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Flies of Summer

 

I will admittedly confess to owning hundreds, if not more, flies. They catch fish, and they do it extremely well, which is why they are a staple in my angling repertoire. But if I was to narrow the field down to my all-time favourites, then I’m looking at a half dozen or so, yet some of them are as different from each other as a lead head jig is from a crankbait, but the common denominator is that they are fish catchers and to me, that’s all that matters.

The prince nymph is one of my all-time

The prince nymph is one of my all-time "go to" flies.

Bead head prince nymph

Most everyone will agree that the bead head prince nymph belongs on this list. It catches trout in lakes, grayling in streams, and mountain whitefish in the big rivers. And they’re no slouch at wrangling up big bow river browns or rainbows too. The bead head prince has everything going for it. Its buggy, has that alluring peacock hurl, and is one of the best generalist patterns out there. This fly catches fish. All that’s needed to fish this fly effectively is an ability to get the hook on or near bottom. The fish will take care of the rest. Fish a large pattern to begin with, like a size 10, and work down from there, if you suspect fish are in the neighbourhood, but not yet willing to bite. Somewhere in that sizing down process the fish will typically respond and you’ll be set.

The bead head prince nymph under a small bobber was all that was needed to catch Pyramid Lake’s shallow water rainbows.

The bead head prince nymph under a small bobber was all that was needed to catch Pyramid Lake’s shallow water rainbows.

The bead head prince nymph under a small bobber was all that was needed to catch Pyramid Lake’s shallow water rainbows.

The bead head prince nymph under a small bobber was all that was needed to catch Pyramid Lake’s shallow water rainbows.

Double Shrimp

The next fly is a rather unique fly in that it was developed locally, in Jasper, and is just starting to catch on outside of its mountain beginnings. This is the double shrimp. Tied for the rainbows and brookies of Maligne Lake, the double shrimp is devastating at catching dog day summer trout. When the weather is hot, the fishing can even be hotter with this dandy tied to my line. The effectiveness in the pattern has everything to do with location within the water column where you fish it. When the weather gets hot and the surface water turns warm, trout will often descend to greater depths to escape the summer heat, and down there in that deep water the prominent forage is quite literally tiny crustaceans, like daphnia and copepods. They’re no bigger than a pin head, but they can be extremely dense, forming clouds of them, which trout key in on. The trout just cruise on through, opening and closing their mouths, filter feeding as they go. Now a double shrimp looks nothing like an individual daphnia, but it may somewhat resemble a patch of them and I suspect that’s what triggers the strike. Whatever the reason, the double shrimp fly fished deep is extremely effective on summer trout.

A beautiful Maligne Lake rainbow caught by Jolene, and the place where the double shrimp fly was born.

A beautiful Maligne Lake rainbow caught by Jolene, and the place where the double shrimp fly was born.

Polar bear streamers

This late summer fly may not really be classified as a fly by some, but I think of it that way. I’m talking about those big honking polar bear hair flies that are 6 to 8 inches long and look everything like a small fish. This fly has one primary application, and that’s to undue the biggest bull trout that swim in our streams and rivers. In my travels, I opportunistically stop and go into most every fishing shop I cross paths with, always on the lookout for big fishy looking flies. The closer it looks like a mountain whitefish, the better, and the bigger it is the better. These flies aren’t cheap, but man are they effective. I have caught whopping big bulls from every river system I’ve tossed them in; the Athabasca, the Clearwater, the North Sask, and a number of smaller streams. They have all produced great bullies. As with most big bait deals, the first few casts represent my best chance at a big bite, so I make the most of those casts, taking a moment to get myself, and my hook into what I feel is the absolute best position to connect with a bull trout. I do not camp out on a spot when I’m hunting big bullies. I fish it and give it a fair chance, then I rest the pool and change it up, or I move to the next pool.

Big bull trout love big streamer flies!

Big bull trout love big streamer flies!

Bead head Spratley

The bead head spratley is a sleeper pattern. I have only been fishing this fly for a half dozen years now, but I am so impressed with its fish catching prowess, I just had to include it. This is especially so, because this fly has been a walleye catching machine. That’s right, I said walleye. One day I ran out of bait on a hot walleye bite at Wab, so I decided to try to keep the good fishing going by using the bead head spratley off a strike indicator. "What the heck," I figured. The result: it crushed them. I was so impressed I tried the bead head spratley in other walleye lakes, and I did extremely well there too. I was left shaking my head in amazement. Whatever it was about the spratley, the walleye liked it, and I’ve caught a bunch of these tasty sports fish with them. That said, the spratley is also an outstanding trout fly and it does wonders, whether fished off an indicator, chironomid style, or trolled off a sinking line. Bead head spratleys; the fish like them, and that’s all there is to it.

Bullet head streamer fly

The next fly is called a bullet head fly, and I found them in some little tackle shop in BC. If you can ever get your hands on them, buy a dozen or more immediately and thank your lucky stars. These flies look like a small fish, and the colouration on the pattern I purchased look remarkably like a stickleback. To this end, I fish this fly shallow and tight to shore, where stickleback are found. If there is a chop on the water, I fish the windy shore and I always make a point to tying this fly on when the light gets low and the big trout in a lake have pushed in shallow to feed. A fast jerky presentation, often in inches of water will turn evening time into a big trout production factory. It really is that good. And because of its fishy profile, I often tie it on and let it run through the pools, rapids, and runs of most any stream I fish and the results are always there. I don’t know the proper name



Previous Fishing Articles
(1) A day on our foothill streams
(2) Fly Fishing Crowded Waters
(3) Fly Leaders
(4) In the Zone
(5) Learners Permit
(6) Flies of Summer
(7) Selecting the Right Boat
(8) The Italian Job
(9) Making a difference
(10) Pass the Salt
(11) Hopper Time - Fly-fishing’s Second Season
(12) Pike on the Fly - Fishing New Waters
(13) Fall brings the big walleye out
(14) Hoppertunity Time
(15) Becoming a Better Dry Fly Angler
(16) Make Your Own Fishing Adventure
(17) Early Season Fly Fishing
(18) Walleye Logic
(19) Fly Fishing in the Desert
(20) Grammy’s Fish
(21) Top 10 Trout Lures
(22) All I Want for Christmas – Neil Waugh's Yule Tide Fishing Gifts Wish List
(23) Muskies - The Ultimate Predator
(24) What to expect when fishing the West Coast
(25) Tips & Tricks for Fall Fly Fishing
(26) There’s No Place Like Home
(27) A Golden Opportunity
(28) The Observational Trout Fisherman
(29) Un-matching the Hatch
(30) Alberta Super Bugs
(31) Glass is Back
(32) The Bull Trout of the Athabasca
(33) Speed Kills
(34) Entering the Twilight Zone
(35) Old Man River
(36) The Pink Salmon of the Squamish River
(37) Small stream BT fishing
(38) Fly fishing beyond Trout: getting started
(39) In The Walleye Zone
(40) Zoo Trout
(41) Fly Selection for Beginners
(42) Fly Fisher's Christmas
(43) New Waters
(44) Big Bad Burbot
(45) Looking Back
(46) Out of Africa
(47) Finding Success on Crowded Trout Streams
(48) Mountain Peaks, Fast Streams, Fall Colours And Rocky Mountain Whitefish
(49) The Browns of Autumn
(50) Fly-Fishing Pike Through The Seasons
(51) Walleye Town
(52) River Fun - One Bite At A Time
(53) Fly Fishing Larger Rivers
(54) Going With The Flow
(55) Becoming A Better Fly Fisherman
(56) Swinging The Fences
(57) A View From The Aerie
(58) Dixieland Delight
(59) Atlantic Salmon - The Fish of 1000 Casts
(60) Do It Yourself Pink Salmon
(61) Montana's Cool Missouri
(62) Pretty Is As Pretty Does
(63) Toothy Critters
(64) Hard Water Lakers at Cold Lake
(65) Top Ten Flies
(66) Northern Exposure
(67) Home Water Lessons
(68) Chicken Of The Sea
(69) Sealing the Deal – How to Ensure You Land More Fish
(70) Deep In The Heart Of Texas
(71) Keep It Up!
(72) River Fishing for Fall Walleye
(73) After the Flood - A look at Southern Alberta rivers and streams one year after the 2013 flood
(74) Reindeer Lake - A Diversity of Opportunity
(75) Hawg Holes
(76) Saltwater Salmon
(77) Early Season Dry Fly Fishing
(78) Down a Lazy River - A Fly-rodding Adventure on the Lower North Saskatchewan
(79) The Fly Fishing Season Ahead
(80) IN SEARCH OF SPECKLED FOOTBALLS
(81) FISHING CANADA'S PRAIRIE CITIES
(82) Bright Fish from the Land of Silver
(83) Canada's "Other" Salmon
(84) Fall Walleye
(85) Wet Flies
(86) Versatility the Key to Success
(87) Grayling of the Boreal
(88) Teaching Kids To Fly Fish
(89) Size Matters
(90) Fly Fishing Small Streams
(91) Chasing Winter Whites One Lake At A Time
(92) Manitoba's Fishing Jewel
(93) The Twelve Gifts Of Christmas
(94) The Point Of It All
(95) Fishing With Friends-Big Weather Seizing The Day
(96) Fall Fly Fishing
(97) Personal Pontoon Boats 101
(98) Big River, Big Fish
(99) Bottom Bonanza
(100) Fishing Small Flies
(101) So Many Choices, So Little Time
(102) Four Seasons of the Bow
(103) Favourite Lakes - Some Like it Hot
(104) GEARING UP FOR SMALL STREAM TROUT
(105) Trout Hunting New Zealand style
(106) Don’t Leave Home Without Them – 10 Lures That Should Be In Everyone’s Tackle Box
(107) Edge Walleye
(108) FLY FISHING STRATEGIES FOR HIGH WATER
(109) Smallmouth Bass – An Oft Overlooked Challenge
(110) Four Corners – Four Waters
(111) Chasing Pothole Trout
(112) Springtime Stoneflies
(113) The Torrents of Spring
(114) Drift Boat Fly Fishing
(115) Bust Them With Bait
(116) Cure the Winter Blues with a Good Book
(117) Hot Strategies for the Cold Months
(118) Cutthroat: The Angler's Trout
(119) Terrestrials
(120) Fly In For Fishing Fun
(121) Rocky Mountain High
(122) Reading the clues
(123) Where the Trout Are The art of locating feeding trout in rivers and streams.
(124) K.I.S.S. and Tell Fly-fishin
(125) Fly Fishing 101
(126) To Catch a Big Halibut, or Ling Cod
(127) The Bountiful Bones of Ascension Bay
(128) Grayling in the Eye of the Beholder
(129) Fly Fishing for South Fork Clearwater Steelhead
(130) Manitoba's Red River - North America's Catfish Capital
(131) Eliminating the Spook Factor
(132) Trust Your Electronics
(133) The Most Important Hatch of the Year
(134) Early Season Nymph Fishing for Trout
(135) Finding Success for Ice Trout
(136) Walleye can be Humbling
(137) The Secret to Landing the Big One Finally Revealed
(138) Winter Flyfishing
(139) North Saskatchewan River - An Underutilized Fishing Gem
(140) Hot Fall Pike Action
(141) Tips and Tricks to Save the Summer Slow Down
(142) Reading Trout Stream Waters
(143) Frequently Asked Questions
(144) Streamer Fishing for Larger Trout
(145) The Lure of Big Walleye at Last Ice
(146) Deep Water Perch
(147) Post Spawn Brookies
(148) A Fisher's Life
(149) The River's Last Stand
(150) The Big Ones Come out at Night
(151) Coho on the Coast
(152) Chasing and Catching Halibut
(153) Summer in the Mountains
(154) Peak Walleye Season
(155) Slow and Steady Wins the Race
(156) Last Ice Rainbows
(157) The Burbot Event
(158) Tackle Matching
(159) Ice Fishing Strategy #2 - Going Light
(160) Ice Fishing Strategy #1 - Location
(161) The Lure of Brook Trout
(162) The Shallow Water Hunt is On
(163) Hot Backswimmer Action Happening Right Now
(164) Fishing Among Giants-Pursuing Lake Sturgeon on the Prairies
(165) Adventure at Davin Lake Lodge, Northern Saskatchewan
(166) The Vesatile Plug
(167) Bead Head Flies, Plugs and Shot and other Spring Favorites for Pothole Trout
(168) Planning your Upcoming Angling Adventures
(169) Good Fishing at Last Ice
(170) Maximize the Odds - Use Multiple Presentations
(171) Daily Fish Migrations
(172) Fish Migrations - Following the Spawn
(173) Lake Whitefish - An Ice Fishing All Star
(174) Pick Your Favorite Brook Trout Lake...and Go Fishing
(175) A Look Ahead to Great Trout Fishing
(176) Wrestling White Sturgeon on the Fraser
(177) The Fun in Ultra Light
(178) Flyfishing and Leadcore Lines
(179) Embrace the Spirit of Adventure
(180) Never Stop Learning
(181) Ice Fishing is Getting Hot
(182) Jigging through the Ice
(183) An Ice Fishing Unsung Hero – The Setline
(184) Rainbows on Ice
(185) The Season of Ice Begins
(186) Red Hot Fall Pike Action
(187) Hitting it Right with Water Boatman
(188) Facts On Cats
(189) West Coast Adventure
(190) June Walleye Frenzy
(191) Aerated Lakes are Big Trout Factories
(192) First Fish of the Year Pothole Rainbows and Browns
(193) Northern Exposure
(194) Sometimes There is More to Fishing Than Catching Fish
(195) Early Season Pike On The Fly
(196) Man Overboard