Jump to content
Fly Tying
Sign in to follow this  
Timmy Ties Flys

nymph dry emerger?

Recommended Posts

I am confused right now with emerger flys nymphs spinners dry flys and spent flys egg laying flys i dont know when or why to use them. I know eggs are laid and turn into nymphs and nymphs emerge into dry flys and then spinners then spent flys but why would you fish a dry fly vs an emerger because its not like every nymph emerges into fly at the exact same time... There will still be nymphs and emerges at the same time as flys that hatched earlier are spent and dying how long do these flys live. When do you fish each type and what triggers fly hatches how do you choose what type of fly to use during its hatch? I am not a newbie just need this cleared up? And like all winter midges are hatching??? I just don't get it.

 

 

be sure to follow my fly tying instagram @timtiesflys_pa

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

First break it down into the types of flies. Mayflies, Caddis, Stoneflies, Midges Dragon, and Damsel Flies all start life in a sub surface form, which we call nymphs. A more accurate designation for the midges and caddis flies would be larvae. Both the caddis and midges will change into a different subsurface form the pupua. This is the form that heads to the surface and "hatches." So fishing a caddis or midge pupal pattern would be fishing the emerging stage.

 

Mayflies go through several "instars" which are larger forms of the nymph. The exo-skeleton is shed and a larger one forms. When they are ready to hatch, most will in some way find their way to the surface. Many swim from the bottom, or gather air and float to the surface. There the nymph will split along the top of the thorax and emerge from the skin. While the mayfly is pulling itself from the case (shuck,) is the "emergance" stage. This stage can take a few seconds to over a minute. During this stage, low riding "emerger" or cripple patterns are very effective. Once a mayfly fully emerges from its case, it is in the "dun" or subimago phase. These duns float for a bit as their wings dry, once the wings are fully dry, they look like tiny sails. The duns then take off, for the bushes along the stream. There they transform one more time into the "spinner" or imago phase. The spinner is thinner in the body, and in some cases a different color than the dun. The spinners fly back over and up the stream during mating flights. Once done mating, females will land on the surface and begin to lay eggs.

 

The male spinners will fall exhausted on the surface with their wings more or less flat. When the females are done egg laying, they too end up floating flat on the surface. Only the females will have an egg sack as part of the pattern used to match this stage.

 

During 90 to 95 percent of its life span, aquatic insects will live in a subsurface form. We match these forms with patterns called nymphs, or some people will call them larva. These patterns are most often fished close to the bottom. As the nymphs or larva start to rise to the surface, an unweighted nymph pattern will imitate them. Just as the nymph starts to split the case, and "floating" midge pattern could be used. When the dun us part way out of the case, an emerging "dry" fly pattern can be used. Emerging duns that get trapped in the case, or swamped by the water are "crippled" and cannot fly off. A cripple pattern can then be a good imitation.

 

The typical dun is matched with an upright wing pattern with a hackle. The spinner is matched with a spent wing pattern with almost no hackle. Female spinner could have an egg sack. All spinners will have wings that lay flat in the surface.

 

Caddis too will at times become crippled as they emerge. The pupal form of a caddis will "pop" through the surface film and be off more quickly than a mayfly. There is only one stage in the adult caddis, but it can take a few different forms. There are "cripple" or emerging dry fly caddis patterns. The X Caddis is one. Then the typical Elk Hair caddis with elk hair wings laying like a tent over the body. The egg laying and dying caddis will fall on the surface with their wings in a more spread or delta shape.

 

Stone flies, are different in their hatching method. Most will crawl to the edge of the stream and up onto stream side rocks or vegetation. There the adult pulls itself from the nymph case. These adults have wings that lay flat along the top of the body. And as they crawl in the stream side branches they can fall in the water where they are an easy meal. Like the other insects the stones will fly over and upstream during mating. Then they fall on the water to either die, or lay eggs. The Stimulator pattern is a very common example of the adult pattern.

 

To fish just ONE mayfly species, a fly angles would need a deep nymph, a shallow nymph, a floating nymph, an emerger (dry,) a cripple (stuck emerger,) a dun (upright dry both male and female,) and a spinner ( spend dry,both female male,) That is 7 patterns all for just one insect.

 

In most species, the hatching period is compressed into as little as 2 weeks. Some mayflies like the PMD will hatch during a 2 month period. The hatches will take place at different times of day depending on species. Spinner falls are also at different times of day. Most spinner falls are late afternoon, to evening, but there are some that have very early morning spinner flights and falls.

 

I have been at this well over 50 years, and believe me I am still not done learning. That to me is one of the beautiful things about fly fishing and fly tying, there is ALWAYS I will repeat ALWAYS something new to learn. So sit down strap yourself in and get busy learning. Let me know when your done, and I will show you something new.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Outstanding description. Back when I was a trout, I remember looking up at a few floating, newly emerged mayflies that are ready to take off and notice one that still has its shuck attached. I would hit that every time because I know it won't get away.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As Flickted said, trout often will key on the cripples or the duns that have not quite emerged. Trout soon learn that they are an easy meal. I rarely fish the dun or subimago patterns myself, but I have on rare occasions fished the spinner or imago stage. Most people would fish very late afternoon, or early evening with spinners. Some like to continue fishing after dark. My best day with spinners was one day in July. It was the first time I expected to encounter a morning spinner flight of Tricos, and I was ready. I was up at 5 AM, and down along the creek by 5:30. Sure enough there was a nice spinner dance going on, and they were laying eggs. Fish were feeding on the dropping flies tiny as they were. I caught 9 trout with my size 24 spinner pattern, and was back in time for breakfast.

post-12074-0-65745000-1545411645_thumb.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Utyer, I ran into the same in the Black Hills a tiny creek with a huge mess of spent tricos. Most were gathered in clumps tight along the shore and a few would break loose into the feeding lanes at a time. They were all very dark and I had some black #20 spinners that worked great.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am confused right now with emerger flys nymphs spinners dry flys and spent flys egg laying flys i dont know when or why to use them. I know eggs are laid and turn into nymphs and nymphs emerge into dry flys and then spinners then spent flys but why would you fish a dry fly vs an emerger because its not like every nymph emerges into fly at the exact same time... There will still be nymphs and emerges at the same time as flys that hatched earlier are spent and dying how long do these flys live. When do you fish each type and what triggers fly hatches how do you choose what type of fly to use during its hatch? I am not a newbie just need this cleared up? And like all winter midges are hatching??? I just don't get it.

 

 

be sure to follow my fly tying instagram @timtiesflys_pa

 

You forgot stillborns and cripple and how to read rise forms.

 

When a trout eats a food item below the water surface film vs a food item in the surface film vs above the surface film, the act of feeding at each of these levels results in a specific rise form that indicates where the fish ate the insect. Just like reading the water for the location of trout, reading rise forms is a skill that will tell you where and what form of food item the trout probably took.

These posts will clear up some of your questions.

https://www.theflyfishingforum.com/forums/entomology/357564-fishing-emergers.html

https://www.theflyfishingforum.com/forums/general-discussion/628792-determining-right-fly.html

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I love to fish dries and emergers, so I do my reasearch and try and be on the water around the time I'd expect a hatch to happen rather than fish all day hoping to happen upon a hatch. For instance at this time of year on my local water it's midges, and some days blue wing olives hatch too. The hatch starts when the water warms a bit, so about noon is when you can expect insect activity and it usually lasts an hour or two. Most hatches progress the same way, fish feed on drifting nymphs, then emergers, duns, and then sometimes cripples. Of course individual fish can key on a specific stage, and if there are several different bugs on the water some might choose one over another, but for the most part there will be one stage or bug that the majority of fish will be feeding on. The fun part is figuring out what bug or stage most of the fish are feeding on and when they switch from one to another. Watching how the fish rise or splash is a good way to help figure out what they're eating. If you can pick out and watch an actively feeding fish and maybe see what it's eating, well, that's even better.

 

When it comes to spinners, I very seldom find a need to fish them. Where I fish most spinner falls happen early in the day or very late, and since most hatches happen midday or in the afternoon I am seldom on the water early, unless I want to nymph. In the last 20 years I can probably count on one hand when I really needed a spinner pattern. These days I carry flies that imitate duns but will give a spinner profile from below too, like a comparadun or a pattern like that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

watch the fish they know what they are eating and the way they rise or dig at the bottom will tell you.

Hatches don't matter at all if the day /hour you have isn't the hour of the hatch. Nymphs are in the water 365 days and always a good bet. Fish eat every day. The links I posted will explain rise forms on those days when you do hit the hatch.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Fish eat every day.

Actually, probably not.

In prime conditions, fish, like all fauna, will eat everyday. However, like most cold blooded creature, they don't HAVE to. If conditions aren't optimal (too cold, too hot, too muddy) fish can settle in and not eat for several days. They can also eat a large meal and then take several days to digest that meal.

In fertile, food laden waters, fish can be much more selective in what and how often they eat.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am confused right now with emerger flys nymphs spinners dry flys and spent flys egg laying flys i dont know when or why to use them. I know eggs are laid and turn into nymphs and nymphs emerge into dry flys and then spinners then spent flys but why would you fish a dry fly vs an emerger because its not like every nymph emerges into fly at the exact same time... There will still be nymphs and emerges at the same time as flys that hatched earlier are spent and dying how long do these flys live. When do you fish each type and what triggers fly hatches how do you choose what type of fly to use during its hatch? I am not a newbie just need this cleared up? And like all winter midges are hatching??? I just don't get it.

 

 

Utyer has given you an excellent summary of the life cycle of the aquatic insects. But no one has answered the question of how how do you choose the right STAGE of the insect form to imitate. As you asked, how do you choose what type of fly to use during its hatch?

 

After all, isn't that the most important question?

 

Several hours before the actual "hatch" the nymphs and larva become active and this would be a good time to fish the nymphal or pupal form of the insect that is about to hatch. In any population of living creatures, there is population variance. That means that there will be differences in the timing of the hatch even when the hatch has started. Some will hatch quickly and some will take a longer time so the hatch is SPREAD OUT over time. So there will be nymphs/larva moving about at the bottom at the same time as when some of the nymphs and pupa are rising to emerge. At a later time in the hatch, all three forms of the insect will be available to the trout = nymphs/larva —> rising nymphs/pupa —> emergers —> adults.

 

Just as there is variation in the insects, there will be behavior variation in the feeding fish. Some fish will be feeding on the nymphs/larva, others on the rising nymphs/pupa, others on the emergers, and others on the adults. The emerger stage is the ONLY stage where the insect must break THROUGH a physical barrier = the meniscus. This is a real physical barrier. To an emerging insect the surface tension causes a delay and the emergers are the most vulnerable form of the insect during a hatch and the trout will key on them once the hatch is heavy enough for the emergers to become the most available food source.

 

So when you fish a hatch, you follow the hatch. That means you fish the insect form that is most available and that most of the fish are taking. You can do this by fishing two flies to start using a nymph pattern below a deep emerger pattern. When you begin catching more fish on the emerger than the deeper nymph, you can change to a deep emerger and a more superficial emerger, then to dry with a emerger as a dropper. Let the fish tell you when to change patterns.

 

The term emerger is unique when it is used to describe a pattern. Emergers" is a term that encompasses many different flies. Newbies tend to assume that "emerger" is a specific fly, but emergers are not like an adult dun mayfly, or a spinner, or an adult caddis.

 

It is more correct to think of emerger as a process rather than as specific fly. Emergence is a process of change; and since the insect is changing, emergence is a continuum. It can be broken up into several prototypical stages. So when we say a fly is an emerger, it imitates a single stage in a continuous process. Therefore, when we say we are fishing an "emerger," as if was a singular fly, it is like pointing to a still photo frame and saying that it represents a movie. It does not and it cannot.

 

Gary Borger spits emergence into 5 stages.

 

Stage 1 is the low riding nymph,

 

post-27478-0-07755700-1545793141_thumb.jpg

 

Stage 2 is the floating nymph

 

post-27478-0-07780500-1545793288_thumb.jpg

 

 

Stage 3 is the adult emerging from the floating nymph

 

post-27478-0-43465200-1545792792_thumb.jpg

 

Stage 4 is the emerged adult with the trailing shuck

 

post-27478-0-04112600-1545793594_thumb.jpg

 

The final stage 5 is the completely emerged dry fly

 

 

Now you know that emergence is dynamic. Our naming of flies as emergers or cripples is like saying a point on a piece of paper represents a line. Any point on a piece of paper can represent only a single point along a line, and thus any single fly can only represent only a single stage along the process of emergence.

 

What then is a "stillborn" or a "cripple?" They are identical in my view. They represent an insect that is trapped, or has failed to complete the emergence process. We can then see that the point at which they are trapped represents a stage along the process of emergence.

 

What then separates a cripple pattern from an emerger pattern? Very little if you ask me. Both are stages or points along the process of emergence, are they not? Thus in my view, we are using semantics to say that an emerger represents an insect at stage or point of emergence, and a cripple represents a insect stuck at a stage or point of emergence. Both are the identical still "photos" from the same movie; and whether we call them emergers or cripples is wordplay.

 

Look at 4:39 in the "Bugs of the Underworld" video below and you can see the process of emergence in real time. Imagine now that the emerging mayfly is stopped and stuck in the shuck. So are our "emerger" patterns really emergers or by imitating a single stage frozen in time, are they all more properly called stillborns/cripples?

 

You decide.

 

 

So how do you decide what stage to imitate?

 

You need to study the "rise form." Just as a fly fisher "reads the water" for the potential holding areas of trout, you "read the rise" for the location of the food that the fish ate.

 

There are three locations at which fish take flies during emergence - UNDER, IN, or ON the surface film. You need to determine whether the fish took the insect under film, in the film, or on top of the film.

 

If you look very carefully, you can tell how the fish took the aquatic insect, and where the insect was in the water column.

 

Here is an illustration from Field and Stream that shows:

 

34915155843_852c771c8c_z.jpg

 

1. A sipping rise to an insect trapped in or on the film, fine rings in the water = emerger, stillborn emerger, spinner, some small midges.

 

4dc9850e440f94d83e6412667fe5278d65c75b0e

 

2. The slurping rise leaves a bubble, the fish's mouth breaks the surface to take a fully emerged insect = mayfly duns and other insects that have fully hatched.

 

46415318202_cba2da9496_o.jpg

 

 

3. The splashy rise, the fish slashes at the fly = typically a rise to caddis that can fly off immediately or a large terrestrial on the water like a grasshopper. The fish want the insect not to escape OR wants to beat another fish to the food.

 

 

1(2).jpg

 

Pod+Rising+BHR.JPG

 

4. The boil or head and shoulder rise. The water bulges but the fish's mouth does not break the water. The fish's shoulder or dorsal fin may break the water as the fish heads back down = The fish is feeding below the surface chasing nymphs or pupa that are rising in the water column to hatch. They are intercepting the food on the way to the surface and overshoot and break the surface or cause a bulge of water.

 

2(2).jpg

 

90027.jpg

 

If you spend some time carefully looking at "rising" fish, you will notice that during a hatch, there can be different rise forms. Not all the fish will necessarily be feeing on the same stage of insect.

 

This is why some fly fishers will put on a specific fly and catch some of the rising fish, but then that fly stops "working" and they wonder why. It is because that fly imitated a certain stage of emergence and caught the fish that were taking that stage but it does not imitate the stage that the other fish are feeding on.

 

Identify the rise forms, and then from the rise forms, decide what stage of the insect the fish is feeding on; and from that, decide what fly you need to use.

 

There are three basic questions that you need to answer before you start fishing.

 

What were the fish taking, what fly matches the insect stage, and how do I present the fly?

 

Observation can help you answer the first two questions. Then you need to decide how to present the fly so that it imitates what the real insect is doing. From that you decide where you need to be to make the cast, and what cast and mends you need to make to present the fly in a realistic fashion.

 

I can't cover all the possible situations and I don't know about your casting skills. But you can think about what you can do, and more importantly, how you can improve your casting and presentation skills.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great discussion, this is very helpful specially for beginners.Many patterns of nymphs and can be fished in slow, fast, and still waters. It can be found in many habitats and is a must have in any fisherman's fly box!. Doug Prince first tied a Prince Nymph pattern, and it has been fished for decades. The bead head and shiny body help attract trout.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...