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New England Trout Fly Fishing Made Easy

Making Your Fly Selection Easier.

For some the sport of Fly Fishing can be a exhausting time. Trying to match the hatch, casting on a windy day and standing in cold water can all be part of the fun. Here I'll try to offer a few fly type selections for the northeast USA and I'm sure you'll enjoy being a quick learner. A few notes, I always use a barbless hook and always catch and release within 30 seconds of landing the fish. Thanks for reading and I'll see you streamside.


THE QUILL GORDON; As winter winds down and we start to prepare for the spring I'll always begin thinking of going back to one of my favorite places in the world, the Farmington River.in New Hartford, Connecticut. If it's been a cool spring with no prolonged 70 or 80 degree temperatures you'll see the Quill Gordon hatch as it's this first large [ vitial to a trouts diet ] fly of the season. This hatch is amazing to see, armies of the dark colored flies marching downstream getting blown all over the waters surface on the windiest of days. Matching this hatch is so appealing that I'll start off with a size number 14 dry fly, tied as dark as you can make the wings. Couple this with early season high water conditions and I'm going to use a 6X tippet which makes it easy to hook some good fish.

If Quill Gordon naturals cover the water, and you have no success with the dry fly then I have a secret. Tie on a wet Quill Gordon size 14 and fish it on the surface the way you'd fish a dry fly. I don't often use a wet fly, but when all else fails this one works like a gem. These cold misty April days can chill you to the bone and can bring a tear to your eye, But I'm not crying, I'm just glad to be using a Quill Gordon


THE HENDRICKSON; If your early spring day has been unproductive using the Quill Gordon you'll now move onto using the Hendrickson. This fly can be used to match the afternoon hatch from April into May. You have a few choices here, using either a size number 14 or 16 dry fly or a size number 14 bead head nymph. Tippet size again can be 6X or if water levels have subsided a bit go to a 7X for dry fly casting. The dry fly technique is easy, cast upstream to rising fish. However the nymphy technique is a bit different. Do your cast upstream and then with a tight line do two or three rod raises imitating the nymph raising to the surface. This technique will have the trout instinctually strike at the nymph. This technique can be used prior and during the main hatch of seeing flies on the waters surface. If you get no action then you'll can always substitute the Hendrickson nymph with a March Brown nymph. But none of this is working, what do you do? You'll now move onto THE RED QUILL Dry fly. We've all had days of seeing rising fish nearby but no strikes to our offerings. During these tiring days I'll often switch over to a Red Quill dry fly size number 14 or number 16. If the Hendrickson is being ignored then the switch to the Red Quill is the answer. We all like turning an unproductive day into a winner and switching to the Red Quill at times will do the trick.

Some days when I'm fishing in the afternoon and its warm and breezy I'll ask myself if this day is the best day of year to be on the water. Many times during a Hendrickson hatch the answer is YES.


THE LIGHT CAHILL: With warmer weather we can all get out and enjoy ourselves and we can start to have some fun. As the season progresses you'll find that matching the hatch starts to get a little easier. Your timing on using the Light Cahill dry fly is from late May into late June or early July. My personal fishing journals report the earliest observation of a Light Cahill hatch I've ever seen was on May 17 however that was the first 90 degree day of that year. Using the size number 14 dry fly on a 6X tippet allows for confident playing of the hooked fish. Early season hatches occur in afternoons into evenings, and later into the summer including the Forth of July you may see morning hatches. As the season progress you may find the Light Cahill is ignored and I've found the best standby in New England streams is the PALE EVENING DUN Dry Fly, sizes number 14 or 16 tied onto a 6X tippet which allowed me confident playing. To date I've never had any luck with any nymph imitation of this fly, nor have I ever had any success with a wet fly of this type. Using the Light Cahill made fly fishing easier for me and thus more enjoyable. I hope when your out fishing you'll enjoy watching the fish and at times the birds compete for this fly. Hope your adventures will be as fun as mine !

THE FLYING BLACK ANT; The sunshine is out, it's a beautiful day and you're doing all this work trying to match the hatch and use the proper imitation. Fish are rising but they ignore everything you present. And after an hour or so you're having a day with little or no results. Sometimes using terrestrial patterns can successfully break the attempt at matching a Mayfly hatch. So let's change things up a bit. By far the most successful fly I've ever used as a terrestrial imitation is a Flying Black Ant imitation. Trout have such a carnivorous nature and even if there are no Ants hatching this fly is a must carry in your fly box. I've used this fly with great luck from April until November. I will tend to carry more sizes of this fly than others, including 14, 16 and 18. As summer progresses the number of terrestrials naturally increases, as does their abundance on the water. By late summer to early fall the ants arrive in great numbers and the trout tend to have a real appetite. My success has been with using size #14 or size #16, tied onto either a 6X or 7X tippet and at times in fall I’ll have to go down to a size #18 just due to lower water conditions or just an overall greater selectivity by the fish. Overall when dry fly-fishing, I tend to catch the same number of trout with ant patterns as I do with all other dry fly patterns combined !


THE MARIBOU MUDDLER MINNOW; Hold on for this strike! Everyone who goes fly fishing should have the Muddler Minnow streamer in their fly box. Realizing how important insects are to the fishes diet we spend our hours at the stream trying to match the hatch. Truth be told the biggest mainstay to a trout's diet is smaller fish such as minnows and dace. If the water is unexpectedly up a bit, either from prolonged rain or a drenching thunderstorm then often I'll use a Maribou Muddler steamer from size number 4 to size number 8. Remember your trying to imitate a minnow, and a moderate size streamer tends to attract. Start with a hook size number 8 and if no success then move up to a size number 6 or number 4. I'll cast it across a pool and strip it back in, or work it around tree stumps lying near the shore. In either case if the water is moving a bit I think the fish have less time to look over the fly and at times strike it on instinct. Overall my best success has been on cooler fall days with little or slight mayfly hatch. Also at dusk on summer evenings I'll tie one of these streamers on for my last two dozen or so casts as those big lurker lunkers come out and are bit less cautious. Tippet size strength is very important, 6X is good, or at times I'll use some good stout monofilament that I coat with sinking gel to make it sink or at least get just below the waters surface. If the fish are biting- then hold on! You can get some real strong aggressive strikes when using a muddler. I'm not saying I catch fish every time that I go fishing, but I do try to have as productive and fun of a time as possible- and a Muddler Minnow does that !

Size 14 Hendrickson and Red Quill Dry Flies and Size 8 Maribou Muddler

Size 14 Hendrickson and Red Quill Dry Flies and Size 8 Maribou Muddler

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