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Found 2 results

  1. Over the last couple of weeks I’ve fished the same reaches of a Rocky Mountain headwaters stream five times. This repetition takes some commitment as the variety of fishing opportunities in SW Montana in July is essentially limitless. But the repetition had a purpose—field testing some Humpy variations. This was an easy stream to fish, not necessarily easy to reach. It was a 2.5 hour drive from the home and at least 35 miles of gravel once you left the main highway. Nestled in a high sagebrush valley the stream held good water for July and the fish—mostly 10-14” cuttbows were hungry. Bug life was plentiful and there was no need to match the hatch. Anything that looked like food was readily attacked by tiny torpedos emerging from their lair. This was classic humpy water and my goal was to test out a variety of humpys to find out which performed the best. I had three criteria. 1) How well did the fly float? 2) Visibility, how well could you see the fly on the water? 3) Recovery — how well did the fly recover after catching a fish? Before the first cast, each fly was treated with Loon Aquel. After a fish, the fly was dried with a desiccant. On the fish’s part, there wasn’t much selectivity. Most of the Humpys I fished, caught fish. After each trip, I tied new versions for the next trip, incorporating features that I thought would improve the fly. After five trips and at least 10 dozen flies tied, two variations stood out. Although body color didn’t seem to make a difference for the fish, it certainly did for me. Light, bright colors were the most visible, thus allowing more control over fly placement and drift. Bleached moose was my favorite upper body material. Any bright underbody color—red, orange or yellow worked well. The most successful hackle was cream badger or Cree. Darker hackles did not show up as well. I did tie some foam body variations which worked extremely well in smaller 16-14 sizes. Probably the most successful variation was the use of Z-Lon for wings and underbody. Impervious to water, the Z-Lon flies stayed dry and recovered after a catch very well. Bright Z-Lon for the wings on small flies also improved visibility. Some of the variations I rejected were: Trude style wings—tend to twist leader during false casting CDC wings—good visibility and initial float ability, but poor recovery. Calf tail wings—difficult to tie, no on stream advantage Dark body and wing colors and dark hackle - poor visibility Here are pics of the two successful variations and the waters they were tested on.
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