Tag Archives: trout fly fishing

Set The Hook With A Slip Strike

Set The Hook With A Slip Strike Blog- Murray’s Fly Shop

When I am fishing trout streams such as Nelson’s in Montana where there are some large trout feeding on tiny flies, I set the hook with a “Slip Strike”. For example, I will often fish a size 24 Olive Dry when the trout are feeding on a pseudocloeon hatch. If they are especially hard to fool I will go to 7X.

My idea behind this strike is to hook the fish solidly. Then instantly reduce the pressure on the leader. I hold the line between my thumb & forefinger of my line hand as my fly is drifting to the trout. Then when the trout takes my fly, I set the hook with a gentle pull with my line hand. The instant I feel the resistance of the hook penetrating the trout’s jaw I release the grip on the line between my thumb and forefinger. This hooks the trout solidly and protects the fine tippet.

Fly Fishing in October Podcast

Fly Fishing in October Podcast by Harry Murray

Fly Fishing in October for trout

Since the brook trout are spawning in October, November, and December we feel it is not good to stress them by fishing for them even though we return them to the stream.

So let’s look at the nymph fishing tactics we use in large streams both in the Rockies and in the East.

I learned to fish nymphs from Charlie Brooks in the 1970’s and 1980’s in the streams around West Yellowstone,  Montana.  So in this months fly fishing podcast I want to discuss in detail the two tactics of Charlie’s that I use often.

  1. Upstream Dead Drift Fishing-  This technique relies on you seeing the strike therefore I rely heavily on my Bright Butt Leader and Scientific Anglers Indicators.
  2. Swing Nymphing– This technique is used on deeper runs where upstream dead drift nymphing is not possible.  Many beginners quickly  master this method because the strikes are detected by feeling the strike rather than seeing it.
Fly Fishing in October for Bass
Since October is considered a great time to catch large bass Harry discusses the flies and tactics which he finds productive.

Fly Fishing for Bass in October

Many of the old timers around Edinburg where I grew up in the 1950’s caught many of their largest bass of the year in October by using live bait such as Hog Suckers, Bluegills, and Darter Minnows.  Several years ago I designed my Magnum Streamer Series which both look and fish like a real minnow.  Today I will be discussing the Murray’s  Magnum Hog Sucker, Magnum Darter, and Magnum Bluegill and the best way to fish each.

If you need help finding the access places on the North and South Fork of the Shenandoah River, then stop by the fly shop and we can show you the best areas on our stores master map.

Fly Rod and Reel Resting Against a Tree

If you see a nice fly rod and reel resting against a tree at a popular access point and there is no other car close by, just leave it there. Eventually the owner will realize where he left it and he will come back to get it. If you find a rod and reel underwater in a river, take it to the closest tackle shop and tell them where you found it. Also write down the manufacturer and the serial number on the rod. Then call the manufacturer, they may have the owners name and address on record.

Fly Fishing in September

Harry Murray’s Fly Fishing in September Podcast

Trout Fly Fishing

Fly fishing in September can be tricky due to the low and clear water conditions. This months podcast I discuss how to improve your success when fishing dry flies for trout all across the country by using slack line casts so you don’t have drag.  Which casts am I using?

  • Puddle Cast
  • Lazy S Cast

If you are interested in learning more about fly casting, then check out our Fly Casting 101 Classes .
Upcoming Dates
Saturday, September 9 from 10a.m. to noon
Saturday, September 23 from 10a.m. to noon

September Fly Fishing for Bass
Some of my favorite fishing in September is on the Hexagenia Mayfly Hatch.

Bass Fly Fishing

I always get great smallmouth dry fly fishing in September during the Hexagenia Mayfly Hatch.  This month I discuss the tactics and fly patterns I use to take advantage of this hatch.

Hexagenia Mayfly Hatch
The natural Hexagenia Mayflies can be very plentiful on some smallmouth rivers in September and October at dusk and produce great dry fly fishing.

Fishing To Get Away From Crowds of Fly Fishing Anglers

Fishing To Get Away From Crowds of Fly Fishing Anglers Blog- Murray’s Fly Shop

There are several tactics I use when fishing to get away from crowds of fly fishing anglers.

(1) When fishing rivers the size of the Beaverkill at Horse Brook Run, I wade across the river and fish up the far side. This same ploy works well on the Madison River at Slide Inn where I wade across the river.

(2) On small mountain trout streams such as the Crazy Mountains in Montana or the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia, I hike in well away from the access points before I start fishing.

(3) Get to the streams at daylight or stay until dark.

(4) Avoid streams for several years which are written up in national magazines.

(5) Do not let rain or snow stop you from fishing.

(6) Enter the large rivers at the public access points but fish upstream.

Two or Three Nymph Rig Systems

Two or Three Nymph Rig Systems Blog- Murray’s Fly Shop

Charlie Brooks of West Yellowstone got me into fishing two or three nymph rig systems many years ago. These flies can easily become twisted with the regular casts so I cast these with a slow wide loop. Another method is to make your back cast low to the side. Then turn your wrist and make your forward cast in a higher plane. In low and out high.

Good Nymph Fisherman

Good Nymph Fly Fisherman Blog- Murray’s Fly Shop- Edinburg, Virginia

I have a friend who is an especially good nymph fisherman. Whether we are fishing the Madison River for browns or the Blue Ridge Mountains for brook trout, he catches many nice trout.  He does this by fishing nymphs upstream dead drift.
When watching him, I detect a common trait which is a landmark of many serious nymph anglers. That is, at some point in the last half of the drift he sets the hook on the majority of the casts. Does this mean he is getting this many strikes from trout? No, but when he is not getting a strike, he is bumping the streambottom with the nymph.
This tells me that we should all consider fishing out nymphs deeply with a natural drift.

The Best Five Flies for Fishing Large Trout Streams in the Summer & Fall

The Best Five Flies for Fishing Large Trout Streams in the Summer & Fall

I like to cover the spectrum of fly needs from drys to nymphs to streamers on the large streams during the Summer and Fall because these served me well last year.

Shenk’s Cricket Dry size 12
Dave’s Hopper size 10
Mr. Rapidan Streamer size 10
Murray’s Olive Strymph size 10
Mr. Rapidan Olive Soft Hackle Nymph size 14

I do well with the Dave’s Hopper and Shenk’s Cricket Dry fished along the shaded banks with a very gentle twitching action. The nymphs and streamers are very productive in the deep pools and in the deep pockets below the riffles.

The Murray’s Classic 9 foot 4X Leader is ideal for this fishing.

Wild Trout

Now that the streams are low and clear, my favorite way to catch wild trout is to spot them on their feeding stations in the stream. I then go one on one with each trout. Subtle “signals” are the easiest physical features to help us spot the trout.

These signals include:
– the trout’s slight movement
– the difference in the trout’s shape and the stones on the streambottom
-the contrast in color of the trout’s body and the streambottom and the trout’s shadow

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

Fly Fishing Questions & Answers Podcast

In this fly fishing questions and answers podcast, Harry Murray discusses some of the topics that you have asked through email and phone calls.

Topics discussed include:

Fishing Tricos
Ed Shenk is a master at  fishing trico dry flies on all trout streams.

Fly Fishing Smallmouth Bass Schools throughout the summer at Murray’s Fly Shop.

My Five Favorite Flies for High Water on Mountain Trout Streams

My Five Favorite Flies for High Water on Mountain Trout Streams

To find good trout fishing in the mountain streams  after a week of rain, I go into the heads of the streams from the Skyline Drive and Blue Ridge Parkway. I hike down a mile, then fish my way back up the mountain. Nymphs are very effective now. I use the Mr. Rapidan Bead Head Nymph size 12, Murray’s Professor Nymph size 14, Murray’s Dark Miracle Stonefly Nymph size 12, Murray’s Magic Tan Caddis Pupa size 12 and Mr. Rapidan Brown Soft Hackle Nymph size 12. I fish these all flies on Murray’s Trout Nymph 9 foot Leader. I rely strongly on these built in indicators to detect my strikes.

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

My Three Favorite Trout Leaders

My Three Favorite Trout Leaders- Murray’s Fly Shop

Here are my three favorite  trout leaders:

(1) Murray’s Classic Knotted Compound Tapered Hand Tied 7.5 foot long Leader. This leader is perfect for small trout streams.

(2) Murray’s Compound Tapered Knotted Hand Tied Nymph 9 foot Leader with a built in Scientific Anglers Indicator. This leader is ideal for nymph fishing.

(3) Murray’s Classic Hand Tied Compound Tapered 9 foot Leader. This is leader is excellent for all dry fly fishing and also streamer fly fishing on large streams.

The tippet size of these leaders is determined by the fly size using this formula:
Fly Size ÷ 3 = Tippet in X

An example is: size 12 fly ÷ 3 = 4X tippet

We also have the Murray’s Classic Leader 9 foot Leader in a 3 pack. These are regular price $15.75 but they are on sale for $10.99.

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

Fly Fishing Questions Podcast

Fly Fishing Questions & Answers Podcast–March 2017

In this fly fishing podcast, Harry Murray discusses the questions you have either emailed or phoned about within the last month.    He goes into details on how to spot the trout in the stream.  He discusses the importance of the hatch charts in predicting which aquatic insects will hatch at what times. He reveals his personal uses of the loop to loop line leader connection verses a needle knot connection.

Fly Fishing Questions Podcast
When fishing a sinking tip fly line for bass a roll cast pick up easily enables you to shoot your fly to the next target.

Next fly fishing workshop at Murray’s Fly Shop
Smallmouth Bass Fishing on the Shenandoah River–March 18
Fly Casting & Rigging–March 25 & April 8

 

 

Virginia Fly Fishing Podcast–March 2017

Fly Fishing Podcast Trout Fishing
The Epeorus pleuralis mayfly nymphs are very active in the mountain trout streams in March and fishing a Mr. Rapidan Bead Head Nymph size 14 on a Murray’s 9ft 5X Trout Nymph Leader with its special indicator system is very effective.

Virginia Fly Fishing Podcast by Harry Murray for March Trout and Smallmouth Bass Fishing

In this fly fishing podcast, Harry Murray discusses the Epeorus pleuralis mayfly hatch which occurs in March on the trout streams around the mid-Atlantic.  He will also discuss the best feeding stations in the pools, the most effective flies and the best tactics and leaders to use.
Flies: Mr. Rapidan Parachute Dry size 14, Blue Quill Dry size 16, and Mr. Rapidan Bead Head Nymph size 14

Fly Fishing Podcast for Smallmouth Bass
March is a great time to catch large bass that feed heavily on minnows in the back eddies.

Are you eager to get out on the river and fish for smallmouth bass?  The second portion of this fly fishing podcast, Harry discusses the specific locations in the rivers where you can catch bass at this time of the year.  He also discusses the most effective fly lines, leaders, and the most productive tactics to help you start off your bass fishing season.
Smallmouth Bass Flies: Murray’s Magnum Creek Chub size 4, Murray’s Magnum Darter size 4, Murray’s Magnum Hog Sucker size 4

Interested in learning about the smallmouth bass fishing?  Be sure to attend Harry Murray’s Fly Fishing Workshop on the Shenandoah River.  March 18 from 10a.m. to noon at Murray’s Fly Shop in Edinburg.

Loop Versus a Needle Knot

Loop Versus a Needle Knot Blog- Murray's Fly Shop- Edinburg, Virginia
I like to use a needle knot coated with thin coats of Pliobond for attaching my leader to the fly line on my delicate trout outfits because this slides through the guides very smoothly.

This week’s blog we will be discussing a Loop Versus a Needle Knot.

Most fly lines now come with a loop built into the forward part of the line. This is very convenient for connecting your leader with a loop to loop connection.  Therefore I use this on my seven weight smallmouth bass outfit. However, on my trout outfits for lines two to three in the East and lines four to six in the Rockies, I attach my leaders to the fly line with a needle knot. I coat these with three very thin coats of Pliobond. I prefer the needle knot on my lighter outfits. It slides through the guides easier than a loop to loop line connection.

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

Fool the Trico Feeder

Fool the Trico Feeder- Trout Fly Fishing- Murray's Fly Shop- Virginia
The Trico hatch brings up many large trout. I like to get to the stream early and stay late to catch the early and late feeders.

Today’s blog I will be discussing how to fool the Trico feeder.

I really enjoy fishing the Trico mayfly hatch all across the country. This hatch can be very heavy on some streams.

For example, one morning as I was fishing upstream, I came to a low-hanging limb of an oak tree. This limb had a fresh spider web that trapped many tricos. Holding my hand up beside the spider web and counting by tens I estimated that under the span of my hand there were two hundred trapped tricos.

At the peak of this hatch the trout are often very selective in requiring a drag-free drift and the pattern they will take. I have found an easy way to fool some of these tough trout. The best way is get to the stream an hour before the hatch starts. I also stay an hour after it is over.

The trout are much easier to catch when the Tricos are sparse at the beginning and end of the hatch.

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

Splash

Splash- Trout Fly Fishing- Murray's Fly Shop- Edinburg, Virginia
The natural cricket often falls onto the stream with a splash so presenting Shenk’s Cricket with a splash often brings solid strikes.

Today’s blog I will talk about how to present a fly so it lands on the stream with a slight splash.

From the middle of the summer until fall many trout feed heavily on terrestrial insects.  I experiment with various methods of fishing these from natural drifts to a twitching action to dapping. However, there is one type of presentation which often brings solid strikes from large trout when all other methods fail. This is presenting the fly so it lands on the stream with a slight splash. I assume the trout are attracted to an artificial fly which lands on the stream in this way because the trout are accustomed to feeding on natural beetles, wasp, hornets, grasshoppers and crickets which land on the stream with a splash.

This type delivery is easy to achieve by imparting a firm snap at the last moment when using a regular cast or a roll cast.

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

Five Best Winter Trout Flies for Large Streams

Five Best Winter Trout Flies for Large Streams
Many large trout feed heavily during the winter in the large streams.
Five Best Winter Trout Flies for Large Streams
Murray’s Black Marauder, Murray’s Pearl Marauder, Mr. Rapidan Dry, Murray’s Dark Miracle Stonefly Nymph and Mr. Rapidan Brown Soft Hackle Nymph.

Last year from January until March these were our five best winter trout flies for large streams.

Fishing these nymphs and streamers deeply in the pockets below the riffles and in the deep pools produce many large trout. I do well with the Mr. Rapidan Dry Fly by fishing it along the edges of the riffles where the trout enter the pools.

I fish the nymphs and streamers on a Murray’s Trout Nymph 9 foot 4X  Leader with the built in Scientific Anglers Indicators. I fish the dry fly on a Murray’s Classic 9 foot 4X Leader.

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

Caddisflies

Caddisflies Trout Fly Fishing- Murray's Fly Shop Edinburg, Virginia
One can often catch many trout with a Murray’s Magic Caddis Pupa as a dropper below a Mr. Rapidan Delta Wing Caddis when a caddis hatch is on.

There is a good hatch of caddisflies and you see several trout feeding in each pool. However, even though you try several dry caddisflies in different colors and sizes, you can’t seem to catch many trout.

What is the problem?

Many natural caddis pupa drift several feet just below the surface of the stream before breaking through to fly away as adults. Frequently it is difficult to discern if the trout are taking the emerging pupa or the adult. A good tactic to solve this problem is to fish a Mr. Rapidan Delta Wing Caddis on a Murray’s Classic 7.5 foot 5X Leader with a Murray’s Magic Caddis Pupa on a twenty four 6X mono dropper coming off the bend of the dry fly hook with an improved clinch knot. This way you will catch the pupa feeders and dry fly feeders.

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

Slack Line Casts

Ever since Vince Marinaro showed me his puddle cast here on the Letort, I have relied on it daily to achieve drag-free fly drifts.

I have come to rely strongly on Marinaro’s  “Puddle Cast” in order to achieve drag free dry fly drifts to fool the trout.
Even though I have been using this cast successfully for many years, ever since Vince showed me how to present it, just this year I have found many special situations in which it has helped me catch many trout that I would not have caught otherwise.
Basically the forward presentation is stopped about thirty degrees above the stream with extra line in the air than is needed to reach the target. The cast is stopped suddenly and the extra line is allowed to fall on the stream in a puddle.
I have been able to extrapolate the refinements of the puddle casts by altering the elevation and angle of the rod and the speed of the line on the presentation.

Primary Feeding Stations for Trout

Primary Feeding Stations Jeff Murray Murray's Fly Shop Virginia
Learning to identify the primary feeding stations in the streams is one of the most valuable things you can master.

Learning to find the primary feeding stations for trout is the most valuable thing an angler can learn.
The largest trout in the pool selects what I call the Primary Feeding Station. This location enables the trout to capture the maximum amount of food while expending the least amount of energy.
Experience on the stream will teach you to identify these with great accuracy. I saw my fishing partner prove this. He allowed himself only one cast into each pool on ten consecutive pools… He caught ten trout.

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

Fly Fishing Essentials- Must Haves

Fly Fishing Essentials- Must Haves Extra Fly Boxx Trout Fly Fishing Murray's Fly Shop
I always carry an extra fly box in my vest or chest pack just in case I loose my main fly box.

Fly fishing essentials- must haves include a variety of gear, an extra fly box is an easy one.
For my trout fishing I carry the flies I need for each trip in one small fly box in my chest pack. When doing this on the Armstrong last year I lost my main fly box and had to fish with those flies that were on my dry fly patch. Ever since that day I have carry a second small fly box with a dozen emergency flies in my chest pack.

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

The Angler’s Friend – Folstaf Wading Staff

Harry Murray Folstaf Wading Staff Smallmouth Bass Fly Fishing Virginia
My Folstaf Wading Staff is neatly folded only inches away from my right hand where I can quickly grab it when I need it.

I never head into any stream without my Folstaf Wading Staff.  Many anglers readily see the safety advantages of using a Wading Staff when fishing deep water.  However, if you do slip and fall into water which is waist deep you get wet. But remember if you fall down in water which is ankle deep, you can easily break bones. I have tested many different styles of wading staffs, but I like my Folstaff Wading Staff best of all because it is very durable and dependable.

Watch out video on our Folstaff Wading Staff, https://vine.co/v/MOQHwvt0gAg

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

Fly Casting Classes

Jeff Murray On The Stream Fly Fishing Schools Murray's Fly Shop Virignia
We teach the students in our schools all types of casts and how to use each cast in different situations.

In my Fly Casting and Rigging Tackle Classes and in my “On The Stream Fly Fishing Schools”, I find that most beginning anglers are more interested in learning to cast far than they are to cast well.
Long casts are great when you need them, but for most trout anglers accuracy and delicacy in fly placement are the main goals which spell success on the stream. When I show my students my “flip cast” and my “pendulum cast”, they are astounded with the accuracy in fly placement they can achieve. The ultimate reward which thrills them is the great number of wary trout they catch in this way.

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

Sink Tip Mini Lead Head

Instant Sink Tip Class III (4 feet)
Instant Sink Tip Class III

I used to make these out of lead core trolling line in many lengths from four inches to ten feet long. I whipped a loop on both ends.  Today I have settled for a four foot model. By inserting these into a regular leader with a loop-to-loop connection, you can fish streamers and nymphs to extra depths. These do not work as well nor cast as well as the Scientific Anglers Sonar Sink Tip III Fly Lines but they are an inexpensive substitute.

Scientific Anglers Indicators

Scientific Anglers Indicators
Scientific Anglers Indicators

Many years ago when I showed Howard West, an executive with Scientific Anglers, how I made these with old fly lines. He was very excited and offered to build a hollow version and put them on the market as Scientific Anglers Indicators.  Today it is my favorite indicator because it preforms many invaluable angling functions in addition to detecting strikes.  Some of these include being  a depth gauge when swing nymphing, tippet locator when using a back up drift streamer technique, fly-locator when fishing midges on long leaders, depth gauge when using the escape streamer technique and strike detector when using a dead drifting nymph technique.  Many of you who have taken my “On the Stream Schools” will be familiar with these ways of using the Scientific Anglers Indicators.

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.

Small Flies

Trico Female Spinner size 22
Trico Female Spinner size 22

In order to tie small delicate trout flies I hold the number of thread wraps to a minimum. The firmness of the wraps and not the number of wraps is what makes a fly durable. Also, experience has shown me our most effective small flies are tied very sparsely so I keep the number of components to a minimum. I also like to use out 8/0 thread or 6/0 thread.

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.

Durable Flies

Fly Tying with Murray's Head Cement.
Fly Tying with Murray’s Head Cement.

In order to improve the durability of my flies when I tie them, I like to place a mini-drop of head cement at each tie-in and tie-off spot as I add a new material. I find that a easy way to do this is to keep some head cement in a hypodermic needle and just place a mini-drop where I need it. In order to keep the cement from drying in the syringe and plugging the needle shut, I stick it in a cork between steps.

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.

Hen Saddles

Speckled Indian Hen Saddle
Speckled Indian Hen Saddle

Speckled Indian Hen Saddles are great for hackleing nymphs and soft hackles. They are dyed in many different colors, are inexpensive and you can tie hundreds of great flies with each saddle.
I like to keep this hackle sparse on my Mr. Rapidan Soft Hackle Nymph flies, Mr. Rapidan Bead Head Nymphs flies and all of my Murray’s Magic Caddis Pupa flies because I believe this conveys a realistic fly-action to the trout.

If you are interested in fly tying check out our fly tying classes we are offering in the winter.

Effective Streamers

Murray's Black Madtom Sculpin Streamer
Murray’s Black Madtom Sculpin Streamer

When you are designing a new streamer to match a specific minnow it is great to tie one that looks so much like the real minnow that it impresses your friends. However, when you are on the river fishing the fish appear to take the streamers which ACT like the real minnow they are accustomed to feeding on in that area. It is great when your new streamer looks like that specific minnow but for consistent success it is a must that your new fly ACT like the real minnow in the way it swims through the currents and darts for cover when it is chased by a fish. After a great deal of experimenting with materials and tying techniques, the Murray’s Madtom Sculpin Streamer evolved into a streamer which acts like a real minnow and the fish take quickly.  Check the prevalent minnows in your streams and see if you can developed an effective streamer.

Fly Fishing Questions & Answers Podcast August 2016

Jeff Fly Fishing Out West
“Reading the Water” for Jeff Murray is a 3 step process. 1) Where do I suspect the trout will hold? 2)Where do I present my fly? 3) Where do I position myself?

In this fly fishing podcast, Harry Murray discusses a broad variety of questions ranging from fishing small mountain trout streams to large western trout streams to river fishing for smallmouth bass.  Some of the topics covered include:

  • The value of satellite beacons.
  • Tying Streamers that sink properly
  • Good rod length for small mountain trout streams
  • Choosing the best leader
  • Catching a trout that refuses your first draft
  • Hiking into remote sections of the streams
  • Reading the water
  • Delicate fly presentations

Also be sure to check out our Fall Fly Fishing Guide before heading out on your next fishing trip.

2 hour Fly Fishing Workshops including fly casting, fly tying, etc. at Murray’s Fly Shop

Jeff fly fishing on the Armstrong
Only a delicate fly presentation on the Armstrong will fool the trout.

Hackle Cape and Saddle

Metz Grade 1 Brown Rooster Saddle and Metz Grade 1 Light Ginger Rooster Neck Cape.
Metz Grade 1 Brown Rooster Saddle and Metz Grade 1 Light Ginger Rooster Neck Cape.

This photo shows the difference between a Metz Grade 1 Light Ginger Rooster Neck Cape and a Metz Grade 1 Brown Rooster Saddle.
I like to use the Grade 1 Rooster Neck Capes for my trout dry flies because they help the flies float well, are easy to use and the Grade 1 has a great number of excellent quality small hackle for the smallest flies.
I use the saddles for streamers, large nymphs, a broad variety of smallmouth bass bugs and even the head hackle on my Mr. Rapidan Bass Skater Dry size 6. The best Saddles will have a fair number of hackle feathers along their sides for trout dry flies in sizes 12, 14 and a few as small as size 16. If you need to hackle flies smaller than size 16 a good Rooster Neck Cape will help you.

Match the ???

Adult Mayfly Dun Trout Fly Fishing Murray's Fly Shop VA
By matching the color and size of the natural insects you will do well.

Personally I enjoy entomology. I found that working with Art Flick in the sixties in order to identify the aquatic insects in Virginia very rewarding and it was the beginning of a very special friendship.
We now have many excellent books on aquatic entomology so if you enjoy this I believe you will find it very rewarding.
However, one of the greatest trout anglers and finest gentleman I have ever known used a different approach.  He was not into technical entomology, but he did not seem to need it. When he saw large tan natural aquatic insects on the stream he would take an artificial fly from his box which matched it and catch many trout. If he saw small yellow natural insects on the stream he would go to his fly box and match it with great success.  His name was Jack Sperry and he was a true master angler.

Ideal Flies

Yellowstone River Trout Fly Fishing Murray's Fly Shop VA

Ideal Flies. Select the flies you carry to the stream carefully so you can meet the demands at that specific time.  One day on the Yellowstone River at Livingston, Montana I handed my wife a small fly box containing a dozen flies and showed her where to fish a beautiful riffle as we entered the stream. My guide of seventeen years, Ray Hurley, and I headed upstream to fish some heavy water. Ray paused and said, “Just what twelve flies did you give your wife?” When I told him he smiled and said, “She is better equipped than ninety percent of the fishermen on the Yellowstone River.”
In order to help you have the right flies at the right time I have put hatch charts in my three trout books and two smallmouth bass books. I also present a podcast at the beginning of each month where I discuss the fly needs and the hatches for the coming month. My weekly “Anglers Club Newsletter” provides great timely information on the fishing and current fly needs as does my free Monthly Newsletter.

Fly Fishing Questions & Answers July 2016

Bass Fly Fishing on the Shenandoah River

In this Fly Fishing Question and Answer Podcast, Harry Murray discusses questions that he has been asked over the last month through phone calls and emails at his fly shop in Edinburg, Virginia.
What type of fly rod should I be using when nymph fishing? How can I enjoy fly fishing when I have hurt my casting arm?  How can I improve my fishing in low, clear water when the fish are easily spooked?  How many reels should I carry with me when on a fishing trip?

Flex Fly Rods from Scott

NEW Scott Flex Series Fly Rods will be arriving soon.  Rated at the latest dealer show to be the finest new rods in the market. Preorder Yours Today!

We will be posting another question and answer podcast in the middle of August.

Raincoat

Simms Hyalite Rain Shell Jacket
Simms Hyalite Rain Shell Jacket

When I am fishing the back country for trout or more than a mile away from my Jeep on a smallmouth bass river, I always carry a breathable-waterproof raincoat in the back of my fishing vest.  This has to pack down small enough to easily fit into my vest. The Simms Hyalite Rain Shell Jacket is perfect. Staying dry is important even in the summer months. Once on a five mile smallmouth river summer float trip two of the five anglers in our group had no raincoats. Three hours up the river from our take-out the rain started and continued heavily all day. Even though we all offered to share our raincoats, the two wet anglers refused. By the time we got to the take out spot our friends were shivering badly. Imagine how cold these two anglers would have been if our float trip had been in March or October.

Maps

The mountain trout streams are excellent this time of year in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Be sure to have your map with you when you leave the trail head to go into the stream.
The mountain trout streams are excellent this time of year in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Be sure to have your map with you when you leave the trail head to go into the stream.

Last summer a friend took two of his fishing buddies into a small remote mountain trout stream.  He had fished the stream before and felt confident in taking them to the best part of the stream. Unfortunately, he forgot to take his map with him. There were many small trails leading off the main trail that he had forgotten.  They hiked for three hours and never did find the stream and finally climbed back up to the top of the mountain and came home.
I have been lost twice in the mountains when I was trying to take shortcuts to the streams.  Once you are on the stream you should be okay in finding your way.  However, some find mountain trout streams have no trails in or out and there may be private land at the lower end of the stream where trespassing is not allowed.
I always have the map in my vest for the stream I am fishing in the back country.

Fly Fishing Podcast July 2016 Report

July 2016 Podcast-- Crayfish
To imitate the natural crayfish found in the rivers, use our Murray’s Crayfish pattern

As I am doing this fly fishing podcast I am realizing that many of you are going to be enjoying the outdoors this July 4th weekend by the phone calls, emails, and orders the fly shop has been receiving.  Please be safe and considerate of the land owners and others as you take in natures beauty.   I plan to enjoy it myself!

Trout Fishing
In this podcast I want to discuss the how, when, and where to fish my new “change of pace” dry flies for trout that feed selectively.  I thought that if I could develop a different fly which showed the trout a new silhouette and light pattern  that matched a natural food they feed upon, I might be able to catch these trout. By experimenting I developed the  Murray’s Housefly Dry, Oakworm Dry, Yellow Jacket Dry, Moth Dry,  Wasp Dry, and Horsefly Dry.  I fish all of these with a Classic 9ft 6X Leader.

Bass Fishing
The smallmouth bass fishing has been excellent due to the great food load and the  rains keeping the water levels up.  Hence, in a recent school one of our instructors stuck a smallmouth bass that was over 5 pounds on our Murray’s Crayfish pattern while showing the class the swing nymph technique.  Our topwater action is picking up and we have been doing very well with our famous Shenandoah Blue Popper. I fish these on a Bright Butt 9ft. 2X Leader.

 

Murray’s Pop Strike

Wild Brook Trout Fly Fishing Murray's Fly Shop VA
This wild brook trout was just released with a pop strike ad he is headed back home.

When the dry fly fishing is fast and I am catching many cutthroats in the mountain trout streams in the Rockies or brook trout in the Eastern mountain streams, my goal is to raise and hook many trout and then release them as quickly as I can so I do not stress them. My Pop Strike consists of setting the hook on the strike so I know I have fooled him, then two or three seconds later I release all of the tension on the fly line.  This enables more than half of my trout to swim freely away.

Sunscreen

Bonefish Fly Fishing Murray's Fly Shop VA
Sunscreen is as important when fishing for trout and smallmouth bass as it is on a bonefish trip.

Some of the studies are now suggesting we reapply a broad spectrum water proof 50 sun blocking lotion every eighty minutes while we are on the stream. I personally use the little lip coating sticks about every hour also.

Fly Fishing Podcast–June 2016

There are presently very heavy hatches of sulphur mayflies and the trout are taking the Murray's Sulphur Dry quite well.
There are presently very heavy hatches of sulphur mayflies and the trout are taking the Murray’s Sulphur Dry quite well.

In this fly fishing podcast Harry Murray discusses the outstanding trout fishing that is available now and what we can expect throughout the month of June.  He covers the insect hatches, the best flies to match them and the effective tactics.
Effective flies include: Murray’s Little Yellow Dry Stonefly size 16, Murray’s Yellow Drake Dry Fly size 16, Murray’s Sulphur Dry Fly size 16, Shenk’s Sulphur Dry Fly size 16 and 18, Murray’s Inchworm size 14, Mr. Rapidan Olive Delta Wing Caddis size 14 and 16, Murray’s Olive Caddis Pupa size 14.

The natural hellgrammites are reaching their full size now and the smallmouth bass are feeding heavily upon them. The Murray's Heavy Black Hellgrammite will catch many of these large bass.
The natural hellgrammites are reaching their full size now and the smallmouth bass are feeding heavily upon them. The Murray’s Heavy Black Hellgrammite will catch many of these large bass.

The second portion of the podcast is dedicated to the smallmouth fishing we are getting now and what we can expect throughout June. He covers the natural hellgrammite’s actions and the best flies and tactics to catch the bass which are feeding upon them.  He also discusses the great fishing we are getting the Shenandoah Blue Popper by fishing these along the shaded banks.
Effective flies include: Murray’s Heavy Black Hellgrammite size 4 and 6, Shenandoah Blue Popper size 4 and 6

Interested in Learning to Fly Fish?  Check out our On The Stream 1-Day Smallmouth Bass Schools and our Half Day Fly Fishing Lessons

Fly Fishing Questions & Answers Part III

May 2016 Fly Fishing Questions

This segment of our fly fishing questions and answers podcast includes Harry Murray discussing  1) the importance of recording stream notes on a calendar to help plan future trips, 2) mentally marking previous hot spots on the streams in order to return to fish these areas later, 3) the pros and cons of attaching the leader to the fly line with loops vs. needle knots, and 4) camping at the upper forks on mountain trout streams to get great fishing.

Twisted Line

Jeff Murray Smallmouth Bass Trout Fly Fishing Murray's Fly Shop VA
A good straight fly line cast better and handles better than a twisted fly line.

You become aware that your fly line is twisted when you are standing in the river casting.  This is easy to fix. Remove the fly from the leader and cast straight downstream forty feet, as the current pulls out all of the slack line strip forty feet more line from the reel and feed it downstream. Allow this to hang tight in the current for ten minutes then crank it back in and the twist will be removed.

Fly Fishing Stream Report May 2016

Taking a guided trip in the Shenandoah National Park and fishing for native brook trout can be very gratifying.
Taking a guided trip in the Shenandoah National Park and fishing for native brook trout can be very gratifying.

Fly Fishing Stream Report for May.  In the first part of this podcast Harry Murray discusses the wonderful dry fly fishing that you can find in May by covering the aquatic insect hatch throughout May, the best fly patterns to match each one and the effective tactics. In the second part Harry discusses the specific sections of the rivers which gives us good smallmouth action in May. He discusses the flies, leaders, and fly lines that help us in the different feeding stations as well as the most effective tactics in the different sections of the river.

Trout Flies discussed:  Professor Dry, Light Cahill, Murray’s Little Yellow Stonefly Dry, Murray’s Yellow Drake Dry Fly, Murray’s Sulphur Dry, Shenk’s Sulphur

Bass Flies discussed: Murray’s Marauder, Shenk’s White Streamer, Murray’s Magnum HogSucker, Magnum Creek Chub, and Magnum Darter

Fly Fishing Questions & Answers Part II

Podcast on Fly Fishing Questions

In this fly fishing questions and answers segment (part II)  I will be discussing some of the questions you have presented to me within the last month.

  •  For instance, when the caddisflies are hatching in the mountain trout streams, do you use a dry fly, a nymph, or both?
  • What can I do to avoid getting bit by a snake?  These 3 tips could save you a trip to the emergency room.
  • What is the purpose of using a stream thermometer?  At what temperature will I get better fishing on the mountain trout streams?
  • What is the best tactic to use when fishing the inchworms which are just starting to come out?
  • What is the best technique to get my fly out of a tree?

Products to consider having:

Snake Bite Kit–although I have never had to use mine I carry it faithfully just in case.

Clothing

Before the regular anglers around West Yellowstone got to know Charlie Brooks they called him Mr. Monotone. Brook’s, who was a very special friend told me one day when we were fishing the Madison that he finally figured out the name came from the camouflaged clothing he wore most of the time. Since Brook’s fished every day when he first moved to West Yellowstone, he was either on his way to the stream or on his way back when people saw him. Since Brooks was one of the most capable anglers I have ever known, I fully respect his desire to wear subdued colored clothing when fishing. To this day I always wear subdued colored clothing.
I really do believe this helps catch wary fish. For example, I was shocked the day a supposed well-traveled angler showed up for a bass float trip wearing a white t-shirt and white hat and insisted on standing up in the front of our Hyde Drift Boat to fish all day…nope, he caught no large fish.