Two Fly Guy: Life Cycle Pairings
I love a two fly rig.
That’s really no secret if you watch this blog.
Summer has arrived and with it warmer weather and slower water. The fish have already seen their fair share of flies and are starting to get their Ph.D in lip piercings. They are also starting to get more selective.
Is your Stimi and Pheasant Tail combo not working as well as it was a couple of months ago?
When trout get selective, they are cuing in on a certain bug at a certain life cycle stage. This is when I switch up to life cycle pairing for my fly fishing rig.
Pairing a Life Cycle
What I call a life cycle pairing would be something to the effect of a BWO Dun and a BWO emerger. I like to pair up different stages of the same species.
I always have my top fly as the dun. Two reasons.
First, the fish at some point will be switching to the dun during the day.
Second, for the dropper I will switch between nymph, emerger and cripple….which can be ridiculously hard to see. Having the dun as the lead fly helps me locate my offering pretty quickly and I can pick up the dropper much easier. I know it has to be within 18” of my dun, as that’s the typical length I tie on.
Below are a few pairing that I have found exceptionally effective. I will change up through the entire life cycle, but these the pairings that I find on the end of my line most often.
I love our new AC Caddis Pheasant Tail pattern. This bug simply produces. It really out fishes our traditional elk hair caddis patterns. I really recommend you give it a try.
The other pattern I really like is the EC Caddis pattern, particularly for faster water. My favorite is our Rock Rollerby far, although I'll pair with most stages, but I like the Sparkle Pupa Emerger and the AP Emerger.
Blue Winged Olive Pairing
Our Blue Winged Olive Hi Float is typically my go to for the dun. It floats up high and is visible...for a BWO. Depending on the conditions, I may us a Parachute BWO. This admittedly is not my first choice. While the parachute makes it more visible to me, it also does to the trout too, and the natural has no white coloring.
I'll often pair it up with an RS2. This is a simple, yet highly effective pattern for selective trout. When trout a being picky, most times, less is more.
Pale Morning Dun Pairing
Now, just the opposite of the BWO's, I like the parachute version of the PMD. The white coloring is very prevalent on the natural, often times being the dominant color. The other option I like is the Hi Flote version. It is designed to ride high and can handle a dropper very well.
My favorite fly to pair up here is the Humpback Emerger.
Green Drake Pairing
I love me some green drakes. I really do. It seems when trout are on this pattern, they absolutely crush them. More importantly to this eyesight challenged guy, the bugs are big and I don't need cheaters to tie them on!
There are so many patterns I really like, the Fanwing being one of them. I also really like Trina's Green Drake Carnage. More and more I've been putting on the Missing Link. It's buggy, looks great, rides great and just plain works.
There are a number of different nymph and emerger patterns that can hang with this bad boy. Personally, I like the Caped Avenger. It's a fantastic all around pattern that's just as much an attractor pattern than anything specific. I also don't think you can go wrong with the Atomic Mayfly Nymph. I've caught a ton of fish off this pattern. It is super buggy as well and has brought countless fish to the net.
While not a life cycle pattern, I find small ants very effective when trout are picky. I've found that they will come off a hatch to pick one up. I really like our CDC Cinnamon pattern. I will normally pair this up with a purple pheasant tail. Trout just seem to like purple....and P-tails are ridiculously versatile.
Tight Lines and Screaming Drags