It’s an iconic image that’s featured amidst many people’s Northern cabin decor: a fishing lure featuring feathery tufts that represent the wings of an insect. This icon of fly fishing is a type of lure called a “dry fly.” Fly anglers use dry flies to imitate insects hatching on the top of rivers. The trout cannot resist.
But that’s not the only way to fly fish and trout aren’t the only kind of fish you can fool with a fly. Rivers aren’t the only place you can fly fish. And dry flies aren’t the only kind of tackle you can use.
Sure, an angler’s fly box is comprised of a large number of surface flies. But tucked away in there might also be flies that imitate all stages of a bug’s life, as well as flies that look like little baitfish, frogs, and even mice to satiate the appetite of the biggest bass and trout in the lake or river. Each of these types of flies is used in a different part of the water column–and even in different bodies of water. Let’s start from the bottom of the water column and work our way up.
Dry flies imitate the adult stage of a fly. A good trout hatch consists of a single species of fly hatching at the same time. Trout do most of their feeding along the bottom of rivers, but a good hatch will move them to the surface of the water. One of the earliest spring hatches on trout streams is called the Hendrickson (a type of mayfly) hatch. Mayflies are unusual in that they only live about a day after they become adults. The adult insects don’t even have mouth parts: they don’t live long enough to eat. But trout do.
Dry flies usually consist of a soft body with tufts of feathers or fur tied to resemble wings. Anglers target trout that are feeding in a consistent pattern, which you can see by viewing the rings their mouths are making on the surface of the water. Drift your fly over the lane in which your targeted fish is feeding and you may hook it. You’ll be in for a ride.
For a particularly good time, use flies that resemble spiders, ants, or other terrestrial critters during the bluegill’s spawning time in lakes and ponds. Bluegill are eager eaters, and bigger bluegill can be a fun fight on a fly rod.
Looking for the correct fishing pole to use check out a previous article here.
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