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Discussion Starter #1
ok, so after some initial success, I have fallen into the realm of skunk-o-rama. I'm not sure what to do and all I have had are problems with wind, snagging trees, losing flies, tangling my leader, etc.

My casting is improving greatly after dealing with all these trials but I am not catching fish. I pretty sure I'm reading the water correctly and have a decent presentation at least some of the time but...nothing.

How important is time of day? Is the morning/ evening much more productive than sunny/ hot midday hours? I am asking because I have had my successes in twilight hours with fish coming into shallow riffles and such. Will they hide out in deeper areas during the day and be less active?

What about fishing pressure...do heavily pressured areas produce smarter/warier fish?

I have mainly been throwing dry flies so that I can see what I'm doing and work on presentation, I'm not sure what to do with nymphs at this point, although I have used them a little. They don't seem to get down to the bottom and I don't know about trying to cast the split shot/ nymph combo at this point.

I feel compeletly clueless and want to pull all my hair out (if I had any)
Any comments would be helpful. I have been fishing the Poudre and Big Thompson so far in pretty well traveled areas. I think the first thing I need to do is take a couple days off.
 

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My advice is keep at it---dont give up just yet! if your casting is decent, at least you have the hard part figured out so now you can just concentrate on catching fish. this time of year the flows should be coming down and the water should be clearing up so the fishing should be getting better. if you are fishing the Big T or Poudre i would spend alot of time perhaps looking for fish before you start fishing. a lot of stretches on both of those rivers can be tough and seemingly barren of fish, but if you keep walking or drive up a little further you will find them eventually. avoid the camp ground areas and look for the smaller less obvious pull offs...these will get less pressure and provide you with better fishing. cloudy warmer days are best, or early morning or evening (thats my personal favorite) you will discover that if it is the middle of the day and clear out catching fish can be down right impossible--so, you might want to wait it out or just practice spotting fish (with your polarized glasses---a must) because its tough to catch trout when under these conditions. fly fishing requires a more delicate presentation that fishing with lets say spinners or plugs---the fish will often look at your fly for several moments before finally taking it, and can often be extremely wary and picky. this being as it is you need to keep a few things in mind---staying low and hidden, approaching fish cautiously and out of thier sight (without making alot fo noise or commotion), and making sure your fly drifts as naturally as possible. also you will want to make sure you are using the right fly for the job. my advice is talk to a few fly shops about fly selection for the piece of water you are fishing, and also (as corny as it sounds) grab a few books on the subject of flyfishing or at least borrow a few videos on beginning flyfishing from you local flyshop. you will be surprised at how much you can learn. feel free to PM me if you have any more questions.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks so much for that insight! It makes me feel like I'm at least on the right track. I have read several books of flyfishing (a couple times through) and watched a video or two. I am not the type to give things up easily so I will stay at it and try your suggestions and will likely take you up on the PM. thanks again
 
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Hey farmer ted. Got a few words of advice for ya. First, simple, don't believe everything you read in books and don't be closed minded in your flyfishing. Its not all Brad Pitt swinging stoneflys.
Second, learn to fish your nymphs. A few tips. First off set your strike indicator one and a half the depth of the water you are fishing. This will ensure you are bouncing the bottom. And one thing i learned tossing flys for Salmon is, set on everything, even if it is just the bottom of the river. Put your split shot about eight inches to a foot in front of your first nymph. Just a few words of advice. Learning to fish nymphs is crucial for your success as a flyangler.
As far as time of day, depends on whats hatching or not hatching that day. I personally like to fish all day....LOL(not married). Again, learning to fish your nymphs will ensure success all day. Because nymphs are there when the adults are dead and gone.
Pressure(very interesting subject among flyfisherman), hmmmm, lets take an example from both sides. The dream stream(platte between Spinney and Elevenmile) gets beat up everyday by sometimes as many as 20 anglers(most i have ever seen) in a 3 mile stretch of water, yet large fish are suprisingly easy to catch, even the brownies. The Laramie gets little angling pressure, while it is fished by Colorado anglers, the presence of other great water around the area makes most people pass her by. The browns in the Laramie i swear to god, all have PHd's in fake fly recognization. So it varys.
Dont get discouraged and keep that hair in your scalp.
Good fishing( with nymphs) LOL
 

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Farmer Ted,

Since you just started you have a ways to go. It is safe to say that there is probably a two year learing curve until you start to figure things out and catch fish on a regular basis. Trout feed sub surface 85% of the time so Nymphing should be your go to method unless you see fish surfacing or know a good hatch has been going on and the fish are looking up for dry flies. You definitely need to learn how to cast nymphs with weight, and believe me you will thwap your self in the back of the head many times before you get the hang of it, it hurts. The depth and speed of the water will determine how much weight you need to get to the bottom. If you are fishing a hole where you can get a long drift then you could get away with less weight because the flies will have time to get down, but if you are fishing a deep pocket with only a few feet drift then you probably want to use more weight to get it down. I generally use a leader length at least as long as my rod (between indicator and weight), but it all depends on how deep you are fishing. A general rule of thumb is that you want your leader to be twice the depth of the water you are fishing, but as you know you move around alot and you are not going to keep adjusting the length of your leader. Time of day does play an important part in feeding activity, but the bite can be great at dusk or dawn one day or week and then the bite will be best mid day the next. These are things you notice after fishing for a while. Another thing to think about is fish movement. During spring and early summer the fish will be holding in slower water close to shore due to run off and as the water comes down and warms up the fish will start to stage up in good holding water such as faster runs and pocket water due to water temp and oxygen content. Then during winter you will find most fish to be holding in the slowest, deepest water because the water is cold and the fish are pretty sluggish, they don't have the energy to stay in faster water, plus I think the deeper, slower water is more comfortable temperature wise. In winter you can find a deep hole and sit there all day and catch fish. Get out on the soccer field and practice casting as much as possible. I've been fly fishing for about 12 years now and I still hook bushes, get tangles, and get frustrated at times, but that is just part of it. Keep it up and you will learn. Good Luck!
 

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Farmer, these guys are on the money with nymphing! dry flies are fun, but rarely are they effective- matching hatch. Have fun with it, and like previously said, we all catch a bush from time to time! :D
 

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Dry flies are fun but....... I catch most of my fish using the following bugs bead head hares ear, copper johns, bh Prince, wd-40, pheasant tail, and hares ear. Most of them b/t 16 and 20 in size. You do not need to spend 2 dollars a bug. I think Ganders and Outdoor Warehouse have them for under a dollar. These are just the basics as you move forward your one fy box will not be enough! I hope this helps.
 

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You can always try a two fly rig - something like a hooper with a dropper - depending on where you fish. I tie in the second fly at the eye of the dry and then run a good 2' of tippet to the dropper which is usually a beadhead to get it below the surface. Be careful casting the two fly rig - be sure to keep the loop open so you don't frustrate yourself even further with more knots. This is a very productive technique once you master it so it's well worth the effort.

Good luck!
 
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Rip and hell fish are right, i got a buddy that has been flyfishing longer than i have been alive. The Blackfoot tribe in Montana gave him a tribal name....."make knot bigger". If 26 years flyfishing gets you a name like that, than i wouldn't worry too much about bushes and tangles. I have finally got it down to one tangle a trip(average). Only took me five years.
CO makes a good point, the hopper dropper rig is deadly. I usually tie my dropper onto the bend of the hook. But, six of one, half dozen of the other.
The two fly rig is also effective when nymphing. One of my favs for the platte(any stretch) is a san juan up front with a copper john coming of the back.Experiment.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks so much for all your info again. Another Question:

If I use the Hopper/ Dropper rig, Im guessing I can use any type of terrestrial (hopper) with a bead head nymph attached (dropper) .

Can I also assume that I can use this in place of the nymph/ split shot method and use the hopper as a strike indicator? Or should I learn both methods to be most productive?

I have also heard of using a very large bead head nymph in place of the split shot and a smaller nymph trailing for the fish. has anyone tried this method?

I'm also figuring that unless I see trout rising or during an obvious hatch, I should probably stick to nymphs unless I want to throw a dry terrestrial and take my chances.

Things are starting to make more sense...any more comments would be welcome.
 

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The hopper would be your strike indicator unless it gets gulped first.

Always use either moldable lead (see previous thread on this topic) or splitshot in conjunction with nymphs. Don't rely on the beadheads to get down deep enough, quick enough, even the tungsten heads. This was a tough lesson for my son to learn. Often we were rigged the same but I had on more weight and fished it deeper (more lead) and hooked up with fish while he was drifting the same flies right over their heads. Try more weight and adjust the indicator for deeper runs until you consistently drag (not snag) bottom. If this is happening and still no takes, then change flies.

Hope this helps. Good luck.
 

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All suggestions and information provided so far has been spot-on in my experience. So spend the next year or two becoming a zen-master nymph fisherman and reap the benefits. . .you will start catching loads of fish! One day you will come to a point where staring at your indicator just isn't fun any more and you will be ready for the next phase: Streamer Fishing!! I've just gotten into it the past couple years and oh boy!! The fun is back in my fishing. Big flies, 6wt rods, heavy tippet, and big fish. There are a few books on the subject, check out Kelly Galloup's book Modern Streamers for Trophy Trout . . .covers a lot of how-to.

I clearly remember being where you are on the learning curve . . .stick with it. Improvement only comes with time on the water.

TP
 

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I agree with you Troutpockets. Second to seeing a trout take a dry fly there is nothing like the strike at a streamer. And by stripping it in you are at least doing something!

Hang in there Farmer Ted - you'll get it very soon. None of these forums were around when I was learning in Alaska over, um, 30 years ago.....
 

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I 've always dead drifted streamers-its just like drifting bait on a spinning rod!Just keep the fly just above the bottom and WHAM!Dont make it too complicated!
 

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farmer I fish the big T and poudre very often(2-3 afternoons a week) shoot me a PM and we can go fish. This goes for anyone else also. All the advice I read has been very acurate in my experence. Good Fishing.
BTW just got a 22" brown on the big t IN loveland. Its a weird feeling having to look back every cast so ya don't hook any bikers on the path. anyways don't overlook some town water.
 

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TROUT PIMP said:
farmer   I fish the big T and poudre very often(2-3 afternoons a week) shoot me a PM and we can go fish. This goes for anyone else also. All the advice I read has been very acurate in my experence. Good Fishing.
BTW  just got a 22" brown on the big t IN loveland. Its a weird feeling having to look back every cast so ya don't hook any bikers on the path. anyways don't overlook some town water.
Thats the truth...i remember fishing a lower section of Boulder Creek a few years back and catching a brown that was almost 24 inches...in water that would have normally been considered way too warm to hold any trout. Ive never fished the lower sections of the Big T, (but man, there are a lot of good looking areas down below the canyon) but i have hooked some surprising fish in lower areas of the Poudre...especially in the evening when the fish leave thier normal hiding spots. It pays to never rule anything out...
 

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Frustration and "Flyfishing 101" go hand in hand. Being a teacher, I tend to take a very practical approach to learning stuff. My first suggestion would be to forget about "casting" nymphs for now. Pick up a book or go online and read up on shortline nymphing. That is the easiest, most practical and deadliest way to fish nymphs. and the casting part is minimal. The next suggestion I would give you is to stick with one fly. Trust me,if you're still just learning this stuff, a two fly system will only add to your hair problems. You would think that two hooks means twice as many tangles. Well, it usually means ten times as many. You'll know when you're ready to tie on a second fly. Finally, remember that fly fishing is ALL about patience, patience and more patience. Slow down have fun. You've picked up a TON of great advice on this message board, good luck and remember not to turn into one of those snobby flyfishers once you start to outfish the rest of us.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Thanks Montano for the info on short line nymphing. This was a technique I had not heard of. I was able to find some online articles about it. It sounds like a good way to get some nymphing experience and also something to expand on in the future, I will try it out tomorrow.

Thanks to everyone else for all the insight and info, after 2 days off I am looking forward to my next day on the river. Fortunately (unfortunately?) for me I actually enjoy things with a long learning curve...it keeps me interested and involved and always looking to progress. I think it drives my wife nuts sometimes but she always supports me ;D.

Hopefully I will see some of you on the rivers someday and no need to worry, I will never become one of the 'snobby flyfishers' ...pretentions drive me crazy! I always strive to have both feet squarely planted on the ground.

Thanks again.
 

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Farmer ted,
I have felt just like you. I was getting so frustrated and not catching fish. I almost gave it up. But....my real problem was the lack of patience. I wanted get out and in the water fast. Cast fast, stomp through the river, etc.

Yesterday, I fished the middle fork of the south platte. Took my time, took 15-20 min. just looking for fish, and bugs under rocks, then practiced, slowly with a hopper/dropper and guess what...I caught fish. It was so much fun. I was with my son who was a guide and taught me to slow down, enjoy the art of fishing the science of fishing and the beauty of fishing. It is very different from spin casting or "heaven forbit" bait fishing. My advice, from one who is new to fly fishing, take time, enjoy the mountains the beauty, practice your presentations and you will catch fish.

Enjoy...Fishbum
 

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Farmer Ted,

I'm in the same boat, or at least i was until yesterday. I took up fly fishing last fall. I _thought_ I could cast well, etc, but I couldn't catch fish (except sunfish and the occasional small bass).

Yesterday I hired a guide and we fished the area under Georgetown Resevior. On the trip up the guide told me that I'll probably learn more in that day than in 1.5 years of messing around on my own-- and now that it's the next day I fully agree with him! If you have the money I highly recommend hiring a guide for a day. You can read all the books, surf the web, and watch lots of videos but there is absolutely no substitute to having a very knowledgeable _teacher_ show you how to do it. I say _teacher_ because these guys have lots of experience teaching people like you and I-- something that the "fishing guru friend of a friend" doesn't always know about.

I'll give a full report on my trip in a couple of days, after the pictures are developed. Until then let me give you some things that "suprised me":

- I always practiced casting in the 40 to 80 foot range. But on this trip all of my casts were less than 30 feet, with the majority of casts being about 14 feet (I.E., 7 feet of leader and 7 feet of line off of a 9 foot rod). In several cases I only had a foot of fly line out! Almost all casts were roll casts or side-arm casts.

- Almost all of the fish were caught less than 20 feet from my foot. And in many cases the fish was hooked less than 10 feet away (I.E., under the tip of my 9 foot rod)!

- Amber colored polarized glasses are best for spotting fish. I wouldn't have belived it until I tried it. My gray polarized glasses were sub-par!

- Many things (sensing the strike, spotting fish, etc) can only be learned from lots of experience.

- Trout are tougher to spook than what the fishing videos/shows would make you think.

- Nymph fishing is where the majority of trout will be caught, but don't count out dry flys and streamers. All three (nymphs, drys, and streamers) require different techniques, methods of casting, and ways of approching things.

- Don't set the hook on a 2" trout as if you had a 15" bass. That is, unless you want to see the rare Rocky Mountain Flying Trout.


Hope that helps!
 
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