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I am fairly new at flyfishing and I am trying to set up my flybox. I am hoping to get some input as to what flies people would stock as their 'standard' setup for western streams. (rs-2's, adams, copper johns, elk-hair caddis, etc) size, color and frequency of use would be greatly appreciated!!

bt
 

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Hi BT,

The flies you mentioned are great! I also keep some san juan worms, pheasant tails, hares ears, prince nymphs, wooly buggers, brassies - all about 16s and smaller (with the exception of the wooly bugger which I like from sz 6-12 in various colors). Stone fly nymphs also have their place as well as egg patterns. Keep the same patterns in beadhead for deeper/faster water. The dries I keep are almost exclusively adams and elk hair caddis. I also like some smallish emerger patterns (emerger patterns are tied so that the abdomen/tail hangs below the surface film while the wings/thorax are in the surface film) in tan, grays, green in sz 16-20. I hope this gives you a good start. There are guys on this forum that are fly fishing geniuses and really know what they are doing. I suspect eventually there will be a fly fishing get-together and you can meet up with some of the folks that know the tricks for the various rivers and they can give you some great advice. But time spent on the river is time well spent. Watch what the fish are doing.

Jeff
 

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Your choices above are great. My rule is there is always a San Juan worm on my line. Don't forget Blue Winged Olives and Pale morning duns. Keep everything on the smallish side.
 

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Im with Silicone Boy....i fish a San Juan as lead fly on colorado tailwaters 90 percent of the time when i am nymphing...its a good choice and ive had a lot of luck with it.

Dont forget your basic scud selection....amber and olive in sizes 14-18s...thats another great fly to have on a dual setup above a midge of your choice.

Brassies, RS2s, Copper Johns, miracle nymphs, black beauties, hares ears and tube midges are good flies...as you suggested. i cant think of any one "super fly" to have, if anyone hears of one let me know. the key is presentation, no matter what fly you fish. My advice is pick several variations and colors of one pattern, and get at least 1/2 dozen of each if you can afford it. I feel naked if i only have one or two of a specific pattern, that usually ends up to be the one you catch fish on and you dont want to be caught short, especially if you drove 3 hours to fish that day....

Once you build up your fly collection make yourself another smaller "emergency" box you keep on you at all times...this way you always have at least some of your favorite patterns handy if need be (or if your buddy runs out...)

I also break down my patterns into specific types of fishing or bodies of water....i have tailwater boxes, high mountain lakes boxes, streamer boxes, North Platte boxes and stillwater boxes...to name a few. i could go on and on, but you get the idea ;)
 

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I would stock up on Woollybuggers, damsel nymph, hares ears, adams, bwo, cromies, griffiths nat , pheasant tails, WD40s, brassies, scuds, and egg paterns. I normally have good success on these flys in the spring. I use smaller sizes for the rivers and larger sizes when stillwater ffishing.
 

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I'm one of those guys who can never have enough flies on me.  I usually carry about 6 boxes each of which is packed full.  If the frequency of which I use an RS2 is based on my box, then it's probably my go to fly.  I dedicate an enitre box to every style and size of  RS2's imaginable. I have another box dedicated towards all sorts of midge pupa and larva patterns.  My other boxes are a nymph box--scuds, pt's, princies, barrs emergers, caddis pupa, caddis larva stone fly nymphs etc.  Another box is my point fly box.  I have this box loaded with hothead leaches, orange scuds, white scuds, eggs, rainbow warriors, sanjuans etc.  I then have a dry fly box which I try to keep to one box, but it often times becomes 2.  In there I have all the caddis, mayfly, stonefly and midge variations you could think of. My final box is my streamer box.  Lots of zonkers, double bunnies, etc.  Haha yea, and I have about equal amount of boxes for pike, bass and carp as well...what can I say, Im a fly guy 
 

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Depends on the season and the river. I have a winter box full of small stuff - midges, midge larvae, rs 2s, wd 40s, pheasant tails, bwo dries and emergers. All of these are 16 and smaller, with most being in the 18-22 range. My spring box has larger flies - 14-16 caddis and caddis pupae, barred emergers, bwo, larger pheasant tails both with and without beadheads, princes up to size 12, and stonefly nymphs in 10 and 12. My summer box is full of terrestrials, stimulators, a few larger nymph patterns like hares ears and pheasant tails (can you tell I love pheasant tails?), and a few wooly worms, san juans, etc. For fall, I go with most of the same patterns, but start to transition to my winter box depending on the water temp. My go to fly? In winter, an RS2, pheasant tail, midge larvae, CDC midge, or grizzly midge, all in 18-22. Spring? Peacock caddis, green caddis pupae BH, BWO, pheasant tail or poly trico spinner. Summer? Big stimulator, gold with red tail with a gold ice dropper, or hopper. Fall? soft hackle pheasant tail, hoppers on warm days, stimulators, or beadhead hares ear.
 

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This is predictably getting out of hand, which is why I suppose Rim Chung came out with the RS2 series. Too many choices, so it's nice that you have 1 fly that looks like a midge pupa/emerger. One fly for all purposes. I can just hear him say (with a Korean accent) "no other fly necessary". Unfortunately, I haven't had much luck with them.
 

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I do believe i saw him fishing once, if it was infact Mr Chung i talked to...fishing nothing but RS2s on the South Platte...its a great fly, im surprised you havnt done too well with it Silicone....
 

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That was him for sure, because it's the only fly he has in his posession, albeit in every size from 14-26 and in every color possible. As far as my success with it, I just need more time in the water. My most productive flys have been the glo bug and the san juan worm, which are not flys in the purest sense.
 

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Yeah, that was him...i had an inkling it was, and i was almost ashamed to be fishing a scud and a brassie at that particular time...but i dont think he noticed.

I actually dont fish RS2s that much either...not because they dont work, but its just one of those patterns i never really tried fishing too hard. i have about a 100 in my boxes though...along with about 30 other patterns that i never fish ;)
 

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Yes, all the flies previously mentioned are great and should be in every box.

That being said, if you really want to get to the absolute heart of flyfishing and its traditions, google the following:

"Soft Hackle Flies"
"Partridge and Orange"
"Flymphs"
"Jim Leisenring" (read his book--get it from the library)
"Sylvester Nemes" (read his book--get it from the library)
"Partridge Fly Tying"

I have been flyfishing since 1977 and, while I will still use the other flies with regularity, the understanding of what the soft hackles are all about.... the *movement* of living insects in artificial form.... just. makes. me. giddy.

And it will you, also.
 
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Two years ago one of the tiers at the TU clinic showed me how to tie an rs2. I couldn't believe that this simple little dubbed fly w/a shot of cdc on top could catch anything. That fly has totally changed me! I have every fly imaginable, but now I almost exclusively use an rs2, usually a gray or green will do anywhere I fish. Size 20-24 work well. I'll usually put a tiny midge nymph on as a dropper but the rs2 always seems to take the fish. O0
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I really appreciate all of the helpful info. I have started tying rs-2's in lots of different colors because they are so easy.

I still struggle with nymphing...maybe it is the lack of visual. I am just never very confident that i am fishing the right fly, at the right level, in the right place, to the right fish. Seeing the different fly settups people use helps me to feel a bit more confident about what i am doing.

I am reading Ed Engle's small flies book right now, and look forward to checking out the other suggestions soon.
 

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daedalus said:
I really appreciate all of the helpful info.  I have started tying rs-2's in lots of different colors because they are so easy. 

I still struggle with nymphing...maybe it is the lack of visual.  I am just never very confident that i am fishing the right fly, at the right level, in the right place, to the right fish. Seeing the different fly settups people use helps me to feel a bit more confident about what i am doing. 

I am reading Ed Engle's small flies book right now, and look forward to checking out the other suggestions soon.
If you are having problems nymphing try fishing over fish you can see...sight fishing helps you figure out exactly how the fish will respond to your presentation and fly setup. the South Platte is a good river to try this on, as its fairly shallow and spotting fish there is fairly easy. I can understand the whole "confidence" thing, it takes awhile to really be confident in your ability and gear if you are still new to the sport. Plus, theres the whole mental aspect of the game...i find that i usually dont do that well if i am fishing a new fly that i am not sure about, or trying a technique that is new to me. Watch how the fish behave around your fly as it passes them, and work on obtaining the proper depth and drift once you get in right position to start fishing. stealth is very important, as well as watching the fish to determine if they are feeding or acting spooky because they know you are there. a spooked fish might not depart the area, sometimes they just lock up or sit on the bottom of the river and wont feed. a fish that is higher up in the water column and actively moving from side to side or up and down taking midges is the one you will want to target. start with a shallow water rig (light split shot and strike indicator only 6 or 8 feet from your weight), this will be easier to cast and also easier to manipulate in the water. I also would use a 2 fly setup, with a scud or san juan worm that is easy to see while it is drifting. When it passes the fish watch how it reacts...if it moves towards your fly be ready for it to take, if it always moves away then you might want to consider downsizing your tippet/leader/fly combo or changing flies all together. Work on your drift, and try not to mend when your flies or indicator is in close proximity of the fish...you dont want to spook them with unneccisary movement. Stealth is key when you sightfish, so dont be scared to get on your knees or use bushes or rocks for cover to help you stay hidden. if a fish wont take, move on to the next, but come back to that fish at a later time and it might be feeding.
 

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RStrouts- Great advice, but let me add one more book - Nymph Fishing for Larger Trout by Charles Brooks. It an excellent read with lots of good advice.
 

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Hi,

Rim Chung mentioned to me that Pat Dorsey (The Blue Quill Angler, Evergreen, CO)
was thinking of asking him to give a presentation on how to tie the RS2. I've seen
Rim at such presentations and he can be asked pretty much any question on
tying or technique. If you gentlemen are interested, then perhaps you can
contact the above mentioned fly shop and encourage Pat to schedule the presentation
soon.

I'm sure you won't regret going.

Regards
Ferenc
 
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