Tag Archives: dry flies

My Five Favorite Flies for Falling Water in the Mountain Trout Streams

My Five Favorite Flies for Falling Water in the Mountain Trout Streams

The mountain trout streams are dropping but the levels are still full so I use some dry flies and some nymphs. I still prefer coming into the heads of the streams from the trailheads I discussed in my books, Virginia Blue-Ribbon Streams and Trout Fishing in the Shenandoah National Park.
My favorite dry flies are the Murray’s Brown Drake size 14, Mr. Rapidan Black Delta Wing Caddis size 14 and Mr. Rapidan Parachute size 14.
An effective technique which is ideal in this water level is to attach one of these dry flies to a Murray’s Classic 7.5 foot 5X Leader. Then attach a Mr. Rapidan Bead Head Nymph size 14 or a Murray’s Dark Miracle Stonefly Nymph size 14 to a twenty four inch 5X dropper below the dry fly.

Splashy Presentations

Splashy Presentations Blog- Murray’s Fly Shop- Edinburg, Virginia

In order to solve the problem of splashy presentations when you are fishing dry flies for trout ,just aim higher. Act like you are casting your fly to land on a coffee table a foot over the stream. This is very easy to achieve and it allows the dry fly to settle gently onto the stream.

Murray’s Fly Shop
Harry Murray
PO Box 156
121 South Main Street
Edinburg, Virginia 22824
Phone Number: 540-984-4212
Email Address: info@murraysflyshop.com
Website: www.murraysflyshop.com

Murray’s Liquid Dry Fly Floatant

Murray's 4 ounce Liquid Dry Fly Floatant.
Murray’s 4 ounce Liquid Dry Fly Floatant.
Murray's 1 ounce Liquid Dry Fly Floatant
Murray’s 1 ounce Liquid Dry Fly Floatant
Murray's Dry Fly Floatant with Holder.
Murray’s Dry Fly Floatant with Holder.

I make this in my fly shop with special ingredients in order to achieve the three most important functions I believe we need in a dry fly floatant. This cleans, drys and waterproofs a dry fly all in one step.
Some anglers soak the dry flies they plan to use in this solution for ten minutes a day or two before they are going fishing in order to build a semi-waterproof coating on each fly.

Tailing Dry Flies

Murray's Sulphur Dry
Murray’s Sulphur Dry

Many years ago I used to tie my dry flies with thick clumps of spade hackle and could not explain why I got many refusals from rising trout. It finally dawned on me that I was using way too many hackle fibers in the tail.  I had been using so many that it possibly looked like part of the fly’s body to the trout. Even though I may have been tying a dry fly on a size 14 hook which matched the natural insects, by the time I tied in a very thick clump of tail hackle fibers, my fly looked like a size 10 to the trout.
I now use only enough spade hackle or straight moose body hair for my dry fly tails to help float my flies and my catch is greatly improved.

Dubbing for Fly Bodies

Fly Rite is on the left and Hare's Ear Natural Fur Blend is on the right.
Fly Rite is on the left and Hare’s Ear Natural Fur Blend is on the right.
  • For dry flies I like to use a very fine poly blend of dubbing material such as Fly Rite 34 on the left which I use on my Mr. Rapidan Dry Flies. This material is very fine, making it easy to dub flies as small as a size 24 with a smoothly tapered body. It is lighter than water and is does not adsorb water thus producing a high floating dry fly. This comes in many colors and is inexpensive.
  • For nymphs and pupa I like to dub blends of natural furs because these produce buggy looking insect bodies. Counter wrapping these bodies with gold, silver, copper or olive wire produces a neatly segmented tapered fly body. However, if you wind the same ribbing materials with a forward motion you can produce an insect body with translucent living appearance.

Dry Fly Cleaning

Dry flies that have become mashed or dirty can be brought back to excellent condition by steaming them very carefully over a hot tea kettle with long forceps... very , very carefully.
Dry flies that have become mashed or dirty can be brought back to excellent condition by steaming them very carefully over a hot teakettle with long forceps… very , very carefully.
Ice
Ice

Dry flies that are coated with old floatant that have matted hackles can easily be brought back to life by carefully steaming them over the stream of a teakettle spout. Be very careful when doing this because you can get a bad burn from this hot steam. I use very long tweezers or a tea strainer but I am still very careful.  Set your revived flies aside, well spaced out for two days, then you can return them to your fly boxes.

Blend Your Dubbing

Mr. Rapidan Dry Fly Murray's Fly Shop Virginia - Blending dubbing
In the old days I had to dye and blend the dubbing for my Mr. Rapidan Dry Fly. Today fly rite number 34 is perfect.

Fly Tying Tip: Need dubbing material for fly tying? Blend your own custom colored dubbing to meet your fly tying needs.

I am a great believer in blending my dubbing materials for dry flies and nymphs. For example, when I first developed the Mr. Rapidan Dry Fly, about thirty years ago, I wanted it to have a body color which matched that of the Epeorus pleuralis adult mayfly. There was no dubbing material, either synthetic or natural fur, which matched this insect so I had to blend my own dubbing to get the mottled tannish-yellowish-olive body of the real mayfly. After much blending with various colors I camp up with the perfect mixture.
You can easily blend natural furs and fine diameter synthetics in order to get the exact color you desire. I especially like Australian Opossum, Mink, Beaver, Muskrat, Hare’s Ear and very fine synthetics. If you are tying nymphs leave some of the guard hairs in the natural furs, if your fly tying calls for dry flies remove most of the guard hairs. If I am tying only a few flies I will often blend the materials with two fine tooth combs. If I am tying a large number of flies I use a food blender or coffee grinder to mix the furs after wiping it down well with a fabric softener sheet to lessen static buildup.  Next week I cover dying fly tying materials.

Tying a Deer Hair Bass Bug

In my fly tying classes I teach how to tie flies for both trout and bass. These include dry flies, nymphs, streamers and deer hair bass bugs.
In my fly tying classes I teach how to tie flies for both trout and bass. These include dry flies, nymphs, streamers and deer hair bass bugs.

When I teach my winter fly tying classes, the beginning fly tyers are amazed how quickly they learn to tie great deer hair bass bugs. I teach this with two simple rules, (1) Be sure to clean out all of the short hair and fuzz from each pinch of deer hair before you tie it on and (2) Keep a bare hook shank ahead of each pinch of deer hair you tie on.

This two hour class will teach you how to tie drys, nymphs,  streamers and deer hair bass bugs.  We do not supply the materials, you can purchase a fly tying kit from us or watch!

Fly Tying Classes for 2015-2016
November 21, 2015                         10:00 am- 12:00 pm
January 23, 2016                               10:00 am- 12:00 pm
February 27, 2016                             10:00 am- 12:00 pm

Dry Fly Refusal

Trout Fly Fishing Murray's Fly Shop VA
Many trout fly refusals can be overcome by using slightly smaller flies and getting drag free drifts.

Many trout refusals of dry flies result from one of two problems which can be easily corrected. First the fly may be too large for his liking. Here we simply switch to a smaller fly.  A dragging dry fly is another cause for refusals. Here a slack line cast, or a different presentation position, or a different presentation angle or dropping your dry fly closer to the trout’s feeding station will enable the dry fly to drift naturally and the trout will take it solidly.

Trick Him

There is some aquatic grass drifting on the stream and even though there is a good hatch on, the large trout before you seems to feed mainly on the duns that are drifting amid the drifting grass. Every time you cast to him your fly lands in the grass. Then for a few seconds he moves over to the edge of the grass and takes three duns. Now is your chance. Quickly cast your fly two feet upstream in that open current and you will probably take him.

Don’t Shoot into the Covey

When your dog goes on point and you put up a covey of quail you seldom hit anything if you blast into the covey. You are much more successful if you pick out a specific bird and aim carefully to drop that one, then go to the second bird. This also holds true if you try casting into a pod of rising trout because you usually get drag before a specific trout sees your fly. A more successful tactic is to pick out a specific trout and present your fly accurately to that fish.

Drys in the Dark

Yes, you can fish dry flies when it is getting so dark that you can not see the fish take your dry fly. Since you must be aware of the strikes in order to set the hooks the easiest way to do this is to fish down and across stream with a tight line so you can feel the strike. I do this when fishing for smallmouths during the white fly hatch, hexagenia hatch and caddisfly hatch. It also works for trout on these hatches if the stream is large enough for a downstream approach not to scare the trout. It’s a great trout technique with the Neversink Skate like Ed Shenk’s ties.