Current River

Top five flies

Posted by Phil Lilley on January 3rd, 2012
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At times the Current River can be tough to fish, especially once you get down stream a mile or so below Montauk park. To list just 5 flies would be difficult because a lot depends on the time of year, hatches and the water conditions. If I gave you 5 flies to use on the Current River and you fished them the wrong time of year or in the wrong water conditions, you might not think I knew what I was talking about. I suggest that you narrow down the situation, but I do agree that if you do not go to the Current River without some caddis flies, you are missing the most important insect the river produces. Adult, larva, and pupa in various sizes and colors should be available to match the food source. Caddis will hatch the year around on the Current River. Even during the winter, if the conditions are conducive.

When in doubt, drift larva or pupa below an indicator, because trout feed below the surface a heck of a lot more than they do on top.

Sam Potter – The following is a list of flies that I use on the Current River:

Caddis Dry – CDC #16-20 TMC 100 in brown, black, green, tan
Caddis Emergers #16-20 TMC 2488 in brown, black, green, tan
Caddis Larva #16-20 TMC 2488 in green, cream, brown, black

Trico #28 TMC 518 in black
BWO #18-22 TMC 518 in olive
Brown Drake and Hex in size 8 and 6 TMC 100 in brown, brown/yellow

Ants #19 TMC 102Y in black
Hoppers #8-12 Dai-Riki 280 in tan, brown, green
Yellow Stone #14 Dai-Riki 270 in yellow

Midge #32-30 TMC 518 in tan, black
Sculpins #2-6 TMC 200R or Dai-Riki 899 in brown, tan, olive, olive/blue
Mohair Leech #10 TMC 100 or Dai-Riki 270 in olive, brown, cinnamon, tan, black

I do not fish nymphs very much. I prefer casting a fly, to casting an indicator. If I am using caddis larva, I fish them below a dry fly. There are a ton of fishermen that use nymphs with an indicator and catch a lot of fish with that method, but I enjoy casting too much and the indicator gets in the way. I will use a very small piece of yarn at times for an indicator, but it is not my preferred method of fly fishing. I like the feel of casting a line and fly instead of plopping an indicator. I pride myself on accuracy and presentation.

Fly fishing to me (at this stage of my life) is more than just catching fish. I have caught thousands over the past 50 years, using just about any method you can think of…. casting a dry fly with the perfect presentation and getting a selective trout to rise and take it, is what I prefer to do. It is the challenge and the reward that I cherish, not the numbers or the size of the fish. I have caught 50+ trout a day on numerous occasions and some huge fish, don’t get me wrong I love to catch a lot of fish and BIG fish, but I enjoy making that perfect drift and catching a 12″ brown just as much if not more. I have spent entire days just trying to catch one huge fish that I have found somewhere on the stream…That is the type of determination that I have. It is the challenge that drives me. I get the same challenge from a 12″ brown that refuses my fly.

The colors of the flies, I described, are for the body of the fly. Were the caddis you observed hatching and flying close to the surface or dropping eggs? It makes a difference. Did you notice any activity below the surface? For every bug they take off the surface they are probably taking 8 below the surface, if there is a hatch on. Excellent opportunity for swinging emergers.

I have witnessed, on several occasions, trout catching flying caddis, not on the surface mind you, flying in mid air. Think about all the information that a trout must calculate to catch a bug flying. Force of the water, speed of the insect, windage and distance from the water surface. I would never have witnessed these instances if I had not been looking at the precise fly taken at the time of the jump. I find myself more observant with insects than I did twenty years ago. I use to just concentrate on fishing and missed out on a ton of information, and enjoyment that makes fishing more than just catching fish.

Catching fish during a hatch can be very rewarding, OR it can be very frustrating, if they are keyed in on a specific size and color and you can not replicate what they are looking for, it can be frustrating.

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