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fdavis

UV in your flies - fact or fallacy.

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All I know, the flies I use around home with UV Ice Dub in them catch the hell out of fish. I'm not going to over-complicate it. The stuff seems to work for me, the fish like it, I'm going to keep using it.

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;=))

 

TheCream rises

 

This has been an interesting thread. It started off with questions about UV light. How it works. When it's reflected. When it causes fluorescence. And what that is. But it also became a thread about the importance of (visual spectrum) colors in the general case. And then selectivity. And then "what is natural."

 

So it occurred to me. The most natural fish are the easiest to catch. The places were fly fishermen talk the most about hatching behavior, selectivity and matching the hatch ideas tend to correspond to the places with the best insect hatches, but also the most over-crowding and over-fishing. Letort Spring Creek, Yellow Breeches, Paradise Valley Spring Creeks, Silver Creek, the Metolius and also the various tailwater fisheries. Those waters have the hardest to catch fish not because mayflies are a bigger-than-normal part of their diet. But because they have the most fishermen pounding away. Day in and day out.

 

At DePuy Spring Creek back in the early 1990s when Bob Auger was the stream keeper there used to be a short, 50 yard long section of wild creek left at the top end, right were the property boundary with the O'Hairs stretch started. There was no trail and the bushes were thick. The narrow channel through the bushes made the creek deep fast and hard to wade. And there was still a relatively wild bunch of fish there. They were spooky. You had to approach them ever so slowly and keep a low profile. And cast sidearm if you could. But if you got that far--without spooking them--they were a lot easier to actually catch.

 

Further downstream the fish are nervous as hell about funny-looking flies and dragging leaders. But they're not smart enough to associate wading fishermen with leaders and flies. They'll eddy out in the wake behind your legs and feed on the San Juan Shuffle nymphs you dislodge as you wade. The oddest---thing--is watching a nervous Spring Creek fish rise up to a drifting (real) mayfly and refuse it in a compound fast paced four looks and four refusals rejection--of a real mayfly! That never happened in the wild stretch. Ever.

 

That semi-wild bit of DePuy Spring Creek is long gone. There is a trail cut through the willows now and some irrigation return remodeling has thinned out the bushes so the current is now slower and easier to wade. The human tame but leader nervous fish go all the way up to the O'Hairs boundary now.

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;=))

 

TheCream rises

 

So it occurred to me. The most natural fish are the easiest to catch. The places were fly fishermen tend to become obsessed with hatching behavior, selectivity and matching the hatch ideas tend to correspond to the places with the best insect hatches, but also the most over-crowding and over-fishing. Letort Spring Creek, Yellow Breeches, Paradise Valley Spring Creeks, Silver Creek, the Metolius and also the various tailwater fisheries. Those waters have the hardest to catch fish not because mayflies are a bigger-than-normal part of their diet. But because they have the most fishermen pounding away. Day in and day out........ The saddest thing of all is watching a nervous Spring Creek fish rise up to a drifting (real) mayfly and refuse it in a compound fast paced four looks and four refusals rejection--of a real mayfly! That never happened in the wild stretch. Ever.

 

 

 

 

I have two experiences that speak to how "selective" heavily fished trout can become when they live in fertile "spring creek" type rivers.

 

I was fishing Poindexter Slough, which is a public spring creek near Dillon, Montana.

 

map.JPG

 

Still0830_000012.jpg

 

5710696228_96bca0406a_b.jpg

 

Poindexter feeds into the Beaverhead River. There are several fly shops in Dillon. I stopped at one and asked what was happening on Poindexter. "Hoppers" is what the clerks said at both shops. I looked at that patterns they were selling and I had every one. Joe's hoppers, Whitlock hoppers, Schroeder's parachute hoppers. Since this was before foam hoopers became popular, there were none of those.

 

As I walked across the field toward the Beaverhead, hoppers were flying in front of me. I wanted to get away from the wooden bridge and parking lot. As I neared Poindexter, there was a 16" brown trout finning in the river. I put on a Whitlock hopper and the fish came up, and refused. I tied a different pattern with the same results, the fish looked and refused. Then I tried an experiment. I caught several real hoppers, threw them in and the brown trout came up, followed them in a compound rise, and refused while facing down stream.

 

Then I got out a pattern that was not sold at the fly shops and one that I tied. I colored it with Pantone markers to match the naturals and cast up to the fish. The brown trout rose and took my fly. I think there are three reasons why the third pattern worked. Most important is that it was NOT sold at any of the fly shops in Dillon so the fish had not seen the pattern before. The second reason is that the hopper pattern was designed for spring creeks and floats low in the water like a natural hopper. The third is that I colored it to match the hoppers in the fields around Poindexter.

 

I have also seen fish refusing naturals on the San Juan River during a blue wind olive hatch. While I was fishing there back in the 1990s, a blue wing olive hatch would occur every day. I was fishing with some friends and was called over by one of them who was casting to a pod of feeding rainbows in slow water. He had casted to these fish and not been able to catch a single one so he called me over to try. I asked him to cast again and I could not see any problem with his presentation. There was no drag. The fish just refused the fly.

We could see that the rainbows were taking mature BWO duns. The fish had refused both his comparaduns and parachutes. I had some Swisher and Richards no hackle duns and put one one and the fish took the fly.

Then I caught a few more but there were fish in the pod that refused the no hackle and yet I could see that they were taking duns. Why did these fish refuse?

I stopped casting and looked a bit closer and I finally noticed that these fish refused the natural duns with perfectly upright wings and took only the duns that were canted to one side or the other with one wing up and the other down. So I fixed my fly so that it would float canted, and I was able to catch more of the fish.

This is the only time I have ever witnessed this super specific feeding behavior. Because the fish on he fish on the San Juan are not angler shy, you can really get close to them and they will continue to feed.

My theory is that these are super pressured fish, and when the hatches are dense, as with the BWO hatches on the San Juan, there are enough of these canted duns for the fish to feed just on these.

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This is been a good topic covering a lot of good stuff. I too think that there is an advantage to not showing the fish the "shop" flies that everybody else has shown them. Another advantage to being a tier. I think this is also why on heavily pressured waters, "hot' flies come and go. I am not sure how long trout remember, but I have no doubt they do for a while. Fishing Silver Creek during a PMD hatch you can have a good morning on let's say a parachute PMD. Come back the next morning to the same spot with the same fly and get refusals. Switch to a comparadun or another type PMD, and start picking up fish. The craziest thing I ever saw was also on Silver Creek was when fishing the trico spinner fall. I was using the usual long tailed spinners and getting refusals. Looked at the flies on the water and for some reason the tails were much shorter than normal. Took my nippers and cut back the tails on my fly, and started catching fish. This kind of stuff can be very satisfying or drive you nuts. Good thread all. Thanks.

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I responded to the article presented in the original post of this thread. The article's author was in error on most counts. That aside, some interesting issues that Silver knows but hasn't mentioned are the periods of dusk and night. During dusk the trout has mesopic vision, both the rods and cones of the retina are in use, while at night the tour has scotopic vision, only the rods are available. The rods of the trout retina are up to 1000x more sensitive to photons than the cones, but the opsins (pigments) process the information on a grayscale, from black, no input, to white, maximum input. So color in flies is not relevant on a dark night. But... during dusk the percentage of solar light in the UV wavelengths increases and starlight and galactic light also provides UV. It is this UV light that the mayflies use for finding their river and illuminating the species and gender of their prospective mate. Naturally, one would suppose that if mayflies have these UV markings, astute fishermen would copy the markings. And they did. Below is an Adams dry fly in reflected UV light (special camera and filter required):

 

AdamsUV.jpg

 

The wing, hackle, and body resemble the barred UV signatures of many mayflies. And so it is with many of our most popular and enduring fly patterns.

 

The use of fluorescent materials may not "trigger" a take because of the visible color. Many fluorescent artificial pigments are also very bright in the UV, that may indeed be what helps with the take. BTW, the notion that a trout "wants to eat our fly" may be demeaning to the trout. Having no hands, if a trout wants to inspect a curious bit of flotsam, e.g., a cigarette butt, he uses his mouth.

Among fly anglers there once was a distinction between flies and lures. One fished lures, e.g., a small Colorado spinner with trailing fly, to excite the trout and encourage a strike (not a "take"). Flies, OTOH, were designed to closely imitate a natural prey item, e.g., a grasshopper or mayfly. Today we don't distinguish between lures and flies - mores the pity - which means we think we are encouraging a feeding response when it might be a curiosity or anger response. So, fly flingers chuck-n-ducking their Clousers or other jigs may be using the excitation concept of lures, rather than the imitation of food. The same might apply to the use of gaudy colors or rubber legs.

 

Underwater flies even in shallow water on an overcast day or at night, seem to benefit from the scattering of UV which provides a bright background. The old adage, "Dark Day, Dark Fly" makes some sense, IMO. The photos below (by Professor Thomas Cronin) show the contrast.

UV_Images.jpg

I enjoy this subject. Thanks.

 

Regards,

Reed

 

http://www.overmywaders.com

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RE> "Among fly anglers there once was a distinction between flies and lures. One fished lures, e.g., a small Colorado spinner with trailing fly, to excite the trout and encourage a strike (not a "take"). Flies, OTOH, were designed to closely imitate a natural prey item, e.g., a grasshopper or mayfly. Today we don't distinguish between lures and flies - mores the pity - which means we think we are encouraging a feeding response when it might be a curiosity or anger response. So, fly flingers chuck-n-ducking their Clousers or other jigs may be using the excitation concept of lures, rather than the imitation of food. The same might apply to the use of gaudy colors or rubber legs."

 

Trout have at least four senses we can exploit in order to catch them. Light, smell, tactile sensations in their mouths and the lateral line which senses motion by sensitivity to compression waves in the water.

 

Do I get your inference right? That fly fishing is limited to exploitation of the visual system only, and even then that the purist form of fly fishing is limited to plying flies that look like food rather than flies that elicit "anger" responses. Did I get that wrong?

 

It is interesting. I'm 67 grandpa years old. Been tying flies for 55 of those years. And I still don't understand why any one of the categories above is any more honorable than the other. Sock it to me. Tell me why. :=))

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Ooookkkaaayyyy ... now I am confused.

 

Based on the pictures above ... in UV, it looks to me like all the prey in the field of view do NOT reflect UV. They are silhouetted against the background glare of UV light.

 

So, if you tie a fly with UV reflecting components ... won't it blend in with the background?

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RE> "Among fly anglers there once was a distinction between flies and lures. One fished lures, e.g., a small Colorado spinner with trailing fly, to excite the trout and encourage a strike (not a "take"). Flies, OTOH, were designed to closely imitate a natural prey item, e.g., a grasshopper or mayfly. Today we don't distinguish between lures and flies - mores the pity - which means we think we are encouraging a feeding response when it might be a curiosity or anger response. So, fly flingers chuck-n-ducking their Clousers or other jigs may be using the excitation concept of lures, rather than the imitation of food. The same might apply to the use of gaudy colors or rubber legs."

 

Trout have at least four senses we can exploit in order to catch them. Light, smell, tactile sensations in their mouths and the lateral line which senses motion by sensitivity to compression waves in the water.

 

Do I get your inference right? That fly fishing is limited to exploitation of the visual system only, and even then that the purist form of fly fishing is limited to plying flies that look like food rather than flies that elicit "anger" responses. Did I get that wrong?

 

It is interesting. I'm 67 grandpa years old. Been tying flies for 55 of those years. And I still don't understand why any one of the categories above is any more honorable than the other. Sock it to me. Tell me why. :=))

I held a poll ... using your post. I asked 1000 young people what makes one category better than another.

The unanimous response was: "Because he's 67 !!! Anything he likes is just wayyy wrong for the rest of us !!!!"

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Well ok. That does make sense.

 

........eeeeeeexcept maybe not. Because it's generally the codgers who constantly worry about shit, and wage wars over boundary purity. All the young fly fishers I know (there are a few it turns out) don't seem to like categories any more than I do. Or ever did. :=))

 

I am curious, about a logical explanation of why some methods are verboten. It can't be tradition. If so overmywaders would be an abject sinner, making flies that appeal to hidden visual sensory systems the English Gentlemen didn't even know about. Something else is afoot. Gotta be.

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Sandy, I might agree with Reed about what constitutes a fly or lure. I don't judge one better or superior, but I do make similar distinctions.

 

I often fish streamers, buggers, rubberlegs, whathaveyous, and creations that overlap categories. And, one season, I fished dry flies exclusively. Just because I wanted to do so.

 

I fish with a fly rod, and it's all good.

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I use lure techniques - attempting to stimulate curiosity, anger, territorial behavior - with flies often. When doing so, I am not using strict imitation. I am, if you will, luring the trout rather than depending upon their feeding behavior.

 

It is none of my business what type of object is at the end of your tippet. The only time it becomes controversial is when someone tries to present a case for the state declaring a stretch of water Fly-Fishing-Only. Then, I will want a clear definition of a fly, fly-fishing, etc., because it affects everyone. That is a subject for another thread.

 

I am an old fart, too. Some of the old ways, flies, lines, rods, still make sense. I love silk lines. See http://www.overmywaders.com/index.php?silk I don't resist change, but I like to be certain of its benefits. :)

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;=))

 

All is well. I have a buddy who said to me last summer "I used think it was important to know why I like to fish so much. But I could never figure it out. I was never able to put it into words." And then he added: "But I do (like to fish). That's all that matters."

 

Quotes like that you don't forget.

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I am curious, about a logical explanation of why some methods are verboten. It can't be tradition. If so overmywaders would be an abject sinner, making flies that appeal to hidden visual sensory systems the English Gentlemen didn't even know about. Something else is afoot. Gotta be.

Honestly, I've never run into anyone that "poo-pooed" any of my fishing styles. I've fished for everything, and with everything, and have never met another angler who was anything but friendly.

I've rarely seen anyone say bad things about someone's fly, either. We've had animated discussions about "what is a fly or a lure" and such, but it's rarely anything but banter.

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RE> "just banter"

 

That's cool. And probably right too for the most part. That's the way it should be.

 

But some guys do get all uppity at times. On another forum I once posted the following photo of a Jellystone Nymph, snipped out of a bass tube, and was besieged by guys who told me they'd have me arrested if I ever tried to fish it on their favorite "fly fishing only" waters. I told them not to worry. I seldom fish outside of Montana where there is no fly fishing only. Unless it's the ocean anyway. The following is a very good fly. One of the best I've ever fished.

 

This one seems to elicit a good visual response, because I get a lot of strikes. But because it's soft and squishy they also tend to hang on and chew. All of which tends to give you another second or two to set the hook. I really wacked'em with this fly this summer, in a variety of habitats and stream sizes. The vegetarian big brown Pteronarcys stoneflies are limited to highly oxygenated cold clear waters. But the carnivorous Golden Stoneflies are more widely spread. For any freestone setting I think the Golden Stonefly is as good as it gets. Especially so if it's a soft and squishy one.

 

 

_PIC2035_Golden-jellostone.jpg

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Fly fishermen have a long history of bullheaded opinions over the best fly line, fly floatant, floss, you name it. That just adds to the sport. Fortunately, I know from personal experience that they are all wrong. :)

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