Fly fishing Tips You Can Use:
Fly fishing advice from one of the top Grand River fly fishing guides in Ontario. Fly fishing tricks and fly fishing tips which you will use, not only on the Grand River in Ontario, but across Canada. This is the original fly fishing Tips and Tricks Page on the Internet. Don't be fooled by imitations.

Here Are the Fishing Tips:
Archive #: January, 2003.

Right then. Here are few short pointers on what you can do to improve your chances of getting some fish in 2003. If you need further details on any of them, check through the "extensive archives" linked at the bottom of the page, and you might find the information you are looking for. If you still haven't found what you are looking for, call Bono and the boys in U2, or send me an e-mail and I can help you out.

Your Fishing License.
Before you get busted for having an out of date license, check that you are in fact legal.

Make your summer flies NOW.
Now - not the day before the opener - is when you want to stock pile some flies. You are not pressured into rushing the tying sequences so the finished flies will be more durable and last longer. Also, you are under no pressure to produce the flies while the trout, bass or carp are jumping so the time at the bench will be much more enjoyable. The added bonus is that the winter is the prime time for finding top quality fly tying materials.

Productive Patterns.
These pattern are very handy for fishing both warm water and cold water species. Match the size of the fly to the water conditions, larger flies in off coloured water, smaller flies in clearer water. I tend not to fish beadheads or use weighted flies. I get more action from the fly by adding split shot to the leader. These patterns will consistently catch fish all season long and with a bit of practice they are not all that difficult to make. Try to stay subsurface, as fish take about 90% of their food from below the water surface. I'd stick with nymphs as they are far more versatile than most other styles of flies. You can always slap the grease to a nymph and fish it as an emerger if you have to, but it is tough to do that with a heavily weighted nymph or a size 2/0 conehead Woolly Bugger.
Pheasant Tail, Gold Ribbed Hare's Ear, Prince, Damsel fly, Montana, Stoneflies, Waterboatmen, Cased Caddis, Muncher Nymph, Freestone Nymph, Casual Dress, March Brown, Bloodworm and last but not least, Hoglouse and/or Scuds.
Streamers / Bucktails:
Mickey Finn, Black Nose Dace, Thor, Gray Ghost, Zonker, Aztec, Sculpins and Muddlers.
Klinkhammer Special, Hare's Ear Caddis, Black Ant, Grasshoppers, Crickets, Elk Hair Caddis, Black Gnat parachute, Griffith's Gnat and Buzzers.
Invicta, Sliver Invicta, Zulu, Blue Zulu, Red Tag, Wigglers, Crayfish, Viva and the Woolly Bugger.

Hitting the spot.
1. Many anglers spend days pouring over the latest fads in fish catching flies or they spend hours at the vice tying the perfect fly. (Hint: try the flies listed above, they get fish.) However when they get to the river they often fall short of the mark. One of the biggest errors most anglers make is not being in the right location to cover the fish correctly. If you see a rising fish, ask yourself, "Am I in the right location to cover that fish?" Chances are you are not. Take a look at going below the fish and perhaps casting upstream to it. Try approaching the fish from the opposite side of the river, or try wading a wee bit closer to the fish - without spooking it - to keep the length of the cast down to a minimum. The shorter the cast, the easier it is to pick up the takes. Long casts look great on magazine covers, and there are instances like stillwater fishing in the Great Lakes or when bank fishing on the Lochs and reservoirs in the UK where they are a necessity, but you'll hook more fish on shorter casts.

2. At the river walk slowly and try to stay out of the main current as much as possible. Fish will pick up the mud trail you send downriver, and they will bugger off. Also, when you are on the bank, don't forget to walk quietly. Fish can pick up the foot fall vibrations and once again they will know something is up, making it tougher to get them. In low clear water a stealthy approach is critical. Tip: Although quiet and comfortable I don't recommend wearing slippers when wading.

Fishing in cold weather.
Try not to get caught up in the myth that fish will only take lure type, or big flies - Viva, Woolly Bugger, Muddlers - when the temperature is near the freezing mark and there is a foot of snow on the ground. Browns, steelhead and salmon will often smack size #12 to #16 nymphs like a caddis, Hare's Ear, Muncher Nymphs or a Pheasant Tail Nymph. On the Thames River here in London, still the undisputed center of the fly fishing universe, there were midges hatching in the first week of December. Many successful Ontario steelhead fishermen know the value of the Winter Black Stonefly which will crawl onto ice flows to hatch in the very, very early spring. For fun, try a floating ant pattern when winter steelheading, you might be quite surprised at how many fish will have a go at it. One last thing, try to fish when the temperature is above zero otherwise ice will build up in the rod guides and the line won't cast.

Fishing in drought conditions.
This is tough. During the dog days of summer, stay well away from the trout rivers and focus on carp, smallmouth, pike, gar pike and drum, which will be far more active than trout. Also, in the middle of a drought, trout which have been played out and stressed out for 10 minutes - because they were hooked on a 1 weight using a 1/2 lb tippet - have a very good chance of kicking the bucket. Look for deep pockets, fast water, or areas fed by fast water which will have more dissolved oxygen to hold fish. Try fishing on cloudy days, at night or on days when there is a light rain. Don't forget to fish the shadows. Note: if your are fishing at night, fishing in the shadows is tough to do.
If you must fish in low water try using skinny or sparsely dressed nymphs, (Note: the jokes are WAY to obvious, so I am not going to say anything.) which will fool the fish much easier than B.F.P.P's - big fat porky patterns. AND try to fish imitative nymphs rather than attractor designs. If you simply must fish dry flies, your best bet is to fish on overcast days. Any of the emerging nymph patterns or dries tied with CDC - cul-de-canard, the feathers from the oil gland near a ducks butt - are always effective. Don't go gaga over CDC flies. Trout and smallies will have a look at these and then turn away, but they will inhale the same pattern if it's tied with traditional materials. The only thing I can put this down to - I have no scientific evidence to back it up, just hours of on the water observation - is that the CDC version has the wrong silhouette or shape.

Fishing at night in any weather.
Use black flies and fish them close to the surface. The fish will see the pattern as an absence of light. You can also fish larger sizes of flies and you won't spook the fish as easily as you will during daylight hours, plus the bigger flies give the fish an easier target to locate. If in doubt as to which pattern to use, go with a Viva, Black Muddler, Black Woolly Bugger or a Zulu tied with a tail of fluorescent red wool. I can't recall the last time I fished any other colour than black when fishing at night.

Clean out your vest.
I've said this a hundred times ... clean all the garbage, old leaders and empty tippet spools out of your vest. Trash the rusty flies - unless they are Rusty Rats - from your boxes and while you are there, you might want to put a small sticker on the outside of each box to let you know the contents, without having to open it up. By knowing where everything is in your vest, you will spend less time faffing about and more time fishing. Do you have enough fly floatant to get you through the season? TIP: Never apply a silicon fly floatant directly to the fly. Rub it between your thumb and fingers first. Think about it and the reason should come to you. If not, try it out. Where is your extra pair of needle nose pliers? Did you use up all the non toxic weights and bobbers - I mean strike indicators - last season? Will your local fly shop have the leader material you need on the day before the trout opener? Now is the time to replenish missing items, you will thank yourself for it when you are on the river.

F & M's.
In the list of patterns above, I did not mention F & M's - Froggies and Mice. Sadly many fly fishermen only think about these patterns for going after muskie, pike, smallmouth bass and largemouth bass. They can be deadly on browns and rainbows if they are fished slowly. I tend to shy away from popping patterns made from balsa wood or foam, as I think fish hold onto deerhair flies a 'wee bit' longer. Don't get up tight about the frog flies needing feet, toes and eyes to be effective. The fish don't care if your mouse pattern has no ears or if it is whiskerless. So long as the fly has the right silhouette, and is close enough in size to the naturals, you should be on the boat to the new land. One of the keys to success with F&M flies is to vary the retrieve until you find the one which does the trick. I start out with a slow retrieve - it won't spook the fish - and then speed things up until I get some hits. Browns and resident rainbows will smack frogs and mice if you fish them tight to the bank at night. You might want to have a bunch of F&M's tied with well packed deer hair - and well greased up - to fish 'on' the surface. But, you should also have a few in which the deer hair has not been packed too tightly so that they will fish 'in' the surface. Somedays this can make a big difference in the productivity of the fly. I have no clue as to why this is. Only apply fly floatant to the top half of the fly if you want it to fish 'in' the surface and not 'on' the surface.



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