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> > Is it dries or do you fish wets?

SofthackleMarch 27th, 2007, 11:43 am
Site Editor
Wellsville, NY

Posts: 540
I have, for the majority of my fly fishing life, been a wet fly fisherman. It started years ago when I was learning. It seemed wet flies were easier. Later I discovered this was not necessarily true.

I love fishing wets, both soft-hackles and regular winged wets, and I was wondering how many, here, still utilize the wet-fly? (While I consider nymphs wet flies, I believe they are highly specialzed wets for imitating a particular stage in fly development. I'm do not discount them, but I'm speaking, here, of wet flies as mentioned.) Is fishing dry your main interest?

"I have the highest respect for the skilled wet-fly fisherman, as he has mastered an art of very great difficulty." Edward R. Hewitt

Flymphs, Soft-hackles and Spiders:
GONZOMarch 27th, 2007, 1:33 pm
Site Editor
"Bear Swamp," PA

Posts: 1681
Hi Mark,

No dry-fly purist here. Except in the smallest streams, or when a fish invites the dry, I fish mostly wet. I fully understand your affection for soft hackles and other (more or less traditional) wets. Even when matching the hatch, dry-fly fishing is only one component of that process for me.

But, I recognize the allure of dry-fly fishing, and I am not immune to it. Just for fun, I'll share this very old Ray Bergman warning about the dry-fly addiction:
...the dry-fly game is an insidious one. It creeps upon you unawares, and unless you fight the tendency you will eventually fish no other way.

Dry-fly fishing was the hot new thing in Bergman's time. That he could see past the overwhelming hype to the inherent limitations of the technique was one of his most prescient insights. :)
TroutnutMarch 27th, 2007, 2:16 pm
Bellevue, WA

Posts: 2723
I use wets a lot more than most fishermen. (And by wets I'm not counting nymphs or streamers, which I probably don't use often enough.) I think my learning to fly fish in northwest Wisconsin has something to do with it. The Namekagon is a beautiful river for a trio of wet flies, and it's heavy with caddisflies and some mayfly species which lend themselves to wet fly fishing. It's also a relatively difficult river to prospect with other methods, because its wide, shallow nature means the fish often hold in hard-to-predict places. Nothing covers ground like a trio of wets.
Jason Neuswanger, Ph.D.
Troutnut and salmonid ecologist
RleePMarch 27th, 2007, 2:18 pm
NW PA - Pennsylvania's Glacial Pothole Wonderland

Posts: 398
Hi Mark..

I'll readily admit to fishing on top as a matter of preference and I'll also readily admit to being doomed to catching (generally..) smaller fish as a result. I fish quite a bit underneath as well, probably 40% of the time. Often, I'll set out to only fish nymphs or wets during any given stream outing and I can usually hold my discipline until I see a fish rise....:)

These days, I don't really fish enough streams of size to employ classic wet fly tactics very often, but I do fish soft hackles and other wets fairly often by swinging them through small runs and pockets on a lot of the streams I fish.

It's very effective and I should do it more. And I would if the damn fish would stop rising...
SofthackleMarch 27th, 2007, 2:54 pm
Site Editor
Wellsville, NY

Posts: 540
Interesting responses so far. Lloyd, from your postings, here, I kind of thought you might be a wet-fly person. Jason, that river sounds like a great spot for wet flies. Lee, I sympathize with you. It is difficult for everyone to fish wet when trout are taking at the surface. Ever try a soft-hackle in the film or just below? It is very much like dry fly fishing.

Anyone have a favorite wet fly that does well for them?

"I have the highest respect for the skilled wet-fly fisherman, as he has mastered an art of very great difficulty." Edward R. Hewitt

Flymphs, Soft-hackles and Spiders:
GONZOMarch 27th, 2007, 3:39 pm
Site Editor
"Bear Swamp," PA

Posts: 1681
It's kind of a boring choice, I suppose, but a yellow-bodied soft hackle with a partridge hackle is hard to beat. It's suggestive of a number of things from caddisfly pupae to sulphur emergers, and that general suggestiveness combined with nice contrast and movement make it a great fly. As a youth, my affection for the old Royal Coachman wet probably paralleled Jason's love of the Royal Wulff. I even managed to do well with it on heavily pressured streams by tying it small with a calf-tail hair-wing on a gold hook! :)
Shawnny3March 27th, 2007, 3:44 pm
Pleasant Gap, PA

Posts: 1197
I fish wet except when I'm getting skunked and the fish are rising hard, and only after I've tried every wet technique I can think of. When I do fish dry, I've mostly disciplined myself to doing so only under very specific conditions and with techniques very specific to the water I'm covering. I used to fish dries almost exclusively, and they worked reasonably well when I was just starting out, fishing the small streams Jason's been fishing in Ithaca. Dries still hold a hypnotic power over me, but I have learned to mostly rebel against their magic in the interest of catching fish. On bigger waters with more runs, it's virtually all nymphing for me. Sadly, I have never fished soft-hackles, although a fly I've invented and often fish has a maribou collar that is similar to a soft-hackle. I never fish streamers in a stream unless I'm extremely desperate, and then after about 10 minutes I usually find myself heading back to the car wishing for my 10 minutes back.

Jewelry-Quality Artistic Salmon Flies, by Shawn Davis
DiscoduckMarch 27th, 2007, 4:11 pm
Sparks Maryland

Posts: 1
i like catching fish, so ill use what ever method is working at the time, iv even been known to use blue gill flies with metal spinners on them.

often times if im catching fish one way ill switch to another method mabey a wetfly or a bugger, and see if i can catch fish that way. i prefer dries when they are affective, and if i get on em with a dry i wont quit that till they aint on that fly no more
JADMarch 28th, 2007, 7:02 pm
Alexandria Pa

Posts: 362

Hello Mark this is John

I fish mostly under the surface Nymphs thanks to you ill be trying those soft hackles you suggested. I'm all tried up and ready to go this spring , between your Flymphs and Lloyds emergers the fish in Central Pa are in for a bad time. Ha Ha

Your friend

They fasten red (crimson red) wool around a hook, and fix onto the wool two feathers which grow under a cockís wattles, and which in colour are like wax.
Radcliffe's Fishing from the Earliest Times,
SofthackleMarch 29th, 2007, 3:59 am
Site Editor
Wellsville, NY

Posts: 540
Hi John,
Hope all is well with you. It sounds as if you are ready. I think everyone is ready and chomping at the bit. What better way to start the season than throwing some wets, perhaps in multiple sets. Watch out for doubles. Let me know how you are doing.

Your choice doesn't sound boring at all. It sounds very wise and knowledgeable. Nothing like something simple and yellow.

"I have the highest respect for the skilled wet-fly fisherman, as he has mastered an art of very great difficulty." Edward R. Hewitt

Flymphs, Soft-hackles and Spiders:
GONZOMarch 29th, 2007, 10:50 am
Site Editor
"Bear Swamp," PA

Posts: 1681
Thanks, Mark. I think Jason's point about the ability to cover water with wet flies is a really good one. Anyone who gets frustrated by the lack of rises or the Zen-like focus and thoroughness that nymph fishing requires should really give a "trey" of wets a try!

Hi John! It's GREAT to hear that you're fit and ready for another season. (I worried that all those pesky steelhead might have worn you out.) You and Louis and I have some plans to make if we're going to catch the grannoms. And I promise to get those pupae patterns to you, one way or the other! :)
JADMarch 29th, 2007, 4:40 pm
Alexandria Pa

Posts: 362

Hello every one
Lloyd it would be my pleasure, I was just thinking it would be fun just to net the fish that you guys catch. One of the best fishing days that I ever had I guided two friends on the Missouri River all I did was row the boat, but I remember every fish they caught.

As for the Grannons I never could catch fish on that hatch I used to fish Oil Creek doing that hatch and was lucky to catch a single fish and would thank the fish gods for that. But I'm willing to take lessons, Ill sure have two good teachers.
It was a good year for steel head I'm still catching them we got a break in that cold snap.

Well have a good night

John Dunn

They fasten red (crimson red) wool around a hook, and fix onto the wool two feathers which grow under a cockís wattles, and which in colour are like wax.
Radcliffe's Fishing from the Earliest Times,
MartinlfApril 2nd, 2007, 5:44 am
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3157
Hi John, I caught tons of fish on the J on Grannoms last year, so if I haven't forgotten how to do it, we should be in for some good fishing this year. Just have to catch them at the right time. I have flies for you too, waiting in a box. PM me your address and I'll see what I can do about a shipment.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
GreyghostApril 12th, 2007, 5:23 pm
Wisconsin The Driftless region

Posts: 10
Carry dry flys in case they want them but most of the time wets streamers nymphs and such work much better...
Greyghost the legend the man

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