On the Fly ...

With rising temperatures the last 2 days, I been itching to wet a line ... grabbed the 5-weight and headed-out to a local pond.  Not a bad day on the water, despite the water and wind conditions.  Managed to hook into 10 crappies (ranging from 11 to 13 inches) and 4 largemouth bass (ranging from 12 to 14 inches) on Molly Mouses (size 10) using a strip, strip, strip, pause and repeat retrieve.  Most of the strikes came on the strip and hits were aggressive.  See you on the water and tight lines.

Weather conditions - low 60's, cloudy sky, 12 to 15 mph southwest winds
Water conditions - stained, ~2 feed above normal level


Late morning, on the fly ...

Not a bad day on the water, despite the weather (a 5 degree drop in temperature and an on / off light drizzle) managed to hooked-up on 5 rainbow trout.  All of the fish were caught on Clouser Minnow (size 10), Olive / White and release.

Conditions - Mid-40's, 5 to 7 mph northwest winds, Overcast with light drizzle; Water - Slightly stained, ~2 feet above normal level


Pond Hopping for Bluegills

Early Spring / Pre-Spawn

Northwest Indiana Spring Gill
When the water temperature reaches the low 50's and continues to climb, the fly angler has an excellent opportunity to hook-up on bluegills.  They will start staging in shallow water to feed on insects, hatching fry and the eggs of other nesting fish.  Despite being active and in a positive feeding mood, they can be easily spooked ... a cautious approach and a good presentation is critical.

The larger gills will relate and position themselves close to structure (steep breakline, weedline, dead submerged timber) with access to deeper water ... even better yet, the structure is close proximity to a spawning flat.

My setup consists of a 3-weight fly rod (or a 4-weight, if the wind is uncooperative), matching weight forward line, and 4X leader with a 5X fluorcarbon tippet (9 to 10 feet overall length).  For fly selection, my perference is nymph patterns - Teeny Nymph (sizes 10 and 12), Hare's Ear Nymph (sizes 14 and 16), Pheasant Tail Nymph (sizes 14 and 16), and Zug Bug (sizes 12 and 14).  If I don't get a strike on the drop, I will incorporate a slow hand-twist retrieve to keep the fly at the targeted depth without allowing it to sink down to the bottom.


Hook - TMC 200R / Sizes - 6 to 12
Beadhead - Gold
Thread - Black
Weight - Lead-free Wire
Tail - Black Turkey Biots
Rib - Black V-Rib
Abdomen - Black Life Cycle Dubbing
Legs - Black Round Rubber
Wingcase - Turkey Tail (tied in 3
sections & treated with Fleximent)
Throax - Black Life Cycle Dubbing
Antennae - Black Turkey Biots
Collar - Black Life Cycle Dubbing

Stonefly Nymph and Steelhead

As the steelhead navigates their way up our Northwest Indiana's Lake Michigan tributaries (spring, fall and winter runs), a proven technique for hooking-up is drifting a stonefly nymph along the seams / edges of soft water created by structure (such as a rock pile, submerged island, bottom depression, fallen timber) that provides relief from the current for these fish.  Five key components of nymphing to be successful are ...
  • Get your nymph down to the fish.  Every so often, your nymph should be bumping the bottom - the depth and current speed will dictate how high up on the leader to set the indicator and whether it necessary to add weight (split shot, putty).
  • A drag free drift is a must to trigger the strike.  Your nymph needs to appear drifting naturally and freely moving into the fish's line of sight and strike zone.
  • During the drift, keep slack line to a minimum.  Having some slack line is necessary, allowing the indicator to drift freely.
  • Watch your strike indicator throughout the drift.
  • Strike immediately if you see the indicator starts to dip, stop or change direction.  When striking immediately, do so lightly to avoid pulling the nymph out of the fish's mouth or snapping your tippet.



Just chilling out on the Vise ...

Effective flies, like effective lingerie should be slightly
transparent, minimalistic, pretty and discardable.

Teach a man to fly fish and tie ... and
he will play with his fly all day.

Click here to view more of Andy's ties (with recipes)

Starling & Orange ... (size 16 shown)

Hook - TMC 100 (standard dry fly)
Sizes - 14 to 20
Thread - Orange
Abdomen - Tying Thread
Thorax - Hare's Ear Dubbing
Hackle - Starling (2 complete turns)
Head - Tying Thread

A classic wet fly pattern.  When faced with unfavorable conditions and the fish are in a negative mood, this is a great pattern to tie on ... it screams, "Bite Me.".


Pheasant Tail Nymph (size 12 shown)

Hook - TMC 3761 / Sizes - 10 to 18
Thread - Dark Brown
Tail - Pheasant Tail Fibers
Rib - Gold Wire (counter-wrapped, to hold and protect the abdomen's pheasant tail fibers)
Abdomen - Pheasant Tail Fibers
Wingcase - Pheasant Tail Fibers
Thorax - Peacock Herls
Legs - Pheasant Tail Fibers used to form the wingcase are pulled back and secured
Head - Tying Thread and Cemented


Line & Lure conditioner is the Reel Deal ...
Since the spring of 2012, I have been using Line & Lure on my fly lines, leaders, tippets, dry flies, and bass bugs.  Its preformance has been "two thumbs-up".  Cleaning and coating my fly line with this conditioner reduces the line-to-guide friction, repels debris which increases line control (improved casting accuracy, line speed and distance), better line floatability (easier line mending and improved fly presentation).  On leaders and tippets, they float higher and cleaner.  Dressing dry flies and bass bugs with Line & Lure has proven to be a major plus - they ride higher and longer than other dressings that I have used in the past.  Therefore, I spend less time drying / re-dressing my fly and more time fishing.  Also, using Line & Lure on my sunglasses adds a scratch resistant and dust repelling coating - along with, reducing glare and miinimizes water spotting.

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