Dry Flies For Mountain Streams

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Dry Flies For Mountain Streams

By: Jacob Noteboom

Fishing dries in small creeks that can darn near be jumped over is one of my favorite activities this time of year. Any of these smaller streams and creeks that have water all year, probably have fish. A lot of these fish don’t see many flies and have a somewhat short growing season, this makes for a great opportunity to raise them to a dry fly. Although the size class of these fish may be smaller, these fish definitely eat like they’re trying to change that. Takes will often be aggressive and splashy, which makes for a great time for novice fisherman.

Patterns: When it comes to fly choice, I like to have a good mix of attractor patterns and terrestrials. There is a fantastic mix of aquatic insects and their land walking cousins on the menu for trout this time of year, and in smaller streams, fish tend to be less selective on what they eat. This means if you fish a well presented fly to feeding fish, it will probably get eaten. When people come in and ask what fly to use on small streams I tell them, “Whichever fly you think will look best in the fish picture!” All jokes aside, I’m confident in fishing a majority of attractor patterns such as a High vis parachute, or a classic Royal coachman. If you’re a novice or have issues with sight, you may prefer a larger profile foam body fly like Larimer’s yellow sally, or the Parachute Humpy. Don’t stress too much about fly choice though, presentation is arguably much more important.

How to fish dries in streams: When I’m fishing an area of a stream, I like to hit it with 3 different presentations;

  • Dead drift. Be it upstream or downstream, the dead drift is one of the most effective ways to fish a dry.
  • Twitch drift. The twitch drift is very similar to a dead drift with the addition of small strips or twitches. This replicates a bug having trouble regaining flight, or ovapositing on the surface. This will require a good amount of floatant as stripping dries under tension will sink your dry if not treated properly with a good floatant.
  • Skated Swing. Cast across and downstream on a tight line with a high riding dry to create a constant surface disturbance sure to entice a wicked take. Small fish often send their whole bodies skyward in effort to catch the fleeing prey. You can also come to a swing after a dead drift presentation.

These are some of my favorite patterns and techniques for dry fly fishing Mountain Streams, for more tips or info, feel free to give us a call. Tight lines, -Jacob.

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