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EntomanJanuary 20th, 2012, 4:58 pm
Site Editor
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Jere -

Aspirin? You'd need a power drill to relieve the pressure!:)

I haven't read Mike's book, but I'm hoping he was simply positing a reasonably plausible theory as to what occurs when the fly is successful. To intimate that an angler can do it intentionally implies a level of skill that can only be described as extreme hyperbole. Let me know how determining the precise location of the edge of a particular fishes window works out for you.:)LOL

BTW - Did Mike ever give Quigley credit in print for his "Lawson's PMD Cripple?"

Just asking...

"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman
DoublespeyJanuary 20th, 2012, 5:34 pm
Posts: 61He has given lots of credit to other anglers from Marinaro to Whitlock, and he brings up Hat Creek, and Fall Creek several times, but, I am only at about a 1/3 of the book. His motion thing is of course for individual fish you are targeting, and know the depth of water they are in being able to determine the size of their window, and provide motion that results in surface disturbance prior to the fly entering the window, and he suggests that IF you want to impart motion. The book is very interesting reading, and the knowledge he has gained from early childhood learning the habits, and ways of trout are enlightening, and lots of it based, and verified by the works of other anglers. His observations of a trout's dominance in a pool, for example not being based on size alone, and what has been his observations are interesting. His experiences with anglers, and their opinions on patterns while running a fly shop on the Henry's fork is interesting, and some very good photography in his book. Bottomline is why I tend to fish the freestoners, and often pass on those Spring Creek frustrations.
EntomanJanuary 20th, 2012, 7:16 pm
Site Editor
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
He has given lots of credit to other anglers

Oh, I'm sure he has. In followup to the post I made before it, I thought pointing out the vagaries of design authorship would add to the discussion. Debates over fly design and "who was responsible for what" are almost as old as our sport and an interesting way to enjoy a Winter's afternoon. Mike Lawson was only referenced because of the topic and your mention of his book. Any other resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental.;)

and know the depth of water they are in being able to determine the size of their window

There's the rub, Jere. The difference of angle and depth has a dramatic effect on the windows size and location. Even if one could judge the depth of a fish that precisely, Fish turn their heads, move and change depth constantly. The window is not necessarily a certain dish sized plate fixed in size and location. Unless the fish is very still (which means it is resting or sulking), the window is constantly moving about and growing or shrinking. Trying to present your fly so that it twitches just outside it is at best only a rough approximation bordering on pure luck in most instances. Refraction is another problem posed to us in making such a determination.

For me, I try to get my flies to drift in the lane where I mark the rise, but even those often move around. What I've noticed is the shallower the fish the narrower and more stable the lane, usually. This poses a real problem for poor casters, but I prefer the situation as it means the fish are less prone to being spooked by presentations and more consistent in rise location. I'll move a fly to insure it's location in the lane, usually well before where I think the window might be, but the key is to make sure the fly is drifting as dead as possible through the area of the rise. Unless I think they'll take or want a moving fly of course.
"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman
DoublespeyJanuary 20th, 2012, 8:34 pm
Posts: 61Haven't read all of your post yet, but that is why I said through observation of a certain feeding fish you could guess the depth of his lie, and make a general determination of the size of his window. That is why I said given the depth because I know the window changes in size., but angle??? I don't follow that one. The fish takes his window around with him wherever he goes, and is always 97 degrees. Anyway, I don't think Lawson meant that to be an exact thing just stating that if you feel the fly needs motion do it where you think it is outside his window. He's really not an exact science guy, and rejects the attempt at using exact science regarding fly angling, as they often don't work in practice. His deal is to take bits an pieces of insect development let's say, and use what works, and don't get to carried away with the scientific end of it. And on your note on moving, feeding fish. I have had some fun times trying to figure out where a big fish will be next. Not being successful all the time either, just a real fun exercise in futility sometimes. And you are right, it is often in deeper water it happened.
EntomanJanuary 21st, 2012, 12:49 am
Site Editor
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
I know the window changes in size., but angle??? I don't follow that one.

Well, the window changes in size and also moves around quite a bit. If the fish turns to the right so does the window. If the fishes drops the window grows larger, if it rises it grows smaller. As a fish feeds and moves around the window is all over the place, in both size and location. As I said, it is rarely static unless the fish is resting or sulking.
"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman
DoublespeyJanuary 21st, 2012, 2:45 am
Posts: 61
OK I was canting the angle. I knew it moved around, and changed in size. Mike even states that he might select to cast on a fishes right eye side lets say, or present the fly on the fishes rt eye side, IF the sun is strong, and from the fishes left. He sees the fly better away from the intense sun...I've got some practicing to do I can see, and some aspirin to take.
EntomanJanuary 21st, 2012, 4:15 pm
Site Editor
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Yeah, "angle" was a poor choice of words on my part. Sorry for the confusion.:)
"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman
EntomanJanuary 21st, 2012, 5:44 pm
Site Editor
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
And you are right, it is often in deeper water it happened.

To clear up a bit more confusion, I was referring to the depth the fish were holding, not the depth of water. It is quite common for trout to hold as shallow as a foot or so (sometimes even shallower) when they're really on the peck, even in deep water. Some of their feeding lanes can shrink to just a few inches in these cases.
"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman
PaulRobertsJanuary 22nd, 2012, 12:11 pm
Colorado

Posts: 1776
The "sudden inch" -wasn't that LaFontaine? Or Wright, or... I mean who DID invent the dry fly twitch :) . I'm guessing it was just as likely some farm kid who chased bluegills a lot.

There are spots, with associated surface conditions, where twitching is impossible without inducing drag immediately after. Where it is easiest is on still water -every bluegill or bass bugger does it. All you need is a tight line. Add current and drag-shy trout, and its a tougher game. It's easiest to twitch on slow laminar flow, and the further upstream from the fish you are so you can feed slack to the fly if the rise doesn't come. Pick your fish, or you WILL need aspirin.

Twitching doesn't have to happen exactly before the window, it just has to be visible in the mirror, and there is some leeway there, esp with deeper fish. The deeper they are the larger the view of the surface -window and mirror.

It can be tough to judge proper distance to a fish's lane too, due to refraction; The further away and/or deeper the fish is, the greater the distortion. When I was teaching FF camps on the Delaware (where one might have to cover a riser a ways off) I would tell anglers to picture the trout in a box, and that you want to fish to the box top, not its side which novices often did and would fall short.

WbranchJanuary 22nd, 2012, 6:53 pm
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2482
"The "sudden inch" -wasn't that LaFontaine? Or Wright, or... I mean who DID invent the dry fly twitch :) ."

Leonard Wright "Fishing the Dry Fly as a Living Insect" - I think that is the title. I bought it new in 1974?? Whenever it came out as a 1st edition. Sold it last spring - never caught a fish on the "sudden inch". Anyone ever catch a trout by jigging the fly once in a while?
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
AfishinadoJanuary 23rd, 2012, 7:50 am
SE PA

Posts: 67
"The "sudden inch" -wasn't that LaFontaine? Or Wright, or... I mean who DID invent the dry fly twitch :) ."

Leonard Wright "Fishing the Dry Fly as a Living Insect" - I think that is the title. I bought it new in 1974?? Whenever it came out as a 1st edition. Sold it last spring - never caught a fish on the "sudden inch". Anyone ever catch a trout by jigging the fly once in a while?



LOL..many times Wbranch, and on the W branch. I too bought the book way back when. Animating your fly may work with a lot of hatches, but one of the insects that stick in my mind are March Browns. They are often active on the water. I even fish MBs with some Catskill ties since they sit higher on the water riding on the tail and hackle, and thus can animated better than patterns that ride in the film. As most D River FFers have learned, a downstream presentation to risers often works best. I nearly always try dead-drifting my dry to a riser first. If after a few good drifts I can't get a particular riser to take, I'll twitch my fly lightly on the edge of the trout's window (where I perceive or guess it to be). No take, I wait for another rise to confirm I didn't spook the fish, and try again a little closer. Many times the "sudden inch" takes a fish where a dead drift is ignored. My theory, given that the fish in the D are highly pressured, is movement = food (not fake).

Shoulda kept the book WB!...lol
DoublespeyJanuary 23rd, 2012, 9:27 am
Posts: 61Entoman...No he did not give credit to Quigley. He ties, and fishes some patterns without giving credit to the originators, but a lot of them he does. His no hackle, duck quill wing. He mentions Richards and Swisher as originating the no hackle, duck quill wing pattern,but Lawson is given credit for his no hackle by most all anglers. I use the small duck wing feathers that are tough, and hold together well, and repel water. His half back, that was abdomen, and schuck nymph, and thorax the PMD color he described its creation with a very interesting story...being invited to fish with Rene'Harrop, and Doug Swisher on Nelson's Spring Creek. Gist of the story was all anglers did well when the PMD hatch started in the AM then all were humbled as the trout turned off to anything that they switched to...story goes a long tying session in the motel room that nite, and Lawson's halfback was born. Lawson described himself as the novice, and the listener asking lots of questions that nite. Lawson gives credit to the Comparadun to Caucci and Nastasi, but Craig Mathews seems to be the one that gets all the credit for the pattern.. Probably just because of the schuck tail. An outstanding book IMO. Excellent antidotes that go with patterns, good pictures, and a lot of Mike's speculation based on lots of fishing and his observance growing up on Spring Creeks. His accounts of bug activity based on his fly shop aqaurium, and contact with others like his business partner, Gary L. regarding insect development provides lots of room for thought.
DoublespeyJanuary 23rd, 2012, 9:31 am
Posts: 61
On the twitch front. I get way to twitchy if I don't bring along some Schnapps for my coffie.
PaulRobertsJanuary 23rd, 2012, 12:31 pm
Colorado

Posts: 1776
I too twitched MB's, and I did it with large hackled Comparaduns. I did this on both large and smaller waters. On small waters it didn't take a blanket hatch of the naturals to get the better fish to recognize them. It was really fun "bass-bugging" to the better trout in the better pools. I could move fast and cover water. And strikes could throw water.

Most of my twitching/"sudden inching" was done on bigger waters like the Big -D, Beaverkill, and one memorable trip to the Gunnison. As I mentioned above it's easier to twitch on large spans of laminar flow, and on big slower fertile waters I'm more apt to find a specific fish to work on, where a twitch might need to be resorted to.

On the Gunnison trip I stumbled on a dense Brachycentrus egg-laying event in which lotsa naturals were flopping around on the surface. There a twitched and skated fly worked much better than a dead-drifted one, simply bc the twitched fly drew the trout's attention. Because of the depth of this stretch of river I couldn’t often position the way I’d like to twitch –from upstream. So I had to use a VERY buoyant fly and a fine dry tippet. Luckily the water was just turbulent and shadowed just enough I could get away with some drag; The trick was to control that drag into short skates and twitches. It was a bit tricky but great fun. The game ended when my last super-buoyant caddis was finally soaked through.

Another time I brought a group of apprentices to the Willowemoc and we came to a very flat pond-like stretch, full of trout. Water was a bit low so the trout were consolidated. There were so many I at first thought a hatchery truck had just visited! But those clean-finned browns were spooky and disinterested in everything. And we couldn't catch em -except with a twitched fly. My friend figure it out (I’d headed up to the head riff where things would be easier) using 7X tippet and “sudden inching” a small fly (don’t remember which one).

To twitch a dry fly most effectively a very buoyant fly and a fine (supple) floating tippet help a lot.

I also twitched nymphs and wets in a number of situations to great effect with trout and steelhead. It can be anything from similar to twitching a dry (where you don’t want to drag the fly or at least make it look tethered), to short aggressive movements in front of the fish. But that starts slipping OT I suppose…
OldredbarnJanuary 23rd, 2012, 2:43 pm
Novi, MI

Posts: 2589
I have touched on this here before, but I have a guide friend who gave me the "Three D's of Drake Fishing"..."Do Drag Drakes!"

We were fishing the N Branch of the Au Sable below Lovell's. We actually had some daytime hatching Brown Drakes and he was not too happy with me for fishing a tiny Sulpher, which were also coming off. After lunch I switched and we had one hell of a nice evening with zillions of spinners dancing at head level as we rolled downstream.

When we would come upon some feeding fish he would stop the boat quite a bit upstream and I would make these un-godly long casts and would mend my line like a sewing machine down to where they were feeding...He didn't want to spook these nicer fish with any noise from the boat (Though the Au Sable boat has no motor and is fairly quiet, any thump, or if the chains are being used, could push some lateral line pressure through the water and he felt that they would become hip to our presence)...After a few passes over them and no hook ups he gave me the Three D's...

Brown Drakes are a fairly large bug and not too graceful when trying to shed their ectoskeleton...He had me impart a minor twitch when I thought I was over them and Bam! Fish On! He was giving me a little hell for my float being a bit too drag free...:) Then he gave me the L Wright line about these critters being "a living animated thing" etc...

I agree with everyone above that said that it's not always easy to pull off and if you over do it you probably will just end up having to move on, since you put down the fish...It is a very fine line between a natural looking interest sparker and an obvious fraud! If you see a blast of bubbles as your fly moved over the target and think you just heard an archaic form of german laughter...You know two things, 1) Brown Trout, 2) You goofed! :)

Spence

To follow up a bit on Paul's comments about caddis...I had a nickname years back, given to me by my smart-ass mentor, as Mr. Skitter-er...We would skitter Elk Hair caddis by high rodding them across the riffles at the edge of a pool/slick...Then drop the rod and let it float...Little Brookies would nearly shit themselves and would hammer our flies...We had a version of a smallish caddis up on the N Branch we called the N Branch Popcorn Caddis...They would pop around trying to deposit their eggs and actually appear to hit the water surface with some force and intent...Just like them little shits would do with our imitations...:)

An aside: Am I the only one who has ever seen small brook trout actually leave the water and hit the fly on their way back down? Do Brook Trout play???;)
"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
PaulRobertsJanuary 23rd, 2012, 6:18 pm
Colorado

Posts: 1776
Spence, when we were kids we used to catch rock bass and smallmouths from the Erie Canal during Potamanthus activity by tearing the white collar from our shirts, impaling them in the middle on a hook creating two floppy wings. We'd dap them on the surface from the high walls vibrating the rod tip and making the "wings" flutter on the surface. It worked really well.

Am I the only one who has ever seen small brook trout actually leave the water and hit the fly on their way back down? Do Brook Trout play???;)

I've seen it too. No they aren't playing, they just happen to be small enough that they can afford (in good temperatures) to expend energy in capturing food. Similar I suppose to those 14" browns "smashing" those big hackled Comparaduns for MB's. Worth the effort. The airborne part though I think has to do with size, as small browns and 'bows will go airborne at times too.

Here's a clip (describing feeding brookies) from my trip report "High Country Gems":
...The trout were at full attention, some on the drift, others cruising side coves for hatching duns. And they’d chase the little duns as they bumbled across the smooth surface. Some eager trout leapt clear and were surprisingly good at aerial capture: The duns wings were backlit, a trout would leap, and the wings would vanish. Very cool! I shot some video of them, waiting for a dun to lift off, then start the camera rolling. Some duns were strong and gained altitude quickly, others stumbled across the surface and the trout were on em. I taped a brookie catching a dun in mid-air.

OldredbarnJanuary 24th, 2012, 12:19 am
Novi, MI

Posts: 2589
I've seen it too. No they aren't playing, they just happen to be small enough that they can afford (in good temperatures) to expend energy in capturing food.


Paul,

Do you think these fish may have adapted a strategy for not letting the bug get away? When these little guys left the water and turned downward, they were in fact above the fly that naturally was trying to get airbourne. They intercepted it in its path of escape. What looked like play to me was as deadly as a pack of wolves working together in Yellowstone to bring down dinner.

Spence

Fly tying group met tonight...Bird's Nest & some obscure fly ;) called the Copper John...Ever heard of it? :)

The first time I remember really paying attention to the Copper John was in 2004 when I took that horse back trip up to the third meadow of Slough Creek...I was in hyper-dry-fly-mode...and for good reason, and I met some of the guys in the group from out west and they all had these Copper Johns.

I still think I out fished those western boys...;) Ha!

"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
PaulRobertsJanuary 24th, 2012, 11:54 am
Colorado

Posts: 1776
All fish that have survived to maturity have adaptive strategies for not letting prey get away :) .

I don't know what exactly is going on with brookies and leaping. But I've noticed it as something possibly .. "special". Whether it's unique to brookies I can't say, as again, small bows and browns do it too, but ... Off the top of my head it seems that there is a difference, and I don't know whether it's inherent in the species or just habitat related. Jumping brookies were commonly subjects of early angling art and I used to think that was just the artist's fancy. The jacket of my copy of Bergman's "Trout" shows a brookie leaping clear after, and possibly coming down on, a mayfly.

I'm going to guess it's just size related. ??

OldredbarnJanuary 24th, 2012, 12:41 pm
Novi, MI

Posts: 2589
I'm going to guess it's just size related. ??


Ok...So we can't say that they are just damn happy to be alive then...;)

When I was little I played with my food as well, no doubt!

Spence
"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
PaulRobertsJanuary 24th, 2012, 1:11 pm
Colorado

Posts: 1776
Very amusing. However I'm sure you realize that in brookies that "little" does not mean "young". Mature brookies at 7+inches will leap after bugs, but mature browns at >10" won't. So...I wonder if >10" brookies leap after food? I don't think I've seen that. How about on food factories like tailwaters?

Anyway...looks like we are sufficiently OT. A new thread perhaps..
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