Summer Fishing Techniques
Summer is here! It's warm, the days are longer and the best of all...it’s dry fly season. Here are a few tips to help you out on the water this summer.
Keeping your dry fly floating properly and visible so you can see the fish take your fly is critical to your success. With the myriad of floatants and water proofing agents out there, it can be overwhelming. Here’s a few tips:
CDC or Cul de Canard roughly translated means “butt of the duck”. CDC feathers have unique physical properties that allow them to naturally trap air in their fibers, which makes them a perfect choice for wings on many dry fly and emerger patterns. Many of our favorite patterns use this incredible material as a key component.
These require special attention since the structure of the material itself is what makes it float so well. You want to make sure you enhance its natural desire to float, rather than applying a substqance that will actually make it sink.
Shimizaki Dry Magic or Loon Lochsa
These two liquid floatants are almost dry to the touch when you squeeze it out onto your finger, which makes it safe to use on CDC since it won’t matte the natural fibers or mush them together.
Trouthunter Natural CDC Fly Dressing
This is made from actual waterfowl preen oil and is used to rejuvenate the feathers and make them float better.
With the above floatants being the best for CDC flies I would not recommend using Flyagra, Aquel, Gink or any crystal based floatants as they will have an adverse effect. These floatants work best on non CDC flies.
Non CDC Flies
Non CDC dry flies can represent a wide variety of of other dry fly wing materials, none of which are not as complex to treat as CDC. When using non-CDC flies a host of other floatants will work along with the ones mentioned above.
This liquid floatant is simple and easy to use because all you need to do is dunk your fly and start fishing. I tend to use Flyagra most often when fishing with hoppers or other large foam dry flies.
This old standby still works well on a variety of dry fly imitation including parachutes, thorax duns and sparkle duns and at half the cost of loon lochsa or dry magic it is still a go to option if you understandably don’t want to pay twice as much for the other stuff.
Shimazaki Dry Shake
This is the best all around floatant for non-CDC dry flies. I use before I fish a fly and after it’s wet. A must have in your boat or vest.
Amadou a mushroom like fungus that grows on trees in Europe. This drying agent that we import from France is a must have for when your fly is water logged or has fish slime on it. This fungus sucks the moisture out of the fly like nothing else. Your fly will be as dry as when you picked it up out of the fly bin. While it is pricier than other floatants, each patch will last you for several years. After I use the Amadou, I dress with the above.
Find the Foam
The foam line in a stream will tell you two very important things: the first is it tells you where the main current seams or flow lines are. If the flow of the stream is moving the foam along, it sure is moving food along to hungry trout! Foam is also a drag indicator.
I’m not talking about when you have major drag issues here. However, for picky trout, a little drag can mean the difference between success and frustration. Watch your fly as it drifts in the foam.
Minor differences of speed can be detetected. Adjust your mend and you cast position accordingly. One of my favorite techniques is to stand above the riffle and cast at my feet and feed the line out accordingly. This provides a fantastic, natural drift if done properly. Moreover, you don’t have to worry about varying speeds across the river.
Drive For Show, Putt For Dough
Firstly, I don’t golf. Not enough time! But this is a fairly common statement that can actually be used in fly fishing. There’s a lot of emphasis in this industry about how far certain products can help you cast. That’s great if your bone or tarpon fishing. But let’s face it, how many trout streams are 100 feet across. How you going to get a good drift on the 100 foot cast, never mind see the take and set the hook?
Work on your short game, the putt. Most fish we catch are within 20 to 30 feet of us. Unfortunately, short distance casting is not stressed enough, it’s just not sexy. But I’m out on the water to enjoy the outdoors and catch fish. I’m not there to show my fishing buddies my new gear and how I can catch a tree trout across the river!
A good tip is to over-weight your rod by one line weight. It can make those short range casts easier and more precise. Work the river inside out. Start with the locations closest to you, then work your way out into the river. Casting to the furthest spot is just going to allow your fly line to drift over the majority of the fish. I don’t care what color your line is, the fish can see it.
This is a fantastic year for fishing. Live life to its fullest, get out there in this beautiful country of ours, and enjoy the splendor of our great nation. As always…..
Tight Lines and Screaming Drags