boot will deteriorate over time with use, and when you don't properly dry your boots between fishing trips, the moisture can speed this up.  I like to flip my boots upside down and use a boot drier, keeping my boots on the drier until my boots are bone dry.  

So how are you supposed to keep your waders in good condition?  I like to keep my waders hung up rather than balled in a pile in the back of the Jeep.  While there's no proof, I think having the seams straight can help with longevity of the waders.  Leaky waders suck, another step I take is to run a small bead of AquaSeal down any seams and around the neoprene feet.  This is excessive I think, but my waders are constantly lasting me several hard seasons.  I'm constantly sliding down rocks, kneeling, and thrashing my waders, so having this little bit of extra insurance helps ease the worry of causing a leak.  Some guys even go as far as wearing knee and shin pads or adding extra patches in heavy use areas.  You can also toss silicone packs in your waders when you take them off, sucking up some moisture and hopefully a little stink too...

Keeping your waders and boots in top condition means that you don't have to replace them as often, you are comfortable and dry, and you can focus more on the fish.  

Gear Organization 101

Nick Adler

Gear Organization 101

So we've got you on your way organizing your flies, but where do you keep them and how do you carry them riverside?  Using a working box can help scale down the amount of space your gear takes up, and having all your accessories organized and in the best place possible can make the time you spend setting up and changing your fly rig quicker and easier.  See our previous Gear Organization 101 for tips on organizing your flies. 

There are a million different ways to carry gear, chest packs, hip packs, back packs, and vest cover a majority of the ways to organize your fly fishing accessories.  For me, it's tough to beat a good hip pack, like the Umpqua Ledges 650.  The Ledges 650 has everything I need and with the external, removable frame, it's incredibly comfortable too.  The Ledges 650 has side pockets on the waist belt, where I keep my floatant and weights for easy access, the main pack has 3 large pockets which can hold extra leaders, fly boxes, and any extra accessories you might need.  There are 2 pockets on the front of the pack which hold your tippet spools, and a ton of attachment points for retractors, forceps, and nippers.  This pack just works for me, I can keep this pack behind me when fishing and spin it around to my front when I need to.  

Try out some different styles, ask your fishing buddies what they like about the way they set up their gear, do some research on pros and cons for the different options out there, but most importantly, make a decision based upon what YOU want, not what someone is trying to sell you...

Gear Organization 101

Nick Adler

Gear Organization 101

Our next segment will talk about the importance of keeping your gear organized.  From fly boxes and flies to the line on your reel, your waders and boots, keeping things clean and in place will ensure less frustration on the water and your gear will last longer, ultimately saving you money.

Let's start with flies, the most important part of catching fish.  Without flies on the water, you don't have a chance to catch any fish.  So it makes sense your flies are one area not to slack in keeping organized.  Using a good fly box that is water proof can help stop your hooks from rusting by keeping them dry.  If you happen to drop your fly box while in the water, a waterproof box can float, making retrieving your flies easier.  

Segregating your flies into categories will help when you when searching for that perfect pattern to match the hatch.  I like to have my flies separated into large dry flies, small dry flies, midges and emergers, nymphs, Euro nymphs, and an egg/worm box.  I use different size boxes for almost all these categories, and I know just by feel what box I'm grabbing from my bag.  Is it nice to have all these separate boxes?  Yes, but entirely unnecessary.  I know folks that keep flies organized like this as a kind of "back stock", and before each trip they put a selection of flies into a "working" box.  I personally don't like this method as I do not have a lot of experience using it, but I can see how much room is freed up by not carrying a ton of boxes.  

My last tip with fly organization is this: dry out your flies properly once you're done using them.  Make sure that you air out your fly box so moisture can escape, saving your hooks from developing rust.  Nothing sucks more than having your investment in flies go bad...

Ninja Tips 101

Nick Adler

Ninja Tips 101 comes to a close with our last segment about fishing tailwaters.  

Tailwaters can be frustrating to fish.  Tailwaters often see more pressure than free flowing rivers because they are open year round, they contain a high level of oxygen and food for trout, and since fish can't swim up a dam, bigger fish tend to hold below impediments like dams.  The wrong presentation, tippet that's too big, and the wrong color and size of a fly can mean you get skunked.  Generally, when I fish tailwaters, I tend to use small tippets, 6X and smaller.  There is a trade off to using a tippet that your target can not see, they can break your tippet a lot easier.  Fighting a fish on light tippets will really test your fish fighting abilities.  Fly size comes into play too, my usual fly size for tailwater fishing is a size 20 dry with a trailing fly that's a size 22-26.  If I notice my target coming up to inspect my fly but refuse to eat my fly, I'll go a size smaller.  Switching sizes of flies has often been rewarded with getting my target to eat.  

A lot of the Ninja Tips we have discussed come into play whenever we go fishing.  The best advice I can give is this:  Be aware of what is happening around you.  Maybe next time you go fishing, leave your rod in the car, walk the river, watch the fish, take a notebook and maybe collect some insect samples.  A day on the water without fishing can go a very long way to making you a better angler.